Nevada Revised Statute § 205.226 makes it a category B felony to commit grand larceny of (that is, to steal) a firearm. Theft of a gun is illegal even if the weapon is broken, of little value, or has already been stolen by somebody else.
The language of NRS 205.226 reads as follows:
1. A person who intentionally steals, takes and carries away a firearm owned by another person commits grand larceny of a firearm.
2. A person who commits grand larceny of a firearm 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 10 years, and by a fine of not more than $10,000.
3. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person who committed the grand larceny of the firearm to pay restitution.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is “grand larceny of a firearm” in Nevada?
- 2. Can I go to prison under NRS 205.226?
- 3. What are the best defenses?
- 4. Will I lose my gun rights?
- 5. What are the immigration consequences?
- 6. When can the record get sealed?
1. What is grand larceny of a firearm in Nevada?
An NRS 205.266 violation occurs when you steal another person’s firearm. This law applies to all types of guns, such as
- semi-automatic guns,
- automatic guns, and
Stealing a firearm is a form of grand larceny in Nevada even if the gun itself is inexpensive, defective, or was previously stolen. Furthermore, you face separate theft charges for each individual gun that you allegedly took even if the guns were all taken at the same time.
Example: Rodney goes to a house party in Las Vegas. On his way to the bathroom, he catches sight of the host’s firearm collection. He cannot afford handguns of his own, so he slips two of the pistols into his satchel. Another guest catches Rodney and calls the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who book him at the Clark County Detention Center on two counts of grand larceny of a firearm–one for each piece of stolen property.
2. Can I go to prison under NRS 205.226?
Yes. Violating this section is a category B felony in Nevada. It carries a sentence of:
- A minimum term of one year to a maximum term of ten years in Nevada State Prison, and
- Up to $10,000 in fines, and
- Restitution payments to the victim2
It does not matter if the value of the property was low. Stealing even a cheap, inexpensive revolver is a felony. There is no misdemeanor “petit larceny of a gun” crime.
3. What are the best defenses?
The standard defenses to grand theft firearm charges are the same as for any larceny offense. They turn on the gun’s rightful owner, your state of mind, or the lawfulness of the police’s conduct:
- You owned or rightfully possessed the gun. It is not theft to take what already belongs to you. Perhaps the accuser in the case wrongfully believed that the gun did not belong to you. If we can produce proof that you legally owned or were in legal possession of the gun, the charges should be dropped.
- The police committed misconduct. Law enforcement is obligated to conduct searches and seizures within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution’s warrant requirements. If the police may have overstepped their bounds and performed an illegal search, then we can ask the judge to throw out any evidence found from that illegal search. Then if the judge grants our motion to suppress evidence in Nevada, the District Attorney may be left with too little evidence to win a guilty verdict.
- You had no intention of stealing. This section only prohibits deliberate taking. If you took someone else’s gun by accident or honestly believed the gun belonged to you, then there was no grand larceny of the firearm:
Example: Kevin brings his guns to an outdoor shooting competition near Lake Mead. Kevin begins feeling symptoms of sunstroke as the temperature reaches 110 degrees, so he decides to pack up his belongings and go home. Disoriented, he unknowingly takes a fellow competitor’s gun case. The competitor calls the Henderson Police Department, who then book Kevin at the Henderson Detention Center for stealing a gun.
In the above example, Kevin’s defense attorney would probably explain the situation to the prosecutors and produce the names of several witnesses that can attest to Kevin’s compromised state of mind at Lake Mead due to the heat. The prosecutors may then realize that they do not have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kevin meant to steal the gun.
4. Will I lose my gun rights?
Yes, if you are convicted of stealing a gun in Nevada, you lose the right to own and possess guns throughout the United States. The only way you can restore your gun rights is through a Nevada pardon.3
Note that if you are a convicted felon caught with a gun, you face charges for unlawful gun possession / ex-felon in possession of a firearm (NRS 202.360). This is a felony offense, carrying up to 6 years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine.4
5. What are the immigration consequences?
Firearm crimes are deportable.5 Therefore, non-citizens facing NRS 205.226 criminal charges should hire an experienced attorney right away to try to prevent deportation.
6. When can the record get sealed?
Nevada convictions for stealing a firearm are sealable five (5) years after the case ends. Though if the court dismisses the case, then you can petition right away for a record seal.6 Learn how to seal criminal records in Nevada.
California Law Compared:
In California? See our article on Grand Theft Firearm (Penal Code 487(d)(2)).
- Nevada Revised Statute 205.226.
- NRS 202.360; see also Hand v. State, 107 Nev. 577, 816 P.2d 468 (1991).
- NRS 202.360; note that people convicted of domestic violence may not possess firearms either.
- 8 USC § 1227(a)(2)(C
- NRS 179.245 (the waiting time to seal a category B felony is the same as for a category C felony and a category D felony, in most cases); NRS 179.255.