Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)

Reno Open Carry Shirt 300x300 Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)

Open Carry is Completely Legal and Unrestricted in Nevada

This was recently received, via the submission form, from an open carry advocate in Reno who wishes to remain anonymous. It recounts his encounter with a member of the Reno Sheriff’s Department during a traffic stop. More importantly, it addresses some questions that arose by the fact that this particular police officer was under the impression that openly carrying a gun in Reno is illegal (spoiler: it’s very legal). Additional comments and reaction is included below.

I’ve made some spelling, grammar, and punctuation corrections, as well as adding links throughout for informational purposes, but in terms of content, this is the story in it’s entirety as received:

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I moved here about a year ago and have been open carrying in Reno, Nevada since I arrived, never had much trouble had a lot of people come up to me and ask about it.

So, today I decided to register and post (on NVCopBlock.org) because on the way home from moving stuff out of storage we got pulled over by a sheriff on a motorcycle. He gave us a ticket for my derpy friend not having his registration on him, but otherwise everything went fine.

We immediately told him we were both armed and open carrying. He didn’t even draw or look to worried, just told us to put our hands on the dash. Then 3 seconds later, told us to get out and switch the license plates around because he had the registration sticker on the front plates not the back so we did that while he was issuing the ticket.

Afterwards, he gave us the ticket and asked us why were open carrying and then proceeded to laugh when we told him it was our right and its for our own protection etc., etc…He mocked us and said we should just relax and enjoy life sometimes…(Whatever that means?)

254942 10150610614245231 799940230 18592465 7326078 n 150x150 Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)

Artist Rendering of the Person who Submitted this Story

I then replied, ”well we cant exactly carry you around with us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week sir.”

We bantered back-n-forth a bit and then, when we were about to leave, he said ” If I really wanted to be an ass, I could cite you for open carrying in Reno, because the Reno city ordinance overrides the state law about open carrying in the state of Nevada.” He then went on to tell us we should look it up and probably not open carry anymore and kept saying ”he was pretty sure it overrides the state ordinance.”

When he said that it came off VERY threatening and I wanted to start an argument right then and there, but that probably wouldn’t of been the best idea…

I got his name and badge id…if I can do anything with it…

So I started googling….and I’ve researched the laws here A LOT before I even started open carrying…every time I hear something I always look it up…but for a sheriff to bring some BS city of Reno code that overrides the constitution and state law made me research some more…and that’s how I found this thread and I’ve since printed up 10 of your excellent pamphlets! Thanks!

I’m 99.99% certain that he is incorrect…and please correct me if I’m wrong…but how do police, cops, sheriffs, whatever not know the law? This is mind boggling….

ALSO what should I do with a officer who DOESN’T know the law and tries to do something about me legally carrying ?

I wish I would of recorded the whole ordeal…isn’t there like a hotline I can call and it records my stuff? and then I can download the call on my computer?

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As stated earlier, it is very much legal to open carry in Nevada, which of course includes Reno. I regards to Reno lOpen Carry No Stinking Badge Needed 150x150 Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)aw taking precedence over state laws, nothing could be further from the truth. The first problem with that idea is that there aren’t any Reno statutes prohibiting open carrying of firearms. The second flaw (and the reason for the first one) is that the State of Nevada specifically restricts local jurisdictions from passing gun laws that impose more severe restrictions on gun rights than those imposed by state law.

NRS 244.364, NRS 268.418, and NRS 269.222 state that the legislature reserves to itself the right to regulate the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transportation, registration and licensing of firearms and ammunition in Nevada, and that no county, city or town respectively may infringe upon these rights. (emphasis added)

In relation to the Constitution, we’re unfortunately at the mercy of whoever is interpreting it and in the case of gun laws the Supreme Court interpreted it to mean that states have a right to restrict how and where citizens may exercise the Second Amendment . Which is why there are varying degrees of legality for openly carrying firearms throughout the different states.

Fortunately for those of us living in Nevada though, our state has one of the most liberal (in the literal sense) applications of gun laws. In fact, with the exception of the requirement to register guns in Clark County, there are no restrictions on open carry within Nevada.

However, less fortunate for us is the reality that it really isn’t that unusual for “police, cops, sherriffs, whatever” to not know the laws that they are planning to enforce and often there’s little or nothing we can do about it. In answer to the question of what you should do when confronted with a heavily armed government employee that doesn’t understand gun laws, my advice would be to assert your rights, while attempting to avoid a confrontation that could go very wrong. When in doubt, the safest bet is to wait it out and then file a complaint after the fact (that’s where that name and badge number come into play). Sometimes it can actually make a difference.

