Although the Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms, Nevada firearms laws set out very particular rules about how to buy, make, use and sell them. On this page, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys highlight some of these laws and their punishments.
Not everyone can have a gun in Nevada.
Certain people in Nevada may not own or possess firearms at all. Convicted felons, convicted stalkers, fugitives, people subject to an extended protection order against domestic violence, or drug users found guilty of owning or possessing firearms face category B felony penalties of one to six years in Nevada State Prison and maybe a $5,000 fine.
Meanwhile, illegal aliens or mentally ill persons found to own or possess firearms face one to four years with the possibility of a $5,000 fine as well. Nor can people convicted of misdemeanor battery domestic violence in Nevada or elsewhere.1
Nevada residents may buy rifles and shotguns in states bordering Nevada as long as the sale otherwise follows Nevada gun laws.2 As you might expect, law enforcement may seize your firearms if you are charged with certain crimes, but they usually will not return the firearm unless asked by you, the Attorney General, or by court order.3
You cannot sell or give a gun to just anyone in Nevada, either.
Since, as explained above, certain people are prohibited from having firearms, the state makes it illegal to knowingly sell firearms to these people as well. Sellers convicted of selling or giving firearms or ammunition to a fugitive, illegal alien, a mentally ill person, or someone who has been indicted or found guilty of a felony, face one to ten years in prison and maybe a $10,000 fine.4
Therefore, since merchants face prison for selling firearms to certain people, background checks become critical. Background checks are now required for all firearm sales or transfers, both commercial and private.
With regard to kids, it is also a felony to sell or trade a firearm capable of being concealed to a minor if you know or should know that the recipient is under eighteen. If you are convicted of this charge, you may face one to six years imprisonment and maybe a $5,000 fine.5
For instructions on how to request a background check prior to making a gun sale, you can contact the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History at (775) 684-6262. Once a private citizen request a background check, the Department of Public Safety is supposed to report back within five business days.6
If you did not pass a Brady background check, you may contact the Department of Public Safety in writing to request the reason. The address is:
State of Nevada Department of Public Safety
Records & Technology Division
333 W. Nye Lane Suite 100 Carson City, NV 89706
Be sure to include the State Transaction Number for the denied transaction in the latter. (Their phone number is (775) 684-6262.)
Some kinds of guns and ammo are illegal in Nevada.
If you knowingly possess, make or dispose of a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, you may face felony charges, carrying one to four years in prison and maybe a $5,000 fine. The only exception is for firearms importers, manufactures, collectors or dealers licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Short-barreled rifles are less than twenty-six inches long OR have one or more barrels less than 16 inches long. Short-barreled shotguns are less than twenty-six inches OR have one or more barrels less than eighteen inches long.)7
Certain kinds of bullets are off-limits, too. It is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada to make or sell metal-penetrating bullets which can be used in a handgun (unless the sale is to a law enforcement agency). The penalties include up to 364 days in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.8
Machine guns and silencers also may not be made, lent, traded, possessed, or imported into Nevada if the intent is to harm another person. A conviction for doing so carries one to five years in prison and maybe a $10,000 fine.9
Serial numbers must always remain intact on a firearm. Changing, altering or removing a serial number is a felony and may result in one to five years imprisonment and perhaps a $10,000 fine. Even if you were not the one to remove the serial number, just knowingly possessing a firearm where the serial number has been intentionally obliterated is a felony, carrying one to four years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.10
For information about Nevada's carrying concealed weapons laws, click on our Nevada's carrying concealed weapons laws page or see our article How to obtain a concealed carry (CCW) permit in Nevada. Also see our article on Nevada ammunition laws.
Have you been arrested for a crime in Nevada?
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to set up a free consultation to go over your case. We will research your charges and try to get them dismissed or pleaded down to lesser offenses. We are also prepared to fight for you in trial.
Go to our Nevada firearm crime laws homepage.
To learn about California gun sale laws, go to our informational article on Penal Code 16590 PC | California firearm sale laws.
For information on California laws against manufacturing, selling or possessing dangerous weapons, go to our page on California laws against manufacturing, selling or possessing dangerous weapons and unlicensed selling of firearms in California.
4NRS 202.362; Nevada Senate Bill 143 (2019); Bill Dentzer, "Sisolak signs Nevada gun background checks bill into law," Las Vegas Review-Journal (February 15, 2019).