Nevada Knife Laws: What You Need to Know

The Essentials

Legal to Carry Openly or Concealed

  • Any knife of any kind except a machete, see below for details

Nevada Knife Law Overview

Nevada is a state with extremely knife friendly laws; you can carry almost any kind of knife you want, any length, any style, any action, concealed or openly, and take them almost anywhere.

Nevada flag

What a boon considering California is right next door. There is only one fly in the ointment- there is no statewide preemption! That means you’ll have to deal with a fair amount of city and county laws that do exist in the state.

That unfortunate bit notwithstanding, you can do a hell of a lot worse than the Silver State. We’ll have a look at their knife laws, or rather the lack thereof, below.

Relevant Nevada State Statutes Covering Use and Ownership of Knives

  • Nevada State Constitution, Article 1 Section 11
  • 202.265 – Possession of Weapons on School Property
  • 202.310 – Sale of firearms to minors
  • 202.350 – Possession of dangerous weapons; carry of concealed weapons

Nevada is another state that boldly professes their citizens’ rights to go about armed if they please, and codifies such in the State Constitution in no uncertain terms, stating the following in Article 1, Section 11:

“Right to Keep and Bear Arms; Civil Power Supreme

1. Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.

2. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power; No standing army shall be maintained by this State in time of peace, and in time of War, no appropriation for a standing army shall be for a longer time than two years.”

I’m glad to see most states, including Nevada, have enshrined in their own constitutions this right. At the outset, such a strong declaration is indicative of Nevada’s attitude on the matter of self-defense and the bearing of arms, including knives.

Moving on to 202.350, we get to the heart of the state statutes concerning knives and concealed weapons. You’ll notice there is precious little in the way of definitions or restrictions on knives, which we should all be thankful for, but what is there is a little on the vague side. We’ll discuss those small concerns after the break:

NRS 202.350 – Manufacture, importation, possession or use of dangerous weapon or silencer; carrying concealed weapon without permit; penalties; issuance of permit to carry concealed weapon; exceptions.

1. Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, a person within this State shall not:

(a) Manufacture or cause to be manufactured, or import into the State, or keep, offer or expose for sale, or give, lend or possess any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag or metal knuckles;

(b) Manufacture or cause to be manufactured, or import into the State, or keep, offer or expose for sale, or give, lend, possess or use a machine gun or a silencer, unless authorized by federal law;

(c) With the intent to inflict harm upon the person of another, possess or use a nunchaku or trefoil; or

(d) Carry concealed upon his or her person any:

(1) Explosive substance, other than ammunition or any components thereof;

(2) Machete; or

(3) Pistol, revolver or other firearm, other dangerous or deadly weapon or pneumatic gun.

2. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 202.275 and 212.185, a person who violates any of the provisions of:

(a) Paragraph (a) or (c) or subparagraph (2) of paragraph (d) of subsection 1 is guilty:

(1) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

(2) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

(b) Paragraph (b) or subparagraph (1) or (3) of paragraph (d) of subsection 1 is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

3. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the sheriff of any county may, upon written application by a resident of that county showing the reason or the purpose for which a concealed weapon is to be carried, issue a permit authorizing the applicant to carry in this State the concealed weapon described in the permit.

This subsection does not authorize the sheriff to issue a permit to a person to carry a pistol, revolver or other firearm.

4. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, this section does not apply to:

(a) Sheriffs, constables, marshals, peace officers, correctional officers employed by the Department of Corrections, special police officers, police officers of this State, whether active or honorably retired, or other appointed officers.

(b) Any person summoned by any peace officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person so summoned is actually engaged in assisting such an officer.

(c) Any full-time paid peace officer of an agency of the United States or another state or political subdivision thereof when carrying out official duties in the State of Nevada.

(d) Members of the Armed Forces of the United States when on duty.

The exemptions provided in subsection 4 do not include a former peace officer who is retired for disability unless his or her former employer has approved his or her fitness to carry a concealed weapon.

The provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection 1 do not apply to any person who is licensed, authorized or permitted to possess or use a machine gun or silencer pursuant to federal law.

The burden of establishing federal licensure, authorization or permission is upon the person possessing the license, authorization or permission.

8. As used in this section:

(a) “Concealed weapon” means a weapon described in this section that is carried upon a person in such a manner as not to be discernible by ordinary observation.

(b) “Honorably retired” means retired in Nevada after completion of 10 years of creditable service as a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement System. A former peace officer is not “honorably retired” if he or she was discharged for cause or resigned before the final disposition of allegations of serious misconduct.

(f) “Qualified law enforcement officer” has the meaning ascribed to it in 18 U.S.C. § 926B(c).

(g) “Qualified retired law enforcement officer” has the meaning ascribed to it in 18 U.S.C. § 926C(c).