And of course, we advocate always recording any interaction that you have for police to create a unbiased record of exactly what happened and why. I’m not personally aware of any service that records  downloadable audio, but Qik.com has put out a great app that allows you to record and stream live video from your cell phone that is instantly posted to the internets and therefore can’t be erased or tampered with if the phone is confiscated.

Then get that video to us

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Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goals of police accountability, education of individual rights and the dissemination of effective tactics to utilize while filming police. We seek to highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges. By documenting police actions – whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources – then calling the police stations involved (ideally while recording and then later sharing your conversation), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact. In addition to this direct pressure on police departments we want to be an educational resource on institutional changes that would curtail the common right-violations and unaccountability today by those with badges and a place to showcase different techniques, viewpoints and courses of action.

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19 Responses to “Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)”

  1. John July 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I was riding “shotgun”

  2. dj August 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Open carry doesn’t pertain to those in vehicles. You were concealed along with your weapons.

    • NVCopBlock.org August 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      First of all, that wouldn’t change the absurd falseness of the officer’s claim that open carry is illegal in Reno, which is what the person submitting this states he was told. Secondly, that’s just false. Cars have giant windows all the way around them that enable people to be seen. So, you and other things within a car aren’t concealed, by default, just because you are inside a vehicle. And according to Nevada firearms law “you may open carry in a vehicle. It must be clearly visible.” (via http://www.gonv.org/index.htm)

      Unless you are actually hiding something (or someone) it is not “concealed.”

      • Grey Wolf November 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

        wanted to say its good to see someone in another state standing up for peoples rights like we are in alabama…..would like to talk to you more about some stuff if you have the time

        • NVCopBlock.org November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

          Sorry, I didn’t have a chance to answer quicker. I appreciate your positive comment and I’d be happy to talk more with you sometime.

    • not an idiot October 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Please don’t talk anymore…

      • NVCopBlock.org October 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

        I wouldn’t hold your breath on that…

        Thanks for playing, though.

    • DH April 15, 2013 at 5:42 am #

      You are wrong. There is no such thing as a ‘Reno Sheriff’. To define the difference around here: the Reno Police have a Navy Blue uniform and the Washoe County Sheriff deputies wear dark green uniforms.

      And yes, some cops don’t get the word on the latest modifications to the law, and can be incorrect in their conversations with you. Example: just call the IRS and ask 10 different agents their opinion on one tax law and chances are you will get 10 different interpretations. ‘Gubmint’ employees can be just as clueless as anyone else.
      t
      Nevada law currently says pistols can be inside vehicles, concealed and loaded. They simply cannot be hidden on your person unless you have a CCW permit. THIS ISN’T CALIFORNIA!!!

      Moreover, this means pistols inside the waistband, under your shirt, coat, in your clothing, AND in your purse, backpack etc. (if you are outside your car) are considered ‘concealed’ and ILLEGAL unless you have a current CCW permit. Pistols inside a closed container INSIDE the car are okay, just don’t have them ON YOUR PERSON. Some gals like to wear a small purse slung across their shoulders while in a car, and if they have a pistol in that purse, that IS concealed. Okay?

      In other words, the pistol MUST be in plain view if you have it on you. When in plain view, that particular action is defined as ‘open carry’ and the NRS statues are SILENT on that action, which means there is no law against it. That means you can do it without fear of violation, IF you are not at the airport, a school, federal building, buildings with metal detectors at all entrances, public or private buildings that DO NOT POST ‘No Weapons’, blah, blah, blah. check

      Rifles and shotguns CANNOT have a round in the chamber, but you can have ammo in the magazine while in the vehicle.

      When you are stopped by a LEO, Nevada does NOT have a ‘must inform’ law requiring you to reveal that you are carrying concealed. However, all stops by department policy require a run of your plates, and that is when their dispatch will inform the officer that the owner of the vehicle has a CCW. Be aware that some cops get pissy if you don’t declare that you are carrying, and some will get pissy if you do. The best rule is to CALMLY respond to their question of ‘are you armed’ and state ‘yes, and DO NOT POINT to where your weapon is, just tell them calmly where it is. They will instruct you as to what to do- such as ‘thanks, just keep your hands on the wheel or on the dash.

      There are no local laws in Nevada that supersede state law unless the area has 700,000 or more residents; the supremacy law was created to accommodate some local ordinances such as in Las Vegas when the state legislature created the firearms supremacy law.

