SB 439 Senate Committee on Judiciary
Allows dismissal of unlicensed concealed carry if one can obtain a permit
Imagine yourself as an open carrier. One day, you’re in a hurry and throw on your jacked over your gun. You forget to tuck the jacket behind the grip. Someone fresh from California sees you and calls 911. You are detained by the police and are arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. Or, you put your gun in your purse so it’s out of sight in the car, but forget to take it out before you go in the court house. Sound far fetched? It happened to a past member of the Assembly.
It’s time that Nevada reform it’s concealed carry laws that are rooted in a long-gone culture that demonized going armed for self-defense. No innocent, law abiding person (who shouldn’t even need a permit to conceal a handgun) should become a felon or be fined for an innocent mistake. It wouldn't even be a felony if SB 176 (2015) was not improperly amended by the Legislative Council. If we can’t have constitutional carry, let’s start by fixing a century old gun control law (1903) and stop fining otherwise innocent people.
District attorneys would be allowed to dismiss charges of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit if the defendant can obtain a concealed firearm permit. Currently, they may discretionarily dismiss charges in the interest of justice, but this would provide legislative incentive to do so as a matter of policy. This bill would be beneficial to those unwittingly violating the concealed carry statute (a felony) or for otherwise law-abiding people carrying without a permit who are not breaking any other law.
What normally happens is someone who is a productive, upstanding member of society is allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor (in lieu of a felony) and pay a $500 fine. Since the first concealed weapon laws, paying the fine has generally been the punishment for the last 150 years. Over a hundred years ago, anti-gunners got so fed up with people getting off lightly that many states raised the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. People still got the misdemeanor and the fine unless they were known scumbags.
SB 439 would allow a clean record for someone who just made a mistake. Anyone who is granted a dismissal under this section must be able to qualify for a permit. Under Nevada and federal law, being under indictment for a felony is not a disqualifier for receiving a permit (only purchasing one). A letter explaining the circumstances from the DA’s office to the sheriff could alleviate concerns from the sheriff’s office.
Current Nevada law allows sheriffs to deny permits if they receive information that the applicant has been charged with a crime involving the use or threatened us of violence (NRS 202.3657 6.) Concealed carry in connection with a violent crime would still be grounds for denial of the permit. Ultimately, what this section is doing is codifying the ability to dismiss CCW charges against good people who can get permits but didn’t for whatever reason.
This bill is purely discretionary. It could be ignored by anti-gun DAs or used to the benefit of an woman carrying a gun in her purse out of fear of an abusive ex-boyfriend. Due process is a concern with the bill but it could be implemented well with solid policy decisions proposed by the Nevada District Attorney’s Association on when discretion should be exercised.
This bill would also increase the penalties to allow for an indeterminate sentence of 1-10 years for second violation of NRS 202.360 (prohibited person) or is convicted of a crime of violation in connection with being a prohibited person with a firearm. It also defines “crime of violence."
'Crime of violence' means: (1) Any offense involving the use or threatened use of force or violence against the person or property of another; or (2) Any felony for which there is a substantial risk that force or violence may be used against the person or property of another in the commission of the felony.
Nevada Carry is in cautious support of this bill.