Firearms Crimes in Nevada: An Overview

Nevada allows the open carry of firearms without a license or registration, though people need a permit in order to carry concealed. There are certain locations where guns are prohibited, including:

  • public schools,
  • child care facilities,
  • VA facilities, and
  • legislative buildings

People face stiff Nevada State Prison sentences for violating certain firearm laws, including using a gun in commission of a crime or being a felon in possession of a firearm. But it is possible just to pay a fine for other gun crimes, such as brandishing a gun or possessing a gun under the influence.

People who lose their Nevada gun rights might be able to get them back through a pardon. With some exceptions, children under 18 may not possess guns. And immigrants convicted of a firearm crime risk deportation.

In this article our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys provide an overview of Nevada firearm laws with links to our in-depth articles on each subject. Click on a question to jump to the answer.

Gun2
Open carry is legal in Nevada. Concealed carry requires a permit.

1. Where are guns illegal in Nevada?

Pistols, handguns and rifles are not permitted at the following locations in Nevada:

  • airports (past the secure areas) and planes,
  • child care facilities (without written permission),
  • public schools and private schools (without written permission),
  • Nevada System of Higher Education property (without written permission),
  • legislative buildings,
  • post offices,
  • VA facilities,
  • federal facilities,
  • military bases (with some exceptions)
  • Hoover Dam

Possessing a gun in a prohibited location is a misdemeanor in Nevada in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines, and
  • maybe community service

Note that Nevada does not require gun registration.1

2. Can I open carry in Nevada?

Holster 20gun
Carrying a concealed weapon with no permit is felony in Nevada.

Open carry is legal in Nevada unless otherwise forbidden by federal or state law. Learn more in our articles on open carry laws and carrying loaded guns.2

3. Can I conceal carry in Nevada?

Concealed carry is legal in Nevada as long as the person has a valid carrying concealed weapons (CCW) permit...

Nevada residents need a CCW permit from the country where they reside. For non-Nevada residents, the Department of Public Safety recognizes CCW permits from these states. Otherwise, they need to get a CCW permit in Nevada.

Concealed carry without a valid permit is a category C felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • one to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine

 Learn more in articles about concealed carry laws  and how to obtain a CCW permit in Nevada.3

4. Can I have a gun with a criminal record or restraining order in Nevada?

Criminal records

People with felony convictions or domestic violence convictions may not have a gun in Nevada. Gun possession is also prohibited for:

  • fugitives,
  • drug addicts,
  • people adjudicated as mentally ill or who have been committed, and
  • illegal aliens

Being an ex-felon, fugitive, or drug addict in possession of a firearm is a category B felony in Nevada. The punishment is:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine

The maximum prison sentence goes down to four (4) years if the defendant is an illegal alien or mentally ill. Learn more in our article about being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm in Nevada.4

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Having guns in violation of a restraining order is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada.

Restraining orders

Judges may order that the subjects of a restraining order surrender their guns and refrain from possessing guns. Possessing guns in violation of a restraining order is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Learn more in our article about guns and restraining orders in Nevada.5

5. What are the penalties for Nevada gun crimes?

5.1. Crimes involving shooting guns

Shooting a gun from inside a vehicle or structure in a wanton or malicious way in a populated area is category B felony, carrying:

  • two to fifteen (2 - 15) years in prison, and/or
  • maybe a $5,000 fine

Otherwise, shooting gun in an unpopulated area is a misdemeanor carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

The same penalties apply for firing a gun into an abandoned vehicle or structure. But if the vehicle or building is occupied, shooting is a category B felony carrying:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and/or
  • up to $5,000 in fines

Learn more in our articles about shooting guns from a car or structure, shooting guns into a car or structure and drive-by-shootings in Nevada.6

5.2. Crimes involving aiming or drawing guns

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Aiming a gun at a person is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada.

Assaulting a person with a gun is a category B felony, carrying:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and/or
  • up to $5,000 in fines

Merely aiming a gun at a person is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

And simply brandishing a gun in a threatening manner is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more in our articles about assault with a deadly weapon, aiming a gun at a person, and brandishing a gun in Nevada.7

5.3. Crimes involving possessing, making and selling guns and ammo

Selling or giving a gun to a fugitive, illegal alien, mentally ill person, or a felon (or person indicted for a felony) is a category C felony, carrying:

  • one to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine.

Knowingly possessing, making, or disposing of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun is a category D felony, carrying:

  • one to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine.

And making or selling metal penetrating for shotguns is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Learn more in our article about possessing and selling guns and ammo in Nevada. Also see our article about other gun crimes including spring guns laws in Nevada.8

5.4. Crimes involving gun serial numbers and theft

Intentionally altering a firearm's serial numbers is a category C felony, carrying:

  • one to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine
Gun 20serial 20number optimized
Gun theft is a felony in Nevada carrying prison, fines and resitution.

Meanwhile, knowingly possessing a gun with a changed serial number is a category D felony, carrying:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine

Stealing a gun is a category B felony, carrying

Also see our articles about changing gun serial numbers and stealing guns in Nevada.9

6. Will my criminal sentence in Nevada increase because I had a gun?

Yes. When a person uses a gun to carry out a crime in Nevada, the courts may double that crime's sentence to up to twenty (20) extra years in prison. For example, the maximum sentence for robbery is 15 years in prison. If the defendant had a gun, the judge could double it to 30 years.