      KNOW THIS: Currently, North Las Vegas has a questionable municipal code in place that makes it illegal to carry a firearm in a car , but if one wanted to take the chance, challenge it all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court under the supremacy law. If you are busted for this in NLV, appeal your conviction to a court of record (District Court) and they will be forced to drop the charges because they KNOW that law should have been rescinded under the legislature’s firearms supremacy law

      The supremacy law simply states that no city, county, or municipal code can exist MORE restrictive than law passed by the state legislature; thus, the state legislature carved out ‘supremacy’ in regard to firearms law for the state.

      • Anonymous researcher July 25, 2013 at 1:57 am #

        That municipal ordinance is beatable with this argument. What will follow is a statement that was successful in getting the charge of violating NLV 9.32.080 dropped without prejudice, in a N. Las Vegas Court nonetheless. I found it on an open carry forum, bear with me, it’s a long argument. :

        A. North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.040 defines “dangerous or deadly weapons.” That ordinance sets forth and describes a number of items that are considered “dangerous or deadly weapons” by the City of North Las Vegas, a firearm being one. However, the ordinance excludes certain firearms from its definition. It says: “The term ‘dangerous or deadly weapons’ includes… any firearm other than (emphasis added) (a) one carried pursuant to a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority, or (b) an ordinary rifle or shotgun lawfully carried for purposes of hunting or other lawful sport.” So, the ordinance excludes from its definition of “dangerous or deadly weapons,” a firearm carried “pursuant to a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority.” The provision of that exclusion within the ordinance creates a safe harbor for those who have valid permission to carry a firearm concealed (emphasis added) on their person as well as (emphasis added) those who have valid permission to carry a firearm openly (emphasis added) on their person. It, in effect, eliminates any liability under the law with respect to North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080 – possession of dangerous or deadly weapon in a vehicle – for those two categories of lawful firearm possession.

        B. Did I have “a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority?” In a word, yes. The Nevada State Constitution, Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1, permits (emphasis added) its citizens “to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.” Does not Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution afford the right, or in effect, permit (emphasis added) its citizens to “bear arms,” even those driving their vehicles within the confines of the city limits of the City of North Las Vegas; and is not the State Constitution the supreme law of the state and therefore inherently a “duly authorized government authority?” Openly carrying (emphasis added) a handgun in a vehicle in Nevada is lawful (emphasis added). Openly carrying a registered handgun (emphasis added) in a vehicle in Clark County is lawful (emphasis added). Openly carrying a registered handgun (emphasis added) in a vehicle in North Las Vegas is lawful as well, because it is done with “a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority,” and in doing such the handgun so carried falls under the exclusion of the City’s own ordinance that defines what a “dangerous or deadly weapon” is NOT.

        C. It seems clear that by the City’s own codified definitions and specific exclusions as to what a “dangerous or deadly weapon” is termed to be and not to be; that a handgun lawfully and openly carried on one’s person within a vehicle per the permission afforded by the Nevada State Constitution, is by definition NOT a “dangerous or deadly weapon.” Therefore in the instant case, there was no violation of North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080, and I was unlawfully arrested and jailed without probable cause.

        D. As an aside, but still of pertinence and importance, I submit that had I been lawfully concealed carrying (emphasis added) my handgun, I would not have been arrested, jailed and prosecuted for suspected violation of the city ordinance. Why? Because the lawful concealed carrying of a handgun falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is and is NOT. I would further submit that I was lawfully open carrying (emphasis added) my handgun and there should have been no arrest, incarceration, and prosecution. Why? Because a citizen’s legal and lawful open carrying of a handgun pursuant to the permission granted in Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution ALSO falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is NOT. One might then ask oneself, what is the purpose of the City’s ban on firearms in vehicles? Simply stated, I would suggest that it is to deter individuals from having in their possession and in their vehicle firearms that are illegally possessed for intended unlawful purpose(s). The circumstances surrounding my case do not fit into such category at all. I was lawfully, legally, constitutionally, appropriately, permittedly, ad nauseum, openly carrying my handgun on my person while I was driving my vehicle within the city limits of North Las Vegas. There is no evidence suggesting that I had the handgun for any unlawful purpose. Such circumstance certainly falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is and is NOT.

