Under NRS 202.360, Nevada law prohibits certain classes of people from owning or possessing firearms. The list includes convicted felons, people subject to a domestic violence restraining order, fugitives, illegal aliens, drug users, and people adjudicated to be mentally ill. A person in one of these categories who unlawfully has a gun is subject to a felony, carrying 1 to 6 years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys will discuss:
- 1. Who cannot lawfully possess guns in Nevada?
- 2. What happens to felons with a firearm in Nevada?
- 3. What is the penalty for unlawfully possessing guns under NRS 202.360?
- 4. How can an attorney fight the charges?
- 5. Is it deportable?
- 6. Can the record be sealed?
- 7. Full text of statute
NRS 202.360 prohibits the following 12 categories of people from possessing, owning, or having any control of a firearm in the state of Nevada:
- Anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in the U.S.1
- Anyone convicted of stalking a family member or current or former intimate partner in the U.S.2
- Anyone convicted of a felony in the U.S. unless the person received a pardon restoring the right to bear arms.3
- Anyone subject to an extended protection against domestic violence, and the order prohibits the person from having firearms.4
- Drug addicts or unlawful users of controlled substances.
- Anyone prohibited by federal law from having a gun (this also includes people dishonorably discharged from the armed forces as well as people who renounced their American citizenship).5
- Anyone adjudicated as mentally ill or committed to a mental health facility by a court in the U.S.
- Defendants who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the U.S.
- Defendants found guilty but mentally ill in the U.S.
- Defendants acquitted by reason of insanity in the U.S.
- Undocumented aliens.
Firearms include any gun whether loaded or not, in working order or broken. And it includes all kind of guns, such as pistols, revolvers, long guns (rifles), and semi-automatic weapons.6
NRS 202.360 is sometimes referred to as the law prohibiting ex-felons in possession of a firearm. But as discussed above, state law forbids far more people than convicted felons from keeping or carrying guns.
Note that lawful gun owners and carriers may still be prohibited from carrying guns and other deadly weapons in certain locations, such as schools and child care facilities. See our articles on open carry and background checks.
Felons caught with a firearm in Nevada face category B felony charges, which carry one to six years in state prison and up to $5,000 in fines.7 Being a felon with a gun is also a federal crime, which carries one to ten years in federal prison and/or a fine.8 If a felon gets convicted of possessing firearms, it will likely be impossible to ever get their gun rights restored through a Governor’s Pardon.
The punishment for violating NRS 202.360 depends on the reason the defendant was prohibited from possessing firearms to begin with.
|Prohibited persons under NRS 202.360
||Category B felony:
||Category D felony:
Three possible defenses to Nevada criminal charges of unlawful gun ownership or possession include:
- The defendant was not prohibited from having a gun. Perhaps prosecutors are simply wrong to believe that the defendant is not permitted to have a gun. For example perhaps the defendant was convicted of a felony, but then the defendant received a pardon restoring gun rights. The criminal defense attorney would compile the documentation necessary to show the court that NRS 202.360 does not apply to the defendant.10
- The police found the gun through an illegal search. If a law enforcement agency found the defendant’s gun through an unlawful search and seizure, the defendant’s attorney can ask the court to suppress that gun as evidence. If the court agrees, the district attorney may be left with too little evidence to continue prosecuting the case.11
- The defendant acted in lawful self-defense. This is a narrow argument that applies to emergency situations that would justify the defendant taking control of someone else’s firearm for only as long as necessary to fend off an attack he/she did not provoke. The criminal defense attorney would search for video surveillance and eyewitnesses to support the defendant’s position that “legal necessity” required the defendant to temporarily possess a firearm.12
Any gun-related crime is usually a deportable offense.13 Therefore, non-citizens charged with violating NRS 202.360 are advised to hire an attorney right away to try to negotiate the charge down to a dismissal or other offense that does not jeopardize resident status.
People convicted of violating NRS 202.360 may be eligible to seal their criminal record five years after the case closes. But if the charge gets dismissed, then there is no waiting period to petition the court for a record seal.14
NRS 202: Crimes Against Public Health and Safety
NRs 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 in this State or any other state of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33);
(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.
In California? See our article on felon in possession of a firearm (PC 29800).
In Colorado? See our article on possession of a weapon by a previous offender (CRS 18-12-108).
- Nevada Revised Statute 202.360; 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33); also see our article about battery domestic violence (NRS 200.485).
- NRS 202.360; also see our article about stalking (NRS 200.575).
- Also see our article about Governor’s pardons; also see Attorney General Opinion 83-13 (9-14-1983).
- Also see our article on guns and extended restraining orders.
- 18 U.S. Code § 922.
- NRS 202.360.
- 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).
- NRS 202.360.
- See e.g., State ex rel. Orsborn v. Fogliani, 82 Nev. 300, 417 P.2d 148 (1966); Sanders v. State, 96 Nev. 341, 609 P.2d 324 (1980).
- See, e.g., Allan v. State, 103 Nev. 512, 746 P.2d 138 (Nevada Supreme Court, 1987); Wyatt v. State, 86 Nev. 294, 468 P.2d 338 (1970); also see our article about search warrants.
- NRS 200.275.
- 8 U.S. Code § 1227
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.