Note that enhanced sentences for gun use does not apply to cases where the gun was a necessary element of the crime itself, such as aiming a gun at someone or brandishing a gun (see the previous question for more examples). Learn more in our article about using a firearm in the commission of a crime.10

Note that committing burglary or home invasion while possessing a gun is a category B felony, carrying:

  • two to fifteen (2 - 15) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine.

Without gun possession, the prison sentence for burglary or home invasion is one to ten (1-10) years. Learn more in our article about burglary and home invasion with a gun in Nevada.11

7. How do I get my gun rights back in Nevada?

The only way to restore gun rights in Nevada is to get a pardon (which is different from record sealing).

There is a mandatory waiting period to petition for pardons. The length depends on the class of crime the person was convicted of:

Category of crime in Nevada Waiting period to apply for pardon

Misdemeanor battery domestic violence

5 years after the person's release from actual custody, or

5 years after the date on which the person is no longer under a suspended sentence

(whichever is later)

Category E felony

6 years from the person's release from probation, parole or prison.

Category D felony

8 years from the person's release from probation, or 

9 years from the person's release from parole or prison.

Category C felony

8 years from the person's release from probation, or 

9 years from the person's release from parole or prison.

Category B felony

8 years from the person's release from probation, or

10 years from the person's release from parole or prison

Category A felony

12 years from the person's release from probation, parole or prison

Learn more in our article on restoring gun rights in Nevada.12

8. Can I carry a gun while drinking in Nevada?

Carrying a gun while drinking or in a bar is not itself illegal. But it is a misdemeanor in Nevada to possess a gun with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .1 or higher. The sentence is:

Alcohol 20gun optimized
Gun possession with a .1 BAL in Nevada is a misdemeanor.
  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more in our article about gun possession under the influence in Nevada.13

9. Can I use guns to hunt in Nevada?

People are required to have licenses in order to hunt with guns in Nevada. Hunting without a license is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more in our article about Nevada laws for hunting with a firearm.14

10. Can children carry guns in Nevada?

With some exceptions, children under eighteen (18) may not have guns in Nevada. Children adjudicated delinquent for violating gun laws may be ordered (for a first offense):

  • to perform 200 hours of community service, and
  • to lose their driver's license for up to one (1) year

And children who break Nevada's hunting laws will lose their hunting license for at least two (2) years. Learn more in our article about Nevada juvenile gun laws.15

Giving a gun to children

Note that adults who unlawfully aid a child in possessing a gun face criminal charges as well. Helping a child get a hold of a gun if there is a substantial risk the child will be violent is a category C felony, carrying: 

Child 20with 20gun
Giving a gun to a child can be a felony in Nevada.
  • one to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine.

If there is no substantial risk the child will be violent, unlawfully giving a child a gun is a misdemeanor (for a first-time offense). The sentence is:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more in our article about Nevada laws for aiding children to come into possession of a gun.16

11. Are assault weapons legal in Nevada?

Nevada law does not mention assault weapons. But federal law forbids machine gun possession unless it was lawfully possessed and registered prior to May 19, 1986. Illegal possession of a machine gun is a felony carrying:

  • up to ten (10) years in federal prison, and/or
  • a fine of up to $250,000.

Learn more in our article about Nevada assault weapon laws.17

12. Can immigrants carry firearms?

An immigrant's legal status determines whether they may possess firearms in Nevada...

In general, green card holders may possess guns. Non-immigrant visa holders may possess guns in certain situations, such as if they have a valid hunting license. And illegal aliens usually may not possess guns. Learn more in our article about immigrant and firearm laws.

Note that violating gun laws is a deportable offense. Therefore, non-citizens charged with firearm crimes should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to try to get the charge dropped or reduced to a non-removable offense. Learn more about defending non-citizens on criminal charges in Nevada.18

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Call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation with a Nevada criminal defense attorney today.

Call a Nevada firearm attorney...

Are you facing charges for violating Nevada gun laws? Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys may be able to get the charges dropped or reduced while saving your gun rights. For a free consultation, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation.

For California gun laws, see our article on California gun laws.


Legal References

  1. NRS 218A.905; NRS 202.265; The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990; 38 CFR §1.218 (13); 39 CFR  § 232.1(l); 18 USC § 930; 54 USC § 104906; 49 CFR § 1540.111; 49 USC § 46505; 43 CFR § 423.30.
  2. NRS 202.360; NRS 33.031; 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).
  3. NRS 202.350.
  4. NRS 202.360
  5. NRS 33.031.
  6. NRS 202.287; NRS 202.285.
  7. NRS 200.471; NRS 202.290; NRS 202.320.
  8. NRS 202.362.
  9. NRS 202.277; NRS 205.226.
  10. NRS 193.165.
  11. NRS 205.060; NRS 205.067.
  12. NRS 213.
  13. NRS 202.257.
  14. NRS 502.
  15. NRS 62D.
  16. NRS 202.300.
  17. 18 USC § 922 (o).
  18. 8 USC § 1227.

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