Nevada is a so-called open carry state. You are generally permitted to carry firearms that are openly visible while on the Las Vegas Strip and elsewhere across the state. No special permits are required for openly carrying a gun, except in certain designated places such as
- government buildings,
- federal property,
- schools and
To “open carry” means
- to wear a holstered handgun that is not concealed by your clothing, usually on your hip or leg, or
- to carry a rifle or shotgun, generally slung across your shoulder.
But Nevada state law does require permits for carrying concealed weapons.
There are places where guns are prohibited in the state of Nevada (whether the gun is concealed or not). Some of these forbidden locations include:
- Public schools and colleges
- Childcare facilities
- Airport secure areas and airplanes
- Legislative buildings
- VA facilities
- Post offices
- Federal facilities
- The Hoover Dam
It is also legal to openly carry in vehicles, though long guns must remain unloaded. People may also openly carry while drinking, but they face prosecution for firearm possession under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches .08% or higher.
In this article, our Las Vegas firearm attorneys answer frequently-asked questions about when, where, and how people may openly wear firearms on their person in Nevada. Click on a topic to go to that section:
- 1. What is open carry in Nevada?
- 2. Is open carry legal in Nevada?
- 3. Where is open carry illegal in Nevada?
- 4. Can I open carry even where there are “no guns” signs?
- 5. Can I open carry in a car in Nevada?
- 6. Can I openly carry in a casino/hotel/resort?
- 7. Can I openly carry while drinking or in a bar?
- 8. Can children openly carry in Nevada?
- 9. Can non-citizens openly carry?
Open carrying refers to wearing an unconcealed gun on one’s person. Examples of open carrying include:
- wearing a holstered handgun on a belt;
- slinging a rifle;
- using an “inside the waistband holster,” where the pistol butt is visible (called the “Virginia Tuck”); or
- tucking the gun in the waistband without a holster (called “Mexican Carry”)
In short, a gun is considered openly carried if it would be discernible by ordinary observation.1
By contrast, conceal carry is carrying firearms in a way that no one can see them. (Keeping a gun in a car’s glove box does not count as concealed carry.) Conceal carry permits are required from Nevada or a reciprocal state to carry concealed firearms or certain deadly weapons. In order to get a firearm permit, the person needs to demonstrate firearm safety. Nevada residents may apply for Nevada permits from the county sheriff.
Yes. Openly carrying firearms is legal in Nevada unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law (as discussed in detail in the next question).2 Note that people with felony convictions (convicted felons), domestic violence convictions, or certain protection orders against them may not carry guns at all.3 Hopeful gun owners must pass background checks to buy a gun commercially or through a private sale.
Openly carrying is legal irrespective of whether the firearm is loaded. And openly carrying does not refer to magazines, which do not have to be carried visibly.4
Also note that permits are not required for openly carrying lawfully. But people do need permits for carrying concealed. Carrying a concealed gun without a Nevada-recognized CCW permit is a category C felony, carrying:
- one to five (1 – 5) years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines.5
Nevada carry laws prohibit all guns (whether openly carried or concealed) in the following locations:
- Legislative buildings: This includes the Nevada Legislative Building in Carson City and wherever the legislature is conducting business;6
- Nevada System of Higher Education: This includes all property and parking lots unless the gun carrier gets written permission from the college president. Examples are UNLV and UNR;
- Child care facilities: This includes both public and private daycares and parking lots unless the gun carrier gets written permission from the head, homeowner or resident;
- Airport secure areas: This includes employee-only sections and anyplace beyond TSA checkpoints with metal detectors. Examples are McCarran Airport in Las Vegas and the Reno-Tahoe Airport; and
- Public schools: This includes premises and parking lots unless the gun carrier gets written permission from the school principal.7 Note that federal law prohibits all guns within 1,000 feet of a school zone, not just on the premises.8 In practice, Nevada law enforcement agencies rarely enforce this law unless the gun carrier is posing a danger.
Meanwhile, United States federal law makes guns off-limits (whether openly carried or concealed) in the following locations:
- VA facilities: This includes such locations as hospitals and cemeteries;9
- Post offices: This includes parking lots, but it does not include contract stores where there are postal service windows;10
- Federal facilities: This includes such locations as federal courthouses, national park visitor centers, or any place that the federal government owns or leases11 ;
- Military bases: There are some exceptions. For example, learn about Nellis firearm rules.
- Airport secured areas and aircraft;12 and
- Hoover Dam13
It is lawful to openly bear arms on most private property and in public buildings as well as the Las Vegas Strip in Clark County (as long as the person is permitted to possess firearms).
Note the discharge of firearms in public (NRS 202.280) is often a crime.
Yes, as long as the state or federal law does not prohibit openly carrying in that location. Hanging up a “no guns” sign does not automatically render a building or park gun-free.
The “no gun” signs at the entrance of state and local government buildings refer only to concealed carrying. For example, openly carrying is legal in Nevada in state or local museums, libraries, city hall, and the DMV.
However, if a property’s owner (or a person of authority) requests a gun carrier to leave the premises and he/she refuses, the gun carrier can be cited for the Nevada crime of trespass.15 Trespassing is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying
- up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines.16
In Nevada, many trespass cases occur in casinos and malls.
Yes, Nevada gun laws permit open carrying while driving. But long guns (such as rifles and shotguns) may not have a cartridge in the chamber while in the vehicle.
(A muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket is not loaded if the priming compound or element, including, without limitation, the priming powder or the unfired primer or percussion cap, is removed from the muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket.)17
No state or local laws prohibit people from carrying guns in hotels or casinos. Whether openly or concealed.
However, casinos and hotels can legally ask people to leave if they are carrying firearms. People who refuse to leave face trespass charges. As a misdemeanor, trespass carries:
- up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines.16
See our article about conceal carry in casinos.
Yes, but it is a misdemeanor to possess a firearm with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.18
Usually, no. There are some exceptions where children under 18 may handle guns, usually relating to hunting: Learn more about Nevada juvenile gun laws.19
Non-citizens who are permitted to possess guns in the U.S. are subject to the same open carrying laws as U.S. citizens. Whether a non-citizen may possess a gun usually depends on his/her resident status…
For example, lawful permanent residents can usually possess firearms, while illegal aliens usually may not. Non-immigrant visa holders may possess guns under certain circumstances.20
Note that firearms offenses are usually deportable, so aliens have to be especially careful about following gun laws.
Arrested for a gun crime? Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation. We may be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed and save your gun rights.
Learn more at our firearms crimes main page.
Learn about California carrying openly laws.
Learn about Colorado carrying openly laws.
- NRS 202.350(8)(a); there is state preemption on firearm laws.
- NRS 193.120.
- NRS 202.360; NRS 33.031; 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).
- See NRS 202.350.
- 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.
- 43 USC § 1701;43 CFR § 8360.0-7.
- NRS 202.3673.
- NRS 207.200.
- NRS 503.165.
- NRS 202.257.
- NRS 202.300.
- 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5) and 922(y)(2).