Firearm and Weapons Charges

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Las Vegas Defense Lawyers For Firearm and Weapons Charges

Nevada is an “open carry” state. That means that most people are not in danger of firearms charges for openly carrying a weapon.  However, there are restrictions on who can own a gun, the type of gun, and in what situations guns are permissible.

People who violate the gun laws in Nevada are subject to severe consequences. That’s in addition to potential federal firearms charges and penalties.

Individuals convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon or possession of a weapon by a prohibited person (such as someone with a felony record) may incur felony charges. That means mandatory prison time and fines. However, for lesser charges, the penalties may not be as harsh.

If you’re facing weapons charges in Las Vegas, hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer can give you the best chance of dismissed or decreased charges.  Our legal team has handled hundreds of gun cases and we understand what it takes to win in these types of cases.   

At The Vegas Lawyers (“TVL”), you can count on our team of skilled criminal defense lawyers to explore every option to get the best possible results for you and your family, under the circumstances.  Contact TVL today at (702) 707-7000 for a free and confidential consultation.     

Can I Openly Carry A Gun In Las Vegas?

You can openly carry a firearm in Las Vegas so long as the weapon is not banned by federal or state law.  However, certain people are not allowed to possess a firearm under any circumstances.

While it is legal to carry certain firearms in Las Vegas openly, you must have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Furthermore, it is illegal for anyone (other than authorized persons) to possess a gun in legislative buildings, childcare facilities, public schools, and all public universities/colleges in Nevada.

Federal gun laws also prohibit gun possession in the following places:

  • Military bases
  • Postal Offices
  • Certain areas in Airports
  • Any federal building or facility

Continue reading to learn more about the most common firearm charges in Las Vegas. If you have questions, contact us today to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Types Of Weapons And Firearm Charges In Nevada

Many types of weapons and firearm charges are outlined in NRS Chapter 22 entitled “Crimes Against Public Safety.”  Below, we’ve provided a brief overview of some of the most common weapons charges and associated penalties.

It’s important to note that the exact criminal charges and penalties levied against individuals convicted of weapons offenses can vary depending on the circumstances.

Carrying A Concealed Weapon Without A Permit – NRS 202.350

Nevada requires anyone who carries a concealed weapon to hold a concealed carry weapons permit or “CCW.”  Otherwise, offenders can be subjected to harsh penalties.   

Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to obtain a CCW permit for residents in Nevada.  The state is required to issue a CCW permit to anyone that is eligible.  To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

●    At least 21 years old

  • Not subject to gun possession restrictions in Nevada
  • Completion of state-approved firearm safety course

A CCW applicant can be denied for various reasons like past felony convictions, domestic abuse charges, violent crimes, diagnosed mental health conditions, and much more.

If you’re convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in Las Vegas without a permit, you face a felony charge. You must have a current CCW permit to carry the following types of weapons and firearms in a concealed manner:

  • Most handguns
  • Air-pressure (pneumatic) guns
  • Machetes
  • Certain explosives
  • Other types of deadly or dangerous weapons

It’s important to remember that “concealed” can describe many situations like carrying a weapon in your pocket, in a bag, under a coat, etc.  Essentially, if it looks like you’re hiding it, it’s considered concealed, and you need a permit.

What Is The Penalty For Carrying A Concealed Weapon Without A Permit?

The penalties for first-time offenders who carry a concealed firearm or explosive without a permit include:

  • Minimum 1 year in prison, Maximum  5-years, and
  • Potentially $10,000 in fines

The penalties for a first-time carrying a concealed machete without a permit offense are less harsh, but subsequent convictions could lead to extensive prison time.

Furthermore, it’s prohibited to carry a concealed knife (three or more inches) in all unincorporated areas of Clark County circa – [Ord. No. 4332].  While Las Vegas is in Clark County, it is an incorporated municipality – so this particular ordinance does not apply to Vegas. 

You can potentially have charges decreased or dismissed depending on the facts of your case, the details of the investigation, and the caliber of attorney you hire.  Contact us today to learn more.

Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person – NRS 202.360

Generally, most people can purchase and possess authorized firearms in Nevada without needing a permit. However, certain people are not allowed to have firearms under any circumstances.

They include but are not limited to the following:

  • People with prior felony convictions
  • Individuals with past domestic violence convictions
  • People who have orders of protection against them
  • Undocumented immigrants & certain most non-immigrant visa holders
  • Fugitives
  • People who are addicted to drugs or any kind of controlled substance
  • Children under 18 (with certain exceptions)
  • Those with a mental illness

What’s The Penalty For Possession Of A Firearm By A Prohibited Person?

Individuals convicted of unlawful firearm possession face a category D felony conviction. That can lead to a minimum 1-year prison sentence and a max 6-year prison sentence.  Also, convicted offenders must pay up to $5,000 in fines (judge’s discretion).

Possession Of A Firearm While Under The Influence – NRS 202.257

It’s illegal to possess a firearm in Las Vegas while under the influence of a controlled substance. That includes alcohol (.08 BAC or higher) and any other controlled substance that renders a person unable to handle a firearm safely.

In many cases, Las Vegas law enforcement will conduct an evidentiary blood test to determine if a person is under the influence while possessing a firearm.  If a blood test is refused, the police can use reasonable force to obtain samples.

What’s The Penalty For Possession Of A Firearm While Under The Influence?

Possession of a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Las Vegas is typically a misdemeanor crime.  Individuals who are convicted face up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

In some cases, offenders must surrender their weapons. Furthermore, NRS 202.257 usually doesn’t apply to firearms kept at home for protection.

