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Consequences of Felon Firearm Possession

Brian J Smith Aug. 20, 2012

Once a person has had a felony conviction on record in Nevada, it is illegal for him or her to possess firearms. The penalties for this offense are high fines and possible imprisonment. [intlink id=”30″ type=”page”]A criminal defense lawyer in Nevada[/intlink] may be able to favorably negotiate a resolution to help the accused avoid a conviction in [intlink id=”1368″ type=”post”]a felon firearm possession case[/intlink].

In Nevada, it is a crime for a person who had been previously had a felony conviction to possess, own, control, or have custody of a firearm. Whether or not the felony happened in Nevada does not matter. Also, it does not make a difference if the gun is inoperable or unloaded. In Nevada, the only way a convicted felon can legally bear arms is if the person has been pardoned by the state.


If an ex-felon becomes a defendant in [intlink id=”41″ type=”category”]a trial for firearm possession[/intlink], the prosecution may submit evidence that shows the defendant’s past history of a felony is a fact, but the nature of the felony may not be presented. This is to prevent the jury from becoming prejudiced by the past actions of the defendant.

In a case where a defendant is accused of several crimes that includes felon firearm possession, the person may have two separate trials. This is done so that the unrelated charges can be fought without hindering or prejudicing his or her defense with the ex-felon charge.

Related Firearm Offenses

In Nevada, it is illegal for an individual to own or possess a firearm in the following situations:

  • He or she is a fugitive

  • He or she is addicted to or unlawfully uses a controlled substance, or

  • He or she has been committed to a mental health facility or determined to be mentally ill

  • Someone who has entered unlawfully or illegally into the United States

Recently the Nevada Supreme Court ruled this is a vague law regarding the defendants. Therefore, prosecutors in Las Vegas will probably not press charges in any new cases against fugitives just because he or she possesses a firearm.

Nevada vs. Federal Law

Federal law prohibits felon firearm possession the same as Nevada law. Firearm possession is also prohibited under Federal law for anyone with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. The penalty carries a ten year prison sentence and/or a fine.


Depending on the circumstances, some defenses are more effective for fighting against allegations of violating NRS 020.360. A defense lawyer in Nevada may use the following common strategies:

  • No possession or ownership

  • Insufficient evidence

  • Illegal Search

Take note that arguing the accused was within his or her rights under the constitution to bear arms or that he or she meant no harm, is not a defense.


In Nevada, felon firearm possession in Las Vegas is a category B felony. Under NRS 202.230 the punishment is:

  • Up to six years in Nevada State Prison, and

  • Possible fine of up to $5,000

The judge who sentences the accused may take various other circumstances into consideration.