Under Nevada law, certain people are not allowed to possess firearms. In particular, NRS 202.360 makes it a crime for the following types of people to own or possess firearms: ex felons, fugitives from justice, illegal drug users, mentally ill persons, and illegal immigrants. Review the details related to these offenses below, as well as the possible punishments and potential defenses.
According to NRS 202.360(1)(a), an individual cannot be in possession of a firearm if they have ever been convicted of a felony offense, whether in state court or federal court. Nevada's ex-felon in possession statute doesn't have any time limit in regards to prior felonies. Essentially, once you are charged and convicted as a felon, you are always a felon. This is true unless you are granted a full pardon and restoration of your gun rights, which is extremely rare.
If you are accused of this, it is a category B felony, which can result in between 1 and 6 years in prison, as well as a $5,000 fine. Ex felon in possession of firearm may also be prosecuted federally. The possible penalties, as well as other aspects of the charge, are different in federal court and require separate analysis.
Several other types of people are not allowed to possess firearms under Nevada Law. A discussion of each class of "prohibited persons" follows.
A "fugitive from justice" may not own or possess a firearm in Nevada. A fugitive from justice is anyone who has fled from any state to avoid prosecution for criminal charges or to avoid testifying in a criminal matter. This crime is a category B felony, punishable by 1 to 6 years in Nevada prison and a fine of $5,000.
A person may not own or possess a firearm if they are addicted to drugs. For example, if a person is arrested in possession of a gun and illegal substances, they may be charged under this statute. It is considered a felony, carrying up to $5,000 in fines and up to 6 years in jail.
A person who has been identified as mentally ill or committed to a mental health facility may not own or possess a firearm under Nevada law. Any person falling into this class of prohibited person who possesses a firearm is guilty of a category D felony, which is punishable by 1 to 4 years in Nevada prison and a fine of $5,000.
A person who is "illegally or unlawfully in the United States" may not possess a firearm. Any illegal immigrant who possesses a firearm is guilty of a category D felony, which is punishable by 1 to 4 years in Nevada prison and a fine of $5,000.
Under NRS 202.362, it is a crime to sell or give away a firearm or ammunition to certain prohibited persons. The list of prohibited persons is similar, but not identical to the prohibited persons listed above.
It is illegal to sell or give away firearms to all of the previously mentioned "prohibited persons" except for one group: illegal drug users. In other words, it is a crime to sell or give away firearms to ex felons, fugitives from justice, the mentally ill and illegal immigrants, but it is not a crime to sell or give away firearms to illegal drug users.
Additionally, this law expands the group of prohibited persons to include not only those convicted of felonies, but those "under indictment" for a felony. An indictment is a charging document like a criminal complaint, and means that a person has been charged with one or more criminal offense.
To prove that a person has violated this statute, the prosecution must prove that the person who sold or disposed of the firearm did so with "actual knowledge" that the person receiving the firearm factually fell into one of the prohibited categories.
This offense is a category B felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of $10,000.
Defenses vary with the facts of each case, such as asserting that the accused wasn't actually in possession or illegal search and seizure occurred. Other prohibited persons firearms cases may be defended similarly.
Because defenses vary so much based upon the particular facts of each case, if you or someone you care about has been charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, you should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. Call me now for a free consultation.
By Michael Pandullo