In Wake of Las Vegas Shooting: Nevada Gun Control Laws

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 02, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Hours after Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of Las Vegas concertgoers, killing 58 and injuring over 500 more, his brother told reporters Paddock was "not an avid gun guy at all." "Where the hell did he get automatic weapons," Eric Paddock told CBS News. "He has no military background or anything like that."

Police discovered at least 10 guns in the Mandalay Bay hotel room from which Paddock shot, including .223 caliber and .308 caliber assault rifles. Investigators believe all of the weapons were purchased legally, although initial reports suggest some of the rifles used may have been altered to function as automatic weapons. Here's a look at Nevada's gun control laws, which may have governed the sale and possession of those weapons.

State Gun Laws

Nevada has some of the most relaxed gun control laws in the country. The state has "limited authority" to regulate firearms, meaning it does not require permits, firearm registration, or owner licenses for gun owners. Nevada is an open carry state, but carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun inside a vehicle on or along a public road remains illegal. Additionally, Nevada is a "shall issue" state, which requires concealed carry permits to be issued to all qualified applicants age 21 and older.

While convicted felons in Nevada can have their right to own and possess firearms revoked, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said the department had no "derogatory information" about Paddock prior to the shooting.

State and Federal Gun Laws

High-caliber automatic weapons like the ones used by Paddock were previously prohibited under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but the law expired in 2004. Last year, Nevada passed an initiative to require background checks for private-party gun sales and transfers, but there's just one problem. The law required the background checks to be done by the FBI, a request federal authorities politely declined, making the new regulation unenforceable.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard