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CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM OR ILLEGAL WEAPON

Nevada allows residents to carry concealed firearms if they have the proper permit, but other individuals who carry a concealed firearm or other weapon could face serious criminal charges.

NRS 202.350 sets out prohibitions against the manufacture, importation, possession or use of certain "dangerous weapons" and silencers, and further prohibits the concealed carry of other weapons.

POSSESSION OR MANUFACTURE OF CERTAIN ILLEGAL WEAPONS

NRS 202.350(1)(a) prohibits individuals in Nevada from possessing, manufacturing, importing into the state, holding out for sale, or giving or lending any of the following weapons:

  • Belt buckle knife: A belt buckle knife is any bladed weapon that is concealed as a belt buckle. To view a picture of a belt buckle knife, click here.
  • Switchblade knife: Nevada law defines a "switchblade knife" as a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, or any pocketknife with a two inch or longer blade that can be released automatically. A switchblade knife is not a knife which has a blade held in place by a spring if the blade does not have any type of automatic release. To view a picture of a switchblade, click here.
  • Blackjack: A blackjack is a small clubbing weapon which consists of a metal weight connected to a leather handle or strap. To view a picture of a blackjack, click here.
  • Slungshot: A slungshot, not to be confused with a slingshot, is a weight attached to the end of a long cord. To view a picture of a slungshot, click here. [http://www.gatling-gun.com/images/Monkey_Fist_Slungshot_cc.jpg]
  • Billy: A billy club, otherwise known as a truncheon or baton, can refer to any short club made of wood, plastic, or metal.
  • Sand-club/sandbag: A sack of sand used as an improvised blackjack.
  • Metal knuckles: Commonly known as "brass knuckles," this weapon consists of a band of metal with four finger holes and a metal bar. It is worn over the user's knuckles to increase the damage inflicted by a punch. To view a picture of metal knuckles, click here.

Regarding the above weapons, there are certain exceptions for peace officers, active military, and weapons manufacturers who have applied for and received specific permits. These are limited exceptions, however, and will not apply to the vast majority of individuals who are charged under this statute.

Unless otherwise authorized to do so under federal law, NRS 202.350(1)(b) prohibits individuals in Nevada from possessing, manufacturing, importing into the state, holding out for sale, or giving or lending any of the following weapons:

  • Machine gun: Nevada law defines a machine gun as "any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger." In other words, a machine gun is any firearm that can fire multiple shots with only a single trigger pull.
  • Silencer: Also known as a "suppressor," a silencer attaches to the barrel of a firearm and reduces the amount of noise when the weapon is fired. Nevada law defines a silcencer as "any device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer or muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication." To view a picture of firearms affixed with silencers, click here.

Note that the above, machine guns and silencers, are prohibited under Nevada law unless they are not prohibited under federal law.

NRS 202.350(1)(c) prohibits individuals from possessing the following weapons, but only if the individual possessing the weapon has "the intent to inflict harm" on another person:

  • Nunchaku: Commonly known as "nunchucks," this weapon is defined by Nevada law as "an instrument consisting of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods connected by a rope, cord, wire or chain used as a weapon in forms of Oriental combat." For a picture of nunchaku, click here.
  • Trefoil: Otherwise known as a "throwing star," "ninja star," or "shuriken," this weapon is defined by Nevada law as "an instrument consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with sharp edges, designed in the shape of a star, cross or other geometric figure and used as a weapon for throwing" To view a picture of a trefoil, click here.

ILLEGAL CONCEALED CARRY OF GUNS AND OTHER WEAPONS

Please note that it is illegal to possess or manufacture any of the weapons listed above whether or not the weapons are concealed. The following weapons are illegal to carry concealed. In particular, NRS 202.350(1)(d) prohibits individuals from carrying any of the following weapons concealed on their persons:

  • Explosive substances (other than ammunition);
  • A dirk, dagger or machete:
  • A firearm;
  • A belt buckle knife;
  • Any "other dangerous or deadly weapon."

In the context of firearms, Nevada law defines a "concealed weapon" as any "loaded or unloaded pistol, revolver or other firearm which is carried upon a person in such a manner as not to be discernible by ordinary observation."

NRS 202.265(5)(b) defines a "firearm" as follows: "any device from which a metallic projectile, including any ball bearing or pellet, may be expelled by means of spring, gas, air or other force." This includes BB guns, according to a 2009 Nevada Supreme Court case called Funderburk v. State.

For the purposes of this section, a "deadly weapon" is defined by Nevada law as either:

  1. Any instrument which, if used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its design and construction, will or is likely to cause substantial bodily harm or death; or
  2. Any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death.

POTENTIAL PENALTIES

The potential punishment you face if convicted of any of the charges above varies considerably, so read the following carefully.

A violation of NRS 202.350(1)(b) (i.e. possession of machine guns and silencers not authorized by federal law) is a category C felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in a Nevada prison or a $10,000 fine.

A violation of NRS 202.350(d)(1) and (3) (i.e. concealed carry of a firearm, explosive substance, or "other deadly weapon") is also a category C felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in a Nevada prison or a $10,000 fine.

Every other violation of the above laws—for a first offense—is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a $2,000 fine. A second, third, or any subsequent conviction is a category D felony, punishable by 1 to 4 years in Nevada state prison and a $5,000 fine.

DEFENDING ILLEGAL WEAPONS CHARGES

As outlined above, any of the above offenses is serious, and can result in a jail or prison sentence. Potential defenses to the above crimes will vary considerably depending upon the particular facts of the case. In every case, however, the prosecutor must prove every element of every offense beyond a reasonable doubt before obtaining a conviction. But even when the evidence of guilt is strong, a good criminal defense attorney will often be able to avoid many of the harsh consequences of a conviction by reaching a favorable deal with the prosecutor. Therefore, individuals who are charged with these crimes should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

I have represented many individuals accused of weapons crimes in Las Vegas and throughout Clark County, Nevada. So if you or someone you care about has been charged with any of the above crimes, call me directly for a free consultation, and we'll start talking immediately.

By Michael Pandullo

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