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September 22, 2014

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The basics on Nevada’s gun laws

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Steve Marcus

Attendees look over new Smith & Wesson handguns during the 2014 SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. The show features more than 1,600 exhibitors covering 630,000 square feet and attracts more than 62,000 attendees.

The gun-control debate took center stage last week in the wake of a Las Vegas shooting that left five people dead at the hands of a heavily armed couple on an anti-government rampage.

Gun-control advocates say the attack has helped highlight the need for tougher firearms laws, while opponents argue added regulation won't curb mass shootings.

So how does Nevada currently govern gun ownership?

Here are the basics:

    • Define ‘firearm’

      State law defines a firearm as any device designed to be used as a weapon from which a projectile can be expelled through the barrel by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion. A firearm that can be concealed — that is, a handgun — is one with a barrel less than 12 inches long. (NRS 202.253)

    • Limits on regulation

      Nevada has a "limited authority" to regulate firearms. It does not require permits, firearm registration or owner licenses for firearm owners. (NRS 244.364)

    • Register in Clark County

      Nevada law does not require new owners to register their weapons, but a Clark County ordinance does for its residents.

      Nevada law limits that registration requirement — A person must live in Clark County at least 60 days before they are required to register. And at least three days must pass after a resident purchases or receives a handgun as a gift before they need to register it.

      Handgun registration in Clark County is provided free of charge after a cursory background check is performed at a Metro Police substation or any other law enforcement agency within the incorporated cities of Clark County. (NRS 244.364)

    • Background checks

      A private person may opt to request a background check for someone to whom they wish to give or sell a firearm. For this, the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History charges a $25 fee. This is not a requirement.

      People who are prohibited from having a weapon include ex-felons, fugitives and undocumented immigrants. 
(NRS 202.254)

    • ‘Shall issue’

      Nevada — like Texas, Florida, Colorado and Oregon — is a "shall issue" state, which means concealed carry permits must be issued to all qualified applicants. Metro Police issues these in Clark County for a fee of about $100.

      Applicants must be 21 and older. (NRS 202.3653 – 202.369)

    • Conceal-carry reciprocity

      Nevada recognizes concealed handgun licenses from the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho ("enhanced" permit only), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota ("Class 1" permit only), Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. 
(NRS 202.3689)

    • ‘Stand your ground’

      Nevada is among more than 30 states with so-called "stand your ground" laws that allow deadly force against people who threaten to kill or seriously harm someone else. An armed citizen has no duty to retreat from danger and, in some circumstances, deadly force is justifiable. For this, the shooter must not be the original aggressor and they must have "a right to be present at the location where deadly force is used." (NRS 200.120)

    • Open carry

      Firearms can generally be carried openly throughout Nevada, though carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun inside a vehicle on or along a public road is illegal.

      Although North Las Vegas has an ordinance prohibiting open carry at county parks or in vehicles within city limits, the ordinance does not supersede state law.

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