Two guns from The Range 702.

Gun Laws in Nevada

Whether you’ve purchased (or are planning to purchase) a firearm for self-defense, hunting, target shooting, or something else, it’s important to have a solid understanding of Nevada gun laws.

Two guns from The Range 702.

Violating a law — even accidentally — can lead to criminal convictions, financial penalties, and even jail time. Even if you don’t live in the state, it’s a good idea for travelers to brush up on Nevada gun laws to avoid inadvertently running afoul of the law.

With that in mind, here’s a comprehensive overview of gun laws in Nevada.

1:1 firearms safety and proficiency training is available at The Range 702.

Is Nevada a Constitutional Carry State?

Some states allow Constitutional carry, which means that residents don’t need a permit to carry a handgun — anyone legally allowed to buy or keep a firearm may carry it (open or concealed). The name comes from the fact that this kind of legislation is seen as being in line with the provisions of the United States Constitution.

Nevada isn’t a Constitutional carry state. According to NRS 202.3653 to 202.369, if a person is legally allowed to possess a firearm under state and federal law, the sheriff of their county of residence must approve an application for a permit if they meet the following requirements:

  • Are 21 or older (people 18 and up will be approved if they’re in, or have been honorably discharged from, the military or reserve)
  • Complete an approved firearm safety course
  • Have a valid driver’s license or state ID with the correct address (those who were born outside the United States will need a second form of ID)

If you want to apply for a concealed carry permit, you can do so at your county sheriff’s office or by visiting the appropriate website. You’ll be given the necessary forms, and the sheriff’s office staff should be able to answer any questions you have.

It’s important to wait until you have a valid concealed carry permit before carrying in Nevada. If you’re caught carrying without a permit, you could be charged with a class C felony. The penalty for this is one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Can You Carry a Gun in Nevada With a Permit From a Different State?

What if you’re traveling to Nevada from a different state? You may already know that a permit from one state won’t always be honored in another since different states have different criteria for getting a concealed carry permit.

Nevada concealed carry permits are honored in many states and vice versa (often with restrictions or stipulations). Travelers should know that Nevada honors concealed carry permits from the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana 
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Nevada also honors specific types of concealed carry permits from a few states:

  • Idaho: Enhanced permit
  • Mississippi: Enhanced permit
  • North Dakota: Class 1 permit
  • South Dakota: Enhanced permit

If your concealed carry permit is from a state not listed above, you may not legally carry a concealed gun in Nevada.

Is Nevada an Open Carry State?

There’s no law explicitly stating that Nevada residents may openly carry a firearm. And since there’s also no statute prohibiting the practice, it’s legal to open carry in Nevada.

If you aren’t familiar with what constitutes open carry, take the time to understand what it means to avoid accidentally breaking the law. Here are the guidelines for open carry for different types of firearms:

  • Long guns must be slung across the wearer’s shoulder
  • Pistols must be in a holster, and the holster should not be concealed by the wearer’s clothing

There also are select areas in Nevada where you may not legally open carry. They include:

  • The Hoover Dam
  • Public schools and colleges
  • On airplanes and in secure areas of airports
  • Veterans Affairs (VA) buildings
  • Post offices
  • Federal buildings
  • Legislative buildings
  • Childcare facilities

Note that it’s also illegal to open carry while intoxicated. Legally speaking, “intoxicated” means above the legal limit of 0.08 BAC. You may open carry while drinking unless you cross that threshold.

Does Nevada Restrict Magazine Capacity?

Some states have passed laws that limit magazine capacity. However, in Nevada, there are no laws that restrict the amount of ammunition a magazine can hold. As such, Nevada residents are free to purchase and use extended magazines.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy a Gun in Nevada?

Under Nevada law, residents must be at least 18 years of age to purchase long guns (rifles and shotguns). Minors won’t typically face charges if they try to buy a gun. That said, penalties are stiff for anyone who knowingly sells a gun to someone under 18.

According to NRS 202.300, a person who sells a long gun to a minor will face misdemeanor charges. If they knew or had reason to believe that the child would use the gun to commit a violent crime, the charge becomes a felony. 

Since handguns can be concealed easily, you could face felony charges if you sell one to someone under 18. Per NRS 202.310, a person who does so will be charged with a felony. If they’re found guilty, they could spend one to six years in prison and be forced to pay a fine of up to $5,000. 

Federal law regulates the minimum age of purchase for handguns. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, you must be at least 21 years of age to legally purchase one.

CCW permits, and CCW renewals are available at The Range 702.

Can You Own a Machine Gun in Nevada?

A “machine gun” is a colloquial term for a fully automatic weapon. As you might have guessed, these potentially lethal firearms are more tightly regulated than semi-automatics. Under NRS 202.350, Nevada citizens may only possess a machine gun if they’re permitted by federal law.

