NRS 205.226 is the Nevada law that makes it a category B felony 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. Penalties include 1 – 10 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine, and restitution.
NRS 205.226 states that”a person who intentionally steals, takes and carries away a firearm owned by another person commits grand larceny of a firearm.”
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 a person takes another person’s firearm. This law applies to all types of guns, such as shotguns, rifles, semi-automatic guns, automatic guns, and handguns.1
Stealing a firearm is a form of grand larceny in Nevada even if the gun itself is inexpensive, defective, or was previously stolen. Furthermore, defendants face separate theft charges for each individual gun that they 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 call 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, the defendant’s state of mind, or the lawfulness of the police’s conduct:
- The defendant owned or rightfully possessed the gun. It is not theft for someone to take what already belongs to him/her. Perhaps the accuser in the case wrongfully believed that the gun did not belong to the defendant. If the defense attorney could produce proof that the defendant legally owned or was 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 the defendant can ask the judge to throw out any evidence found from that illegal search. Then if the judge grants the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence in Nevada, the District Attorney may be left with too little evidence to win a guilty verdict.
- The defendant had no intention of stealing. This section only prohibits deliberate taking. If the defendant took someone else’s gun by accident or honestly believed the gun belonged to him/her, 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 name 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, people convicted of stealing a gun in Nevada lose the right to own and possess guns throughout the United States. The only way they can restore their gun rights is through a Nevada pardon.3
Note that convicted felons caught with a gun 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 get the charges reduced or dismissed. If the attorney is successful, the defendant may still be able to remain in the U.S.
6. When can the record get sealed?
Nevada convictions for stealing a firearm may be sealed five (5) years after the case ends. But if the charge gets dismissed, then defendants can petition right away for a record seal.6 Learn how to seal criminal records in Nevada.
Our law office is headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, but we create attorney-client relationships throughout the state of Nevada.
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.