Is it Legal to Carry a Knife in Nevada?

Unlike the state of California, Nevada has very few laws on the books regulating the possession and use of knives. Generally speaking, it is completely legal to carry knives in the state of Nevada. There are, however, four main exceptions to this general rule.

First, it is against Nevada law to carry a concealed machete or other deadly or dangerous weapon without having a proper carrying concealed weapons (CCW) permit. Second, Clark County makes  it illegal to conceal carry a knife that has a blade of three inches or more unless the individual has written permission from the sheriff. Third, Nevada law prohibits individuals from possessing daggers, dirks, or switchblades at child care facilities, schools, and state-run universities. Finally, it is against the law in Nevada to brandish swords, dirks, or other deadly weapons in a threatening or rude manner in front of two or more individuals.

Nevada Concealed Weapon Laws

State law requires anyone in Nevada who wishes to carry a concealed weapon that is a machete or other dangerous or deadly weapon to obtain a carrying concealed weapons (CCW) permit. Nevada law does not expressly define what types of knives - aside from machetes - are considered “dangerous” or “deadly.” That being said, the law does indicate that these types of weapons may include dirks, dirk-knives, swords, sword canes, daggers, and switchblades. Of note, a knife is considered “concealed” if the possessor is carrying it in a way that is meant to go unseen or unnoticed. Some examples of what would be considered “concealed” include carrying the weapon in a pocket, inside a bag, or under a jacket.

Possible Penalties in Nevada

The penalty for violating Nevada knife law is dependent upon the particular charges made against the accused. Penalties for a first offense for carrying a concealed knife without a CCW permit is up to 364 days in jail and/or a monetary fine of up to $2,000. Penalties for a first offense of possessing a knife at school is the same. Both of these crimes are considered gross misdemeanors. Penalties for a first offense for brandishing a knife, a misdemeanor charge,  include up to six months in jail and/or a monetary fine of up to $1,000.

Common Defenses

There are several common defenses to Nevada knife crimes, although the defense used will depend on the charges and the facts of the case. These defenses include that the blade was less than three inches long, the weapon was not concealed, the weapon was allowed on school property, and the defendant brandished the weapon in compliance with state self-defense laws. Of note, as long as the state prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, any Nevada criminal charges should be dropped.

As can be seen from the discussion above, Nevada knife laws can be complicated, and there are not many of them. Generally, it is not illegal to carry a knife in the state but if your knife or weapon of choice falls under one of the four exceptions, you are likely breaking the law. Contact the Nevada attorneys at Parry & Pfau if you have any other legal questions.

(image courtesy of Yaroslav Orshikov)