Possession and control of firearms by certain persons

The unlawful possession of a firearm by someone who falls into the legally defined category of being specifically prohibited from owning or possessing a gun is a very serious offense. Anyone who has been charged with the alleged crime of ownership, possession, and control of firearms by certain persons should seek the counsel of an attorney who is very familiar with gun laws in Nevada.

Under the recently passed Senate Bill 124, which went into effect on October 1, 2017, there have been some amendments to the Nevada Revised Statutes that concern the ownership, possession, and control of firearms by certain persons. The information compiled below will provide a definition of this charge, as well as the penalties for conviction and commonly used defenses, and is intended to convey the updated versions of the regulations that apply to the existing Nevada Revised Statutes related to crimes of this nature.


What is Meant by the Term ‘Certain Persons’?

As defined in NRS 202.360, the people who are prohibited from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm in the state of Nevada are the following:

●      A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in any state.

●      A person who has been convicted of a felony in any state, in any political subdivision thereof or of a felony that is in violation of the laws of the USA, unless that person has received a pardon which does not restrict his or her right to bear arms.

●      A person who has been convicted of stalking (per NRS 200.575 or similar laws in other states).

●      A person who currently has an extended protective order placed on them for domestic violence which includes terms prohibiting them from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm in any state.

●      A fugitive from justice.

●      A person who has been judged to be mentally ill or who has been committed to a mental health facility.

●      A person who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.

●      A person who is an unlawful user or addict of a controlled substance.

It is also important to note that this applies to any firearm, even those that are not loaded or operable.


Conditions Regarding the Temporary or Permanent Surrender of Firearms

The court has the authority to include a requirement in an extended order for protection against domestic violence that the adverse party surrender, sell or transfer ownership of any firearm they either own or have in their possession or control. They will be prohibited from having a firearm as long as the protective order is in effect. Furthermore, all convictions of battery which constitute domestic violence or convictions of stalking (NRS 33.018) will result in the permanent surrender, sale or transfer of firearms.

As detailed in NRS 33.033, a court order to surrender, sell or transfer firearms as part of an extended protective order against domestic violence gives the adverse party 24 hours from the time the order is served to do the following:

●      Surrender their firearms to the local law enforcement agency that will be designated in the protective order and present the detailed receipt of the firearms surrendered provided by the agency to the court. This receipt must be presented no later than 72 hours or 1 business day from issuance.

●      Sell or transfer any firearm in their possession or control to a licensed firearm dealer and present the detailed receipt of the firearms sold or transferred (either permanently or temporarily) provided to them by the dealer to the court and to local law enforcement no later than 72 hours or 1 business day from issuance.

●      Submit an affidavit informing the court that they have no firearms to surrender and acknowledging that failure to surrender, sell or transfer their firearms will be a violation of the order.


Penalties for Unlawful Ownership, Possession or Control of a Firearm by Certain Persons

The penalties for a conviction of this charge vary depending on the circumstances specific to the crime.

A conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a person prohibited from owning or controlling one due to a conviction for stalking or who has been convicted of battery constituting domestic violence is a category B felony. The penalties are as follows:

●      From 1 to 6 years in state prison

●      Possible fines of up to $5,000

A conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a person prohibited from owning or controlling one due to a prior adjudication of mental illness, an acquittal by reason of insanity or who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States is a category D felony. The penalties are as follows:

●      From 1 to 4 years in state prison

●      Possible fines of up to $5,000

A conviction for the violation of a protective order that required the surrender, sale or ownership transfer of a firearm is a category B felony. The penalties are as follows:

●      From 1 to 6 years in state prison

●      Possible fines of up to $5,000


Defenses for Charges of Unlawful Ownership, Possession or Control of a Firearm

The following may be useful in building a defense against an alleged crime of this nature, though the specifics of individual cases will have to be taken into consideration in order for these to be properly applied.

●      Insufficient Evidence that the person in question has violated the terms of their sentence in regards to possession or ownership of a firearm.

●      No Actual Possession or Ownership of a firearm by the prohibited person.  This typically applies to situations in which the person in question was in the presence of a firearm that they were not aware of and which is not in their ownership, possession or control.

●      Unlawful Search by Law Enforcement attempting to locate a firearm suspected to be in the possession of the person in question.

If you or someone you care about has been charged with unlawful ownership or possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, you will need the assistance of an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in the most current version of the laws that relate to this alleged crime. If you are interested in speaking to someone about your possible legal options, we invite you to contact our offices today for a free case evaluation. We want to hear your side of the story.


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