NRS 202.255 is the Nevada firearm law that prohibits setting “a so-called trap, spring pistol, rifle, or other deadly weapon.” It can be a gross misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether someone gets hurt.1
1. What is a spring gun?
A spring gun consists of a firearm rigged to go off when a triggering device — usually a string — is tripped. So if someone is walking and unknowingly stumbles over this string, the gun would automatically fire.
Setting a spring gun is illegal throughout Nevada. But there are some exceptions (discussed below in section 3).
2. What are the penalties?
The Nevada punishment for setting a spring gun depends on whether it causes injuries:
Injuries from setting a spring gun
|No injuries||Gross misdemeanor:|
|Non-fatal injury||Category B felony:|
|Fatal injury not amounting to murder||Category B felony:|
- the death penalty (if any aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating ones);
- life in prison without the possibility of parole;
- life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years; or
- 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years
3. Is setting a spring gun ever legal?
Yes, there are exceptions in Nevada. Agents or employees of governmental agencies may use loaded spring guns or set guns to kill:
- Coyotes, or
- Other burrowing rodents or predatory animals
Any guns must be set at least 15 miles outside of the boundaries of any incorporated city or unincorporated town. And the agents or employees must first get permission from the property’s owner, lessee, or administrator before setting the gun.3
4. Can the record be sealed?
Yes. NRS 202.255 convictions can be sealed after a predetermined wait time. And if the charge gets dismissed, there is no wait required to pursue a record seal.
Spring Gun conviction
Record seal wait-time in Nevada
|Gross misdemeanor||2 years after the case ends|
|Category B felony||10 years after the case ends*|
*This is assuming Nevada law considers NRS 202.255 to be a felony “crime of violence.” The Nevada Supreme Court has not ruled on this issue yet, however. If NRS 202.255 is not a felony “crime of violence,” then the waiting period is only 5 years after the case ends.
|Dismissal (no conviction)||Immediately.4|
The record seal process can take up to a year from start to finish. Learn more about getting Nevada criminal records sealed.
5. What are the immigration consequences?
Any firearm offense such as setting a spring gun is potentially deportable.5 Therefore, non-citizens facing gun charges should consult with an experienced lawyer right away. If the charge gets reduced or dismissed, the defendant may be able to remain in the U.S.
Arrested? Call an attorney…
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