Possession Of A Dangerous Weapon While On School Property – NRS 202.265

NRS 202.265 goes beyond public schools. It also prohibits the possession of a dangerous weapon while on any property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, child-care facility, or while in a vehicle belonging to either.

In addition to firearms, it is illegal to possess the following types of weapons while on the restricted properties mentioned above:

  • Any explosives
  • Dangerous knives like switchblades and daggers
  • Brass Knuckles
  • Paintball gun (or similar)
  • Nunchakus

Individuals convicted of unlawfully possessing a dangerous weapon while on school grounds face gross misdemeanor charges (at minimum). Penalties for a gross misdemeanor in Nevada include up to 1-year in jail and $2,000 in fines.

Use Or Possession Of Firearm By A Child – NRS 202.300  

Children under 18 are not allowed to possess firearms in Las Vegas. However, there are exceptions.  Children under 18 are permitted to possess a dangerous weapon if they are supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or otherwise authorized adult.

Children who are convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm face serious penalties. Furthermore, parents of children who unlawfully possess firearms can be charged with a category B Felony.

Penalties for category B felonies include 1-6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Discharging A Firearm In Public – NRS 202.280

It is against the law to shoot a firearm in a public place. That’s true even if there are no injuries. Under NRS 202.280, individuals who unlawfully shoot firearms in public places face misdemeanor charges.

However, if the individual acts “maliciously and wantonly” and/or the gun is fired from the inside or at a structure or vehicle, they face felony charges. The penalties for a category B felony include 2-15 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Brandishing A Weapon In A Threatening Way – NRS 202.320

Except for certain members of law enforcement, brandishing (showing) a weapon in a threatening way is illegal.  However, drawing a weapon is only a crime in Nevada if the following conditions are true:

  • The individual was in possession of a deadly weapon (i.e., gun, switchblade, etc.)
  • At least two people witness the unlawful conduct
  • The individual brandishes the weapon in a “rude, threatening, or angry” manner

If convicted, individuals face misdemeanor charges resulting in up to 6-months of jail time and $1,000 in fines. It’s important to note that brandishing a weapon in a threatening way and assault with a deadly weapon are two separate charges.

Assault with a deadly weapon (NRS 200.471) occurs when an individual causes bodily harm or threatens to cause damage while possessing a deadly weapon.  The weapon does not have to be used to commit the crime for an individual to be charged.

Penalties for assault with a deadly weapon include category B felony charges, 1-6 years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines.

Aiming A Firearm At A Person – NRS 202.290  

According to NRS 202.287, individuals face gross misdemeanor charges if they aim a gun (loaded or unloaded) at another person or fire a weapon in any place where someone might be endangered.

Individuals convicted of aiming a firearm at another human face up to $2,000 in fines and 1-year in jail.

Use Of A Deadly Weapon While Committing A Crime – NRS 193.165

NRS 193.165 is a deadly weapon enhancement to felony crimes.  Using a deadly weapon (i.e., gun, machete, etc.) while committing any felony can significantly increase punishments.

Common examples of enhanced weapons charges in Las Vegas include assault, murder, kidnapping, battery, robbery, etc. – with a deadly weapon.

Individuals convicted of possessing a deadly weapon or firearm in the commission of a crime can receive up to double prison time on their sentence.  That can add 1 – 20 more years to original sentences.

Understanding Immigrant Firearm Rights In Las Vegas

Permanent legal residents (green card holders) can own firearms.  However, non-immigrant visa holders can only do so under very limited and specific circumstances (i.e., with a hunting license). Furthermore, it’s unlawful for an undocumented or otherwise “illegal” immigrant to own firearms.

Immigrants who violate Nevada or federal gun laws are subject to deportation.  For that reason, immigrants who have not yet gained citizenship or permanent residency should consider retaining legal counsel to fight gun charges.  Having a strong and knowledgeable immigration lawyer on your side is also important if you’re facing criminal charges.   

How To Fight Firearm And Weapons Charges In Las Vegas

Nevada gun and deadly weapons law violations are strictly punished.  While it can be a complicated process, a proven criminal defense lawyer can mount a strong defense on your behalf.

Common defense strategies to weapons charges in Las Vegas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Invalid search warrants
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Self-Defense
  • Fictitious accounts of events perpetrated by the accuser

Every firearms case is different. However, working with an experienced attorney can significantly increase the odds of defendants receiving the least amount of punishment under the circumstances.

Can I Restore My Gun Rights in Nevada?

Individuals who are convicted of an applicable misdemeanor or felony crime are prohibited from owning a firearm in Nevada indefinitely. The only method to restore gun rights is to receive a pardon from the state.

Unfortunately, only about 1% of all pardons are requested are granted.  With that in mind, it’s essential to work with an attorney who understands what the Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners is looking for in a winning pardon petition.  At the federal level, getting a Presidential Pardon is even more daunting and rare.   

Call The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing Firearm Or Weapons Charges

Are you facing charges for committing a gun or firearm offense?  If so, you need to get the best lawyer on your side.  This is no time to gamble with your choice of attorney.  Working with an experienced and proven Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas can profoundly impact the outcome of your case.

If you’ve been charged with a gun or firearm crime, representing yourself or being underrepresented can be catastrophic.  It’s not a risk worth taking.  Indeed, don’t risk your future when you don’t have to.  Your liberty depends upon making the right choice.  


Our highly skilled team of legal professionals can help you.  Contact us through this website or give us a call at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation today.


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