Nevada does not require licenses, mandatory waiting periods or registration in order to purchase firearms. Federal law, however, requires licensed firearms dealers to run a background check on prospective purchasers. Dealers may not sell guns to:
- domestic violence misdemeanants,
- people adjudicated mentally ill,
- drug addicts, and
- fugitives, among others
Nevada recently passed a law mandating background checks for private firearm sales and transfers.
- 1. What is a firearm?
- 2. Do I need a license to buy a gun in Nevada?
- 3. Is there a mandatory waiting period for buying a gun in Nevada?
- 4. Do I need a background check to buy a gun in Nevada?
- 5. Do I need to register my guns?
Also see our overview of firearms laws and crimes.
1. What is a firearm?
In Nevada state law, “firearm” is just another word for gun. A firearm is any device that was designed to be used as a weapon and operates by ejecting a projectile (bullet) through a barrel using explosive or combustive force. In other words, firearms include everything from pistols and revolvers to rifles and shotguns.1
2. Do I need a license to buy guns in Nevada?
No, you do not need a license to own or buy a gun in Nevada.2
Nor do you need a license to open carry in Nevada. But you do need a concealed weapons permit for the concealed carry of firearms.
Nevada is a “shall issue” state. Nevada residents at least 21 years of age and who have taken a firearm safety course may apply for concealed carry permits (“CCW permits”) through their local law enforcement agency/county sheriff’s office.
People who conceal carry must also carry their CCW permit and driver’s license. If they move, they must complete an address change form with the local sheriff. Certain public buildings prohibit concealed carry of deadly weapons. And there are several locations where having guns is unlawful, such as child care facilities and private- and public schools.
See our related articles on concealed firearms permits and reciprocity for out-of-state permittees.
3. Is there a mandatory waiting period for buying a gun in Nevada?
No, there is no mandatory waiting period prior to purchasing a firearm in Nevada.3
4. Do I need a background check to buy a gun in Nevada?
People who wish to purchase firearms from licensed dealers need to submit to a universal background check (a.k.a. Brady background check). Licensed gun dealers may not sell guns to people discovered to be:
- convicted felons
- people convicted of domestic violence, even as a misdemeanor
- people under indictment or information for any crime carrying more than one year of prison
- subjects of restraining orders to protect an intimate partner or his/her child
- controlled substance/drug addicts
- people adjudicated as mentally defective
- people committed to a mental health facility
- illegal aliens
- dishonorably discharged veterans
- people who renounced their U.S. citizenship4
Note that a new law requires background checks for private guns sales as well.5
Felons in possession of a firearm
Convicted felons who try to get a hold of a gun face prosecution for being a felon in possession of a firearm. It is a category B felony in Nevada carrying a punishment of:
- one to six (1 – 6) years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Note that the same penalty applies to fugitives or drug users who possess firearms.6
5. Do I need to register my guns?
No, Nevada does not require firearm registration.7
See our related articles on Nevada gun laws, machine guns, semiautomatic firearms, and assault weapons, discharge of firearms in public, and altering serial numbers.
Arrested for a gun crime in Nevada? We can help.
If you are facing charges for a firearms crime, please call our Las Vegas Criminal Defense lawyers for a consultation. We may be able to negotiate your charges down or dismiss them while saving your gun rights.
- Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs – Nevada Division of Emergency Management
- Second Amendment, Right to Bear Arms – Govinfo.gov
- Nevada Attorney General
- Nevada Legislature
- NRS 202.253.
- NRS 269.222. See also NRS 202.3657.
- 18 USC § 922(g); Nevada Department of Public Safety gun check information page.
- NRS 202.254; Nevada AG Opinion 2016-12.
- NRS 202.360.
- NRS 269.222.