Why I think carry of a firearm in a protective case without a permit is a big deal under Nevada law:
- Under NRS 202.350, it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon.
- The definition under NRS 202.350, which creates the criminal penalty, the definition of a concealed weapon includes a weapon carried "upon a person in such
a manner as not to be discernible to ordinary observation." NRS 202.350(1) states "except as otherwise provided by ... NRS 202.3653 to 202.369"
- NRS 202.3653 to NRS 202.369 provide for a concealed firearm permit.
- NRS 202.3653 defines a "concealed firearm" to include a "loaded or unloaded, pistol, revolver, or other firearm." This indicates that a concealed firearm
permit, which pertains to "concealed firearms," pertains specifically to unloaded firearms as well as loaded ones. It seems probable to me that even an unloaded firearm carried concealed without a permit constitutes a violation of NRS 202.350
- Attorney General Opinion AG 93-14 indicates that, at least at the time the opinion
was written, that the state was likely to prosecute someone carrying a firearm in a case held in the hand, if the case contained a firearm.
- Cases come in many styles. Some cases are shaped like guns and many can tell what they are just by looking.
- With a gun in an obvious gun case it seems to me that one might argue that the firearm is discernible to ordinary observation... however,
I think many people do not know what a gun case looks like, including the people likely to be on a jury, and even if the case is a gun case it seems to me
that one could still argue that the case is still too generic and too much doubt exists about the contents for the firearm to be considered discernible to ordinary observation.
- Other gun cases are not discernible at all. For instance, the case my AT-22 came in is a very discreet looking carry case.
Feather AT-22 case:
- Some cases designed to carry guns are also specifically designed to not attract attention to themselves, like the Sneakybags brand.
- Additionally, many people adapt containers other than cases specifically designed for guns to carry guns with. For instance, I've heard of people putting a folded Kel-Tec Sub2000 in Laptop bags, briefcases, etc.
- In fact, it is quite common for people to put a regular handgun case inside of their backpack... so even if the case was considered discernible as a firearm before, it probably would not be
any longer once the case is put into the bag.
- Also, if you watch people exit gunshows, they commonly are given opaque bags at the door to transport their handguns out.
- I seem to recall a few years ago reading a news article about a person in Las Vegas who was arrested at hotel check-in, for having a firearm in a case in his luggage. But I might have been mistaken.
I can't remember the circumstances, but I thought maybe this person was near a public official. I searched and could not find any article about it. I might have actually been thinking about Jerry Lewis.
Jerry Lewis was charged for carrying a concealed firearm in his luggage at the airport. See this article.
Another airline passenger was also charged with violating the law with a firearm in a locked case. ( See this article. ) Granted, under the circumstances, other charges may have applied,
but charges were filed under state law for carrying a concealed firearm, despite being unloaded and encased.
- It seems to me unlikely that a police officer would wait outside of a gun store or gun show to catch people who had a gun in a container right after they purchased it.
However, it seems to me that many officers would charge a person with carrying a concealed firearm if they found them in a different public place with an encased firearm in their hands or in their backpack. In either case, the law is the same, it is only selective enforcement that saves many from a felony charge.
- An officer holding anti-gun beliefs may be less likely to show leniency, especially for a gun that they view as particularly "frightening,"
or when they do not like the person they stopped.
- The testimony of the Nevada Sheriffs' And Chiefs' Association at the the hearing for SB76 revealed that they are mainly interested in
the bill passing because they have had issues with permit holders carrying semi-automatic short barreled rifles. I do not know the circumstances involved
but it appears to illustrate the desire that the police have to enforce the concealed firearms law against people with rifles.
It seems unlikely to me that the same people desiring this change in the law would hesitate to arrest someone who was carrying a semi-automatic rifle in a case in public without a permit,
especially one powerful enough to penetrate their vests. I think that is the angle they are seeing it from. If they had it their way, they'd probably prefer nobody
could own such guns at all. They may be thinking about rifles under coats, I do not know. But my guess is that a person carrying such a rifle
in a bag like the Sneakybag is most likely to be prosecuted, especially if found in a public place. In a typical rifle case that most can recognize, conviction may be less likely
but also it would potentially provide increased likelihood of an encounter with the police to begin with under "suspicious" circumstances. Possession of a rifle in a case in a building on a higher floor, might be an example. One might just be innocently bringing their gun to their hotel room, but the police might see it as a person trying to bring a "sniper rifle" to a high place.
- I can only guess the circumstances and likelihood that someone with innocent intentions might end up being a victim of of selective enforcement, but I'd much prefer if there was no option to prosecute people.
- SB137 would remedy all of these concerns, but that bill seems unlikely to pass.
March 2, 2013