(i) “Trefoil” means an instrument consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with sharp edges, designed in the shape of a star, cross or other geometric figure and used as a weapon for throwing.

Reading the above passages, the only bladed implements named are machetes and trefoils, which is an odd-duck choice of terms to describe a throwing star, or shuriken.

Technically, both are legal out of the gate; you cannot conceal a machete, and you cannot possess “trefoils” with intent to harm another.

Machetes are of little use for a concealed carrier since they are so long they are slow to bring to bear from concealment, but you might want to take care if you plan to concealed carry any other large, fixed blade knife, especially one designed for chopping, ala a parang, bolo or kukri.

The technical definition of “machete” is found nowhere in the statutes, nor is any definition for the purposes of the section, and so the broader definition could be used against you: a large, fixed blade knife for chopping or slashing.

Interestingly, you may petition the sheriff of the county you are in to issue you a permit for carry of a machete specifically. While, again, probably only a curiosity for most knife-carriers it is an option if one so desires, and for those who insist on carrying a large fixed blade suitable for fighting (bowie, anyone?) it is probably a good idea to do so.

Violation of any of the parts of this statute pertinent to bladed weapons will net you a gross misdemeanor and attendant charges.

Another curiosity missing from most states: it seems Nevada has no law against the sale, gifting or transfer of knives of any kind to minor, the relevant statute, 202.310 only mentioning guns:

NRS 202.310 – Sale of firearms to minors; penalty.

Any person in this state who sells or barters to a child who is under the age of 18 years, with reckless disregard of whether the child is under the age of 18 years, or with knowledge or reason to know that the child is under the age of 18 years, a pistol, revolver or a firearm capable of being concealed upon the person is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

No-Go Zones

Schools, as always, and child care facilities (daycares, etc.). This includes public and private schools, and any vehicles that belong to and service either.

You can obtain permission from the school president or the operator of the child care facility to carry your weapon, however, if you wish to plead your case.

NRS 202.265 – Possession of dangerous weapon on property or in vehicle of school or child care facility; penalty; exceptions.

1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not carry or possess while on the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, a private or public school or child care facility, or while in a vehicle of a private or public school or child care facility:

(a) An explosive or incendiary device;

(b) A dirk, dagger or switchblade knife;

(c) A nunchaku or trefoil;

(d) A blackjack or billy club or metal knuckles;

2. Any person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

3. This section does not prohibit the possession of a weapon listed in subsection 1 on the property of:

(a) A private or public school or child care facility by a:

(1) Peace officer;

(2) School security guard; or

(3) Person having written permission from the president of a branch or facility of the Nevada System of Higher Education or the principal of the school or the person designated by a child care facility to give permission to carry or possess the weapon.

(b) A child care facility which is located at or in the home of a natural person by the person who owns or operates the facility so long as the person resides in the home and the person complies with any laws governing the possession of such a weapon.

The provisions of this section apply to a child care facility located at or in the home of a natural person only during the normal hours of business of the facility.

5. For the purposes of this section:

(a) “Child care facility” means any child care facility that is licensed pursuant to chapter 432A of NRS or licensed by a city or county.

(b) “Nunchaku” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.350.

(d) “Switchblade knife” means a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife or any other knife having the appearance of a pocketknife, any blade of which is 2 or more inches long and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle or other mechanical device, or is released by any type of mechanism.

The term does not include a knife which has a blade that is held in place by a spring if the blade does not have any type of automatic release.

(e) “Trefoil” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.350.

(f) “Vehicle” has the meaning ascribed to “school bus” in NRS 484A.230.

Note in the above statute that switchblades, trefoils (throwing stars), dirks, and daggers are specifically forbidden. It begs the question if common folding pocketknives of various makes are, or fixed blade knives that are not dirks or daggers are.

Since the statutes do not otherwise have any definition of dirk or dagger, one must be concerned that the widest possible interpretation could snare you if one wanted to be cute and carry an “allowed” knife design and got caught.

Switchblades are defined in the above statute, but are so broadly interpreted that assisted opening knives, otherwise legal in Nevada, are assuredly forbidden from being on school property and vehicles. Whatever you decide to do, don’t carry your assisted opening knife to a school!

Preemption

None, and all the poorer for it. Despite the state’s strongly pro-2nd Amendment laws, the same cannot be said to apply equally everywhere, as several cities and counties in Nevada have their own laws governing knives, Las Vegas and Reno topping the list.

Some of these local laws include prohibition by length or type, so you’ll need to double check all the places where you work, live or travel in the state to make sure you stay legal.

Bottom Line

Nevada is an extremely pro-knife state, with state-level restrictions only on two types of bladed implements assuming you are not attempting to carry them on school property.

This is marred somewhat by a lack of statewide preemption, sadly, and a resultant mish-mash of various local laws which might invalidate otherwise sensible and legal knife choices.

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