Nevada law makes it a category B felony for ex-felons to possess firearms. Penalties under NRS 202.360 include one to six years in prison and a potential $5,000 fine.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys will discuss:
- 1. Can felons possess guns in Nevada?
- 2. What is the penalty for felons having a firearm in Nevada?
- 3. How do I fight “felon with a firearm” charges?
- 4. Can people convicted of misdemeanors possess guns?
- 5. What are the immigration consequences?
- 6. Can the criminal record be sealed?
- 7. How can felons restore their firearm rights in Nevada?
- 8. What is the federal law for felons having firearms?
No. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony crime is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under Nevada state law. It does not matter if the conviction was from another state or a long time ago. The only exception is if the felony conviction was pardoned.
“Firearm” comprises all types of handguns and long guns, including pistols, revolvers, rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and antique firearms.1
And “possession” comprises:
- actual possession (physically carrying a gun),
- constructive possession (owning or controlling a gun), and
- joint possession (sharing a gun with someone else).
It is a category B felony offense for a convicted felon to own, possess, or carry a gun in Nevada. The punishment includes:
- 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion)
Furthermore, felons convicted of having a gun are likely ineligible for ever getting a Nevada pardon in the future.2
Depending on the circumstances, potential defenses to NRS 202.360 criminal charges include:
- You were never in possession of the firearm and did not own it, and law enforcement was mistaken.
- Someone falsely accused you.
- Your past felony was pardoned, and therefore you are allowed to possess guns.
- The weapon resembled a gun but did not qualify as a firearm.
- The police department committed misconduct, such as entrapment or an illegal search or seizure.
Nevada law prohibits firearm possession by people convicted of:
- misdemeanor battery domestic violence, or
- misdemeanor stalking of a family member or current or former intimate partner.
These defendants face the same penalties as felons who possess firearms.3
All firearm offenses are usually deportable.4 Consequently, non-citizens facing charges of violating NRS 202.360 should retain an attorney right away to try to get the charge reduced or dismissed.
A conviction for being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm is sealable five years after the case closes. But if the charge gets dismissed, then you can pursue a record seal immediately.5 Learn how to seal Nevada criminal records.
Note that record seals do not restore gun rights under Nevada gun laws. Only Nevada pardons can reverse a lifetime ban.
The only avenue for regaining gun rights following a Nevada felony conviction is applying for a governor’s pardon. When determining whether to issue a pardon, the Nevada Board of Pardon Commissioners considers such factors as:
- The seriousness of the felony
- How long ago the felony occurred
- Whether you were honorably discharged
- Any other criminal history
- Whether you have remorse
- Whether your character has been rehabilitated6
Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms or ammunition that was transported across state lines. The prison sentence is up to 10 years. But defendants with at least three prior felony convictions face a minimum of 15 years in prison.
Learn more about the federal crime of felons in possession of a firearm.7
Contact our DUI and criminal law firm for legal advice. Our Las Vegas, NV criminal defense lawyers provide consultations in Clark County (including Henderson) and the state of Nevada. We fight to get felony charges dismissed or reduced to misdemeanor convictions.
See our related articles on Nevada firearm laws, open carry, carrying concealed weapons, self-defense, drug crimes, deadly weapons, sex offenders, background checks, and first- and second-degree murder.
In California? See our article on Penal Code 29800 PC.
In Colorado? See our article on CRS 18-12-108.
- Nevada Revised Statute 202.360 – Ownership or possession of firearm by certain persons prohibited; penalties.
1. A person shall not own or have in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm if the person:
(a) Has been convicted of the crime of battery which constitutes domestic violence pursuant to NRS 200.485, or a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or substantially similar conduct, committed against or upon:
(1) The spouse or former spouse of the person;
(2) Any other person with whom the person has had or is having a dating relationship, as defined in NRS 33.018;
(3) Any other person with whom the person has a child in common;
(4) The parent of the person; or
(5) The child of the person or a child for whom the person is the legal guardian.
(b) Has been convicted of a felony in this State or any other state, or in any political subdivision thereof, or of a felony in violation of the laws of the United States of America, unless the person has received a pardon and the pardon does not restrict his or her right to bear arms;
(c) Has been convicted of a violation of NRS 200.575 or a law of any other state that prohibits the same or substantially similar conduct and the court entered a finding in the judgment of conviction or admonishment of rights pursuant to subsection 7 of NRS 200.575;
(d) Except as otherwise provided in NRS 33.031, is currently subject to:
(1) An extended order for protection against domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, which includes a statement that the adverse party is prohibited from possessing or having under his or her custody or control any firearm while the order is in effect; or
(2) An equivalent order in any other state;
(e) Is a fugitive from justice;
(f) Is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any controlled substance; or
(g) Is otherwise prohibited by federal law from having a firearm in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control.
A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.
2. A person shall not own or have in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm if the person:
(a) Has been adjudicated as mentally ill or has been committed to any mental health facility by a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
(b) Has entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill in a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
(c) Has been found guilty but mentally ill in a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
(d) Has been acquitted by reason of insanity in a court of this State, any other state or the United States; or
(e) Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
3. As used in this section:
(a) “Controlled substance” has the meaning ascribed to it in 21 U.S.C. § 802(6).
(b) “Firearm” includes any firearm that is loaded or unloaded and operable or inoperable.
- NRS 202.360. State v. Fourth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., (Nevada Supreme Court, 2021) 481 P.3d 848, 137 Nev. Adv. Rep. 4. Pohlabel v. State, (2012) 128 Nev. 1, 268 P.3d 1264, 128 Nev. Adv. Rep. 1.
- NRS 202.360.
- 8 U.S.C. 1227.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255. Note that sealing is not the same as expungement, which Nevada does not allow.
- NRS 213.005 – NRS 213.100.
- 18 U.S.C. 922.