Unfortunately, a serious felony may jeopardize one’s right to own and bear arms, according to Nevada law.
Remember, it takes only two seconds during a heated argument to suddenly be labeled a felon. Let’s look at what laws say about felons, firearms, criminal defense needed to restore those rights and the potential to own arms again.
Firearms and felonies in Nevada
Under Nevada Revised Statutes 202.360, felons or persons with felony warrants are barred from owning or possessing firearms once adjudicated a felon. This means even federal or state charges where the sentence exceeded 30 days, a $1,000 fine, or both. Juveniles who were charged in adult court are included in this section of law.
As with most laws, technicalities and exceptions do apply. Rights are not guaranteed to be lost, much like they’re not guaranteed to be restored. Once your rights are stripped, you can have nothing to do with firearms or weapons of any kind. This includes losing the right to go to a gun range, buying ammo for someone, owning black powder or salt rock projectiles – nothing.
Penalties if felons are caught with guns
Any felon caught in possession of weapons of any type could be charged with a Category B felony. Las Vegas penalizes Category B felonies with a minimum of 1 year in prison but as many as 6 years in state prison. Surrendering your firearm may be required; if the defendant is an immigrant, deportation is imminent. Young persons who possess firearms after being charged with any crime may be charged as an adult.
If the weapon was used during the commission of a new felony, the sentence you receive could be enhanced under Nevada law. Clark County is growing progressively tougher on violent criminals, making it difficult to possess any weapon if you have previously committed a white collar or violent offense.
Restoration of gun rights in Nevada
Felons who received a sentenced involving firearms will find it difficult to restore their rights. That said, certain felonies may be reduced to misdemeanors so gun rights are restored. To get rights restored, you need to either:
- Reduce the underlying offense to a misdemeanor, then expunge the record; or,
- Request a Governor’s Pardon for your crimes; or,
- If your job requires possessing a firearm, petition the court for restoration.
All the above require skilled criminal defense attorney help since laws favor the state, not the felon. Remember, you often have one shot to restore these rights; get your affairs in order, pay off fines and fees, and prove you’re a law-abiding citizen for several years prior to petitioning.
Mentally ill persons, and those who entered the United States unlawfully will never own firearms until they have been medically cleared, or receive U.S. citizenship.
Guns are a privilege, not a right in Nevada
Owning, brandishing or using weapons in Nevada is guaranteed only to lawful citizens within the state. Those who violate laws jeopardize their right to own any weapon, let alone guns. Responsible gun owners who committed felony crimes who wish to restore their rights have options, although retaining an attorney is highly suggested given the complexity of restoring ownership rights.
Being adjudicated a felon does not preclude you from ever owning a gun. Make sure you avoid possessing any type of weapon, including those which project black powder or other nonlethal ammunition, until you have reduced or expunged your felonies.