The 1986 Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) placed significant restrictions on private ownership of fully automatic weapons. Under federal law, private citizens may only possess fully automatic weapons if the following are true:

  • They aren’t prohibited from owning firearms under federal law
  • Their state of residence doesn’t ban fully automatic weapons
  • The firearm they own was made prior to 1986

Relatively few people in Nevada possess machine guns. As you can see, while you can legally have a fully automatic weapon in Nevada, you’re only allowed to buy one made before 1986, which might seem like a strange regulation to some.

Such firearms can be hard to find, and they become scarcer every year. In many cases, pre-1986 machine guns sell for more than $10,000, making them prohibitively expensive for the average gun enthusiast.

If you own a fully automatic weapon, you must register it with the ATF and pay an additional tax. You may be allowed to own newer machine guns if you have a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

Can You Own a Silencer in Nevada?

A silencer is a device that reduces the volume of a firearm’s report (note that it doesn’t actually make the shot completely silent).

Because silencers can be used to facilitate crime, they’re regulated just like fully automatic weapons are. As outlined in NRS 202.350, Nevada allows citizens to own silencers as long as they’re permitted to by federal law.

If you’ve spent time poring over the Nevada law on short-barreled rifles, you might notice an odd discrepancy.

As it’s written, the state code says that you may register the gun with the Department of the Treasury — not the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This is because the ATF was once under the Department of the Treasury; it was later shifted to the Department of Justice, and the law’s wording was never updated.

Can You Own a Short-Barrel Rifle (SBR) in Nevada?

As you’ve seen, there are more barriers to purchasing pistols and other small guns than rifles and shotguns. That’s largely because it’s so easy to conceal smaller guns. Rifles and shotguns can be great for home defense, but you wouldn’t choose one of the two if you needed something for everyday carry.

Some people choose to shorten the barrel of a long gun for various reasons. As a result, most states have laws regulating how short one can make a long gun (and how short manufacturers can make them). In order to regulate these shorter guns, the Nevada code must articulate what it means by “short-barreled weapons.”

Las Vegas gun laws define a short-barreled rifle (under NRS 202.275) as one with at least one barrel measuring 16” or less. The term “short-barreled rifle” also applies to any weapon made from a rifle that now has a total length of 26”.

It’s possible to legally own a short-barrel rifle in Nevada, provided you meet certain criteria. You must have an FFL or similar federal license. Alternatively, you can register the rifle with the ATF.

Can You Own a Short-Barreled Shotgun (SBS) in Nevada?

Nevada law NRS 202.275 explains that a short-barreled shotgun is one with at least one barrel shorter than 18”. Like the section governing short-barreled rifles, this section stipulates that any modified weapon that originated as a shotgun may not be less than 26” in total length.

The laws regarding ownership of short-barreled shotguns are identical to those pertaining to short-barreled rifles: to own one, you must either obtain an FFL (or a similar license) or register the weapon with the ATF.

Can You Buy a Gun Without a Background Check in Nevada?

Background checks for firearm purchases have been a hot topic for years.

Different states have different laws when it comes to background checks. NRS 202.2544 stipulates that a background check must be performed for every firearm sale or transfer. However, transfers to immediate family members don’t require background checks.

The law regards the following classes of people as immediate family members:

  • Spouses
  • Domestic partners
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Aunts
  • Uncles
  • Nieces
  • Nephews

While transfers to immediate family members are lawful in Nevada, you can’t legally give a gun to a relative if they’re prohibited from owning firearms.

Who Is Prohibited From Owning a Gun in Nevada?

In Nevada, certain classes of people may not own, possess, or use firearms. These classes are outlined in NRS 202.360 and include:

  • Those who have been convicted of domestic violence
  • Those who have been convicted of a felony at the state or national level
  • Those who have been convicted of some stalking-related crimes
  • Most individuals who currently have an order of protection against them
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Those who are addicted to or unlawfully use controlled substances
  • Those who have been committed to a mental health facility or adjudicated mentally ill
  • Those who have been found guilty of a crime but mentally ill (or entered a plea alleging they were guilty but mentally ill)
  • Those who have been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity
  • Those in the country illegally

In some cases, “prohibited persons” may be able to restore their rights. If this situation applies to you, it’s a good idea to seek the aid of a lawyer specializing in gun rights.

It’s important to note that you could be charged with a felony if you try to buy a gun in Nevada as a prohibited person. If there’s any doubt about your status, verify it before purchasing.

Other Firearm Laws in Nevada

The laws outlined above are some of the major pieces of firearm-related legislation in Nevada. However, every gun owner or firearm enthusiast should also be aware of the following laws.

Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated

Most people know that guns and alcohol don’t mix.

NRS 202.257 explains that a person may not legally possess a firearm when they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. They also may not legally possess a firearm when under the influence of a controlled substance or any other substance that could prevent them from safely operating a firearm.

