Just to clear up any confusion about the universal background check law, which made private gun sales and transfers illegal effective January 2, 2020, let’s have a frank chat. There is still a lot of stupid, bad info floating around there.
To be legal, you must go to a licensed dealer (a gun store), also known as an FFL. That means a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). Some times they don’t have gun stores, but operate out of their homes or gun shows. But if you’re reading this article because you don’t know better, then you probably don’t know any kitchen table FFLs.
You see, the Nevada Legislature passed Universal Background Checks in 2019, known as SB 143. This was to replace Question 1 from 2016 which Attorney General Laxalt found to be unenforceable because the FBI wouldn’t run background checks.
Nevada requires all private gun sales and transfers to be done through a dealer who will call Carson City for a background check (the only except that will probably apply to you is giving a gun to a close relative).
But I have a CCW.
It doesn’t matter if you have a CCW. The background check requirement applies to everybody. You must transfer at a dealer and get a background check called into Carson City. Nevada government believes the CCW exemption does not apply to private sales.
Have Metro do the background check.
No, you can’t do the transfer at Metro. Metro doesn’t do background checks because they aren’t licensed firearm dealers...which is who the law requires to do the check. Clark County handgun registration (“blue cards”) went away in June of 2015, so Metro has no involvement here.
“Do the transfer at the police station.”
Would it be smart for a drug dealer to do a deal in the parking lot of a cop shop?
Walking into Metro and asking them to do a background check and transfer a gun isn’t illegal, it will just make you look stupid to the police. They will tell you to go to a deal. And heaven help you if an officer sees you hand it off in the parking lot. Also, if you plan to break the law, don’t make your illegal gun sale/transfer in the parking lot of a police station.
Do you need a bill of sale from the person?
No, you need to go to a gun store and have them do the transfer. A bill of sale without the proper background check is an admission of guilt.
Sellers: a bill of sale never protected you from someone using the gun criminally or the cops knocking at your door. If you didn’t murder someone, they aren’t going to arrest you for murder simply because a gun you once owned was used in the crime. All a bill of sale did was help point the cops in the direction of the person you sold it to. Sellers, the law puts the requirement on you to get the background check on the buyer, so if you don’t, and you save a bill of sale the police get their hands on at some point, that will be evidence in your trial for breaking the background check law.
Buyers: All a bill of sale will do for you is help implicate the seller in an illegal gun transfer; the gun you bought will probably be seized as evidence. If the gun you bought is stolen, you’re probably not getting a refund. All the bill of sale will do at that point, if you had a background check, is tell the police who sold you the stolen gun.
How do I register the gun in the other person's name?
There is no gun registration in Nevada. If they are not a close relative, take the gun to a dealer (go with the person who is receiving it) and tell them you need to do a private transfer.
To legally comply with the law, you must have a licensed dealer perform the background check. Anything else, unless you fall under one of the narrow exemptions (and if you’re not relatives, it’s highly unlikely), and you’re breaking the law. If you’re breaking the law, don’t be stupid. Don’t post about it online, talk to other people about it, keep any kind of written record, or do it in the parking lot of a police station.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West