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DUI While Visiting Las Vegas

The federal and state laws regarding the unlawful distribution of firearms are very specific. Many people have been arrested and prosecuted for violating these laws. The penalties for this type of charge can be severe and include state prison time, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record. 

Nevada administration takes violations of firearms laws seriously, especially in light of the recent deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas. However, if you have been charged with unlawful distribution of firearms in Las Vegas, you still have rights under Nevada law.

However, navigating the court systems can be challenging. A Las Vegas Criminal defense attorney from our law firm can help you understand the legal consequences of the charge and discuss your case to learn the possible defenses. 

Possession of Firearms in Las Vegas

Nevada does not require a permit to own a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. However, local governments may issue their own regulations on the discharge of firearms within their boundaries.

People with a valid Nevada license to carry concealed weapons can have their guns in their vehicles in plain view or concealed while driving through Las Vegas. People over 18 years of age may possess any kind of semi-automatic gun other than machine guns (NRS 202.300). However, federal law prohibits possession of armor-piercing ammunition. 

Under Nevada law, the following categories of people are not allowed to own a gun in Las Vegas: 

  • Those convicted of a felony
  • Those addicted to controlled substances
  • Those convicted of acts of violence
  • Those not lawfully residing in the US
  • Fugitives
  • Those who are mentally ill
  • Those with any restraining order
  • Minors (anyone under the age of 18)

However, the law does allow an exception for a minor to possess a firearm under the supervision of the parent or guardian. 

In Las Vegas, guns are prohibited in certain places, including:

  • Public schools
  • Legislative buildings
  • Law enforcement agency facilities
  • Childcare facilities
  • Courthouses and courtrooms

Additionally, the federal law prohibits the carrying of weapons in the following facilities:

  • Post offices
  • Social Security offices
  • Military bases (unless authorized)
  • VA facilities
  • Airports beyond TSA checkpoints
  • Federal courthouses

The law doesn’t prohibit carrying weapons in private properties, such as restaurants and casinos. However, the property owner has a right to request you to remove the firearm from their property. If you don’t comply when asked, you may be charged with trespass.

Sale and Distribution of Firearms in Las Vegas

Federal law requires that to transfer a gun, you must register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to obtain a valid permit. The process is easy and usually comes with a $200 excise tax.

In Nevada, the would-be gun owners must submit a thorough background check for gun purchases and transfers. This is according to Senate Bill 143 (2019), signed into law by the Nevada Governor. Businesses involving firearms are regulated by NRS 202.350.

In addition, anyone who has passed background checks is eligible to transfer a firearm. However, permanent transfers apply to family members only, including spouses, children, and grandparents, “whether by whole or half-blood, adoption, or step-relation.”

Nevada law also allows the temporary transfer of guns. Situations that may warrant temporary transfer include: 

  • When faced with imminent danger of death or great bodily harm
  • When competing in a shooting competition
  • During a public performance with firearms as part of the game 
  • When legally hunting or trapping 

However, these situations don’t overrule federal law. If one can’t own a gun legally, these situations are no longer applicable. 

Charges for Unlawful Distribution and Sale of Firearms

In Las Vegas, it is illegal to sell or distribute firearms without a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). A person who willfully engages in the firearms business unlicensed is guilty under federal law and can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines.

Secondly, there are penalties for violating the Background Check Act. The first offense violating amounts to a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a one year in prison and/or fines up to $2,000. The second crime would land you in jail for up to five years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

If a minor is found to be in possession of a firearm, the adult who sold or transferred the gun is guilty of a category B felony. In Nevada, this category carries up to six years in state prison and fines not exceeding $5,000.

Carrying a concealed handgun in the state of Las Vegas with no valid CCW permit is a category C felony. The crime carries up to 5 years imprisonment in Nevada State Prison and/or fines not exceeding $10,000 (NRS 202.350)

The penalties for these crimes are severe. However, there are defenses available for those charged. A Nevada criminal defense lawyer can fight your charges, possibly even helping you avoid serious consequences like prison time or permanent criminal records.

Defenses for Unlawful Distribution and Sale of Firearms 

The defenses used to fight charges for unlawfully distributing or selling firearms will depend on the facts of each case. However, several common defenses may be effective when fighting such charges:

Temporary Transfer

A temporary transfer may occur if you know that the person receiving the firearm intends to use it for the rightful purpose. You must have reasonable cause to believe that the person borrowing your gun will not use it unlawfully while in their possession. 

Imminent Danger

If you give your friend your handgun because he was afraid for his life from an angry person who had been stalking him, this could be a valid defense. An individual can use self-defense as a defense in the face of imminent danger. Self-defense applies only when someone believes that their life is in danger. 

Used for Legal Hunting

A firearm used by an individual while hunting can also be considered an exempted situation from the unlawful distribution of firearms charges. However, this exemption only applies when the person has valid hunting licenses and uses the weapon for legal hunting purposes only.

No Knowledge of the Ill Intentions of Buyer

If you sell or deliver a firearm to another person, you may be able to avoid prosecution if you can show that you had no knowledge that your buyer intended to use the gun for criminal purposes. This defense will not work if you know your buyer intends to use the gun for illegal purposes.

For example, a man walks into a gun shop and asks to buy a handgun. He then purchases one after submitting background checks and getting approved. The buyer later engages in a shooting causing injuries to other people. The owner could argue that he had no idea what his customer was going to do with his purchase and therefore did not act unlawfully when selling him the handgun. This defense would not likely work in cases where there were obvious signs of suspicion on the part of the buyer. 

Parental Consent to Sell to a Minor

A defendant may have had parental consent from the parent or legal guardian of a minor who was below 18 years old. This defense is typically upheld if there was a record verifying this consent.

How Can a Las Vegas Firearm Defense Lawyer Help?

If you have been arrested or charged with unlawful distribution or sales of firearms in Las Vegas, there are a lot of things a lawyer could do for you.

A Las Vegas firearm charge defense lawyer can help you understand the law and any potential defenses that may apply to your case, and ensure that police evidence against you is collected and handled properly during the investigation. Your Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can represent you at all court hearings and make sure that your constitutional rights are not violated. 

A conviction for unlawful sale and distribution of firearms can result in mandatory prison time and remain on your record for life. The prosecutor could want to make an example out of your case. However, a firearm defense attorney in Las Vegas could negotiate with the prosecution and fight to lessen the severity of the charges or have them dropped altogether. 

Contact a Las Vegas Firearm Charge Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with unlawful distribution and sales of firearms in Las Vegas, Nevada, you can contact a criminal defense attorney from our firm immediately. The charges carry serious consequences. Our lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group understand the importance of protecting your rights when facing such serious allegations.

Contact us today and let us get started with your charge. 

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