Notably, the law includes an important exception: if an intoxicated person is in their home and is holding the firearm only for self-defense purposes, they aren’t breaking the law. This means that if you’ve been drinking at home and you hear someone breaking in, you’re legally allowed to use your gun for self-defense.

Firearms on School or Childcare Property

As mentioned, Nevada restricts the venues where citizens can carry or possess firearms. NRS 202.265 states that citizens may not carry firearms or have them in their vehicles on public or private school property, the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, or the premises of a childcare facility.

This law prohibits more than just firearms in these places. It’s also illegal to carry the following weapons or have them in your vehicle:

  • Explosives
  • Incendiary devices
  • Switchblade knives, dirks, and daggers
  • Nunchaku (also known as “nunchucks”)
  • Trefoils (also known as “throwing stars”)
  • Blackjacks or billy clubs
  • Metal knuckles
  • Pneumatic guns (also known as “air guns”)
  • Devices used to mark people with paint or similar substances

As with many laws, there are certain exceptions. The following individuals are permitted to have the weapons mentioned above on the premises of a childcare facility or public or private school:

  • People with written permission from the principal, branch president, etc.
  • Peace officers (another term for police officers)
  • School security guards

There’s also a separate provision for childcare facilities. If someone runs a childcare facility out of their home, they’re allowed to have a gun as long as it’s kept and stored in accordance with other Nevada gun laws.

Firearms With Missing Serial Numbers

Firearms are stamped with unique serial numbers. Unlike the serial numbers on home appliances and similar items, the serial numbers on guns were introduced to help fight crime. In some cases, they make it easier to track down individual firearms and reduce the risk of illegal gun sales. They can also make it easier to recover stolen weapons.

Some people file off the serial numbers to make the guns harder to trace. Under NRS 202.277, it’s illegal to modify or remove the serial number on a firearm. It’s also illegal to knowingly possess a gun with an altered or obliterated serial number.

Both of these offenses are felonies, although removing the serial number yourself is the more severe crime.

Discharging Firearms in Public

It might sound like common sense to refrain from firing guns in public, but just in case, Nevada has a law forbidding it. According to NRS 202.280, it’s illegal to discharge a firearm in public. The crime is a misdemeanor unless the bullet fired injures someone, in which case it becomes a matter of litigation.

The state law clearly outlines several examples of what it means by “public places:”

  • Public streets and thoroughfares
  • Hallways
  • Stores
  • Hotels
  • Theaters
  • Saloons
  • Other places of public resort

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to intentionally fire the gun for it to be a crime. 

The law applies to anyone who “maliciously, wantonly or negligently discharges or causes to be discharged any pistol, gun, or any other kind of firearm.” It also specifies that it applies whether the person is under the influence of alcohol or other substances or not.

State code also includes two very similar laws. Under NRS 202.285, it’s illegal to fire a gun at or into a building, car, airplane, or boat. If the targeted structure is occupied, the offense is automatically a felony; if it’s vacant, it’s a misdemeanor. Additionally, under NRS 202.287, it’s illegal to shoot from within a vehicle or a structure.

Pointing a Gun (or Shooting) at a Person

NRS 202.290 makes it illegal to shoot at someone. The law also prohibits pointing a firearm at someone, whether it’s loaded or not.

This charge is typically only applied if there’s no greater crime the offender can be charged with. For example, if you point your gun at someone during a heated argument but then put it away, you could face criminal charges for aiming a gun at another person.

However, if you pull out your gun during an argument, point it at your opponent, and kill them with a single shot, you’d probably be charged with murder. Because the murder charge is so significant, you probably wouldn’t also be charged for pointing and shooting a gun at a person.


To “brandish” a weapon means to draw or hold it in a threatening or hostile way. This type of action is unlawful under NRS 202.320.

Like pointing a gun or shooting at someone, a charge of brandishing is only brought if there isn’t a more severe crime that applies. If you wave a gun around before shooting someone, you’d likely be charged for the shooting rather than brandishing.

Stay Compliant With Nevada Gun Laws With The Range 702

A Range 702 instructor doing a 1:1 training.

Following Nevada’s firearm laws isn’t just about avoiding legal charges. It’s also important to ensure your safety and that of others.

At The Range 702, we’re proud to offer firearms safety and proficiency training, concealed carry permit classes, and concealed carry renewal classes. Learn more or sign up for a class with us today!


NRS 202.2544.

NRS 202.257.

NRS 202.265.

NRS 202.275.

NRS 202.277.

NRS 202.280.

NRS 202.285.

NRS 202.287.

NRS 202.290.

NRS 202.300.

NRS 202.310.

NRS 202.320.

NRS 202.350.

NRS 202.360.

NRS 202.3653.

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