        E. So, bottom line here is that a constitutional argument, if one were to be made, isn’t that North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080 is unconstitutional or contrary to appropriate Nevada Revised Statute(s), only that the City’s apparent misguided and obvious arbitrary enforcement and prosecution of the ordinance in my case, and perhaps others(see footnote), calls into question the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For you see, I, in the circumstances of the case – lawfully open carrying a handgun on my person in a vehicle with the requisite permission and authority of the Nevada State Constitution – should be afforded the “safe harbor” provided by the exclusion definition of the city ordinance which defines “dangerous or deadly weapon,” just as is an individual who is permitted and authorized to lawfully conceal carry a handgun in a vehicle. Anything less would, in my mind, be a misapplication of the ordinance and certainly fly in the face of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
        lawful open carrying is also not in violation of the ordinance… because Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution affords the right, or in effect, “permits” its citizens to “bear arms,” even those driving their vehicles within the confines of the city limits of the City of North Las Vegas; and the State Constitution is the supreme law of the state and therefore inherently a “duly authorized government authority.” So, both CCW and OC are “covered” and within the exception definition of what a dangerous or deadly weapon is NOT.
        A. North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.040 defines “dangerous or deadly weapons.” That ordinance sets forth and describes a number of items that are considered “dangerous or deadly weapons” by the City of North Las Vegas, a firearm being one. However, the ordinance excludes certain firearms from its definition. It says: “The term ‘dangerous or deadly weapons’ includes… any firearm other than (emphasis added) (a) one carried pursuant to a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority, or (b) an ordinary rifle or shotgun lawfully carried for purposes of hunting or other lawful sport.” So, the ordinance excludes from its definition of “dangerous or deadly weapons,” a firearm carried “pursuant to a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority.” The provision of that exclusion within the ordinance creates a safe harbor for those who have valid permission to carry a firearm concealed (emphasis added) on their person as well as (emphasis added) those who have valid permission to carry a firearm openly (emphasis added) on their person. It, in effect, eliminates any liability under the law with respect to North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080 – possession of dangerous or deadly weapon in a vehicle – for those two categories of lawful firearm possession.

        B. Did I have “a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority?” In a word, yes. The Nevada State Constitution, Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1, permits (emphasis added) its citizens “to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.” Does not Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution afford the right, or in effect, permit (emphasis added) its citizens to “bear arms,” even those driving their vehicles within the confines of the city limits of the City of North Las Vegas; and is not the State Constitution the supreme law of the state and therefore inherently a “duly authorized government authority?” Openly carrying (emphasis added) a handgun in a vehicle in Nevada is lawful (emphasis added). Openly carrying a registered handgun (emphasis added) in a vehicle in Clark County is lawful (emphasis added). Openly carrying a registered handgun (emphasis added) in a vehicle in North Las Vegas is lawful as well, because it is done with “a valid permit, issued by a duly authorized government authority,” and in doing such the handgun so carried falls under the exclusion of the City’s own ordinance that defines what a “dangerous or deadly weapon” is NOT.

        C. It seems clear that by the City’s own codified definitions and specific exclusions as to what a “dangerous or deadly weapon” is termed to be and not to be; that a handgun lawfully and openly carried on one’s person within a vehicle per the permission afforded by the Nevada State Constitution, is by definition NOT a “dangerous or deadly weapon.” Therefore in the instant case, there was no violation of North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080, and I was unlawfully arrested and jailed without probable cause.

        D. As an aside, but still of pertinence and importance, I submit that had I been lawfully concealed carrying (emphasis added) my handgun, I would not have been arrested, jailed and prosecuted for suspected violation of the city ordinance. Why? Because the lawful concealed carrying of a handgun falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is and is NOT. I would further submit that I was lawfully open carrying (emphasis added) my handgun and there should have been no arrest, incarceration, and prosecution. Why? Because a citizen’s legal and lawful open carrying of a handgun pursuant to the permission granted in Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution ALSO falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is NOT. One might then ask oneself, what is the purpose of the City’s ban on firearms in vehicles? Simply stated, I would suggest that it is to deter individuals from having in their possession and in their vehicle firearms that are illegally possessed for intended unlawful purpose(s). The circumstances surrounding my case do not fit into such category at all. I was lawfully, legally, constitutionally, appropriately, permittedly, ad nauseum, openly carrying my handgun on my person while I was driving my vehicle within the city limits of North Las Vegas. There is no evidence suggesting that I had the handgun for any unlawful purpose. Such circumstance certainly falls within the City’s definition exception as to what a “dangerous or deadly” weapon is and is NOT.

        E. So, bottom line here is that a constitutional argument, if one were to be made, isn’t that North Las Vegas Municipal Ordinance 9.32.080 is unconstitutional or contrary to appropriate Nevada Revised Statute(s), only that the City’s apparent misguided and obvious arbitrary enforcement and prosecution of the ordinance in my case, and perhaps others(see footnote), calls into question the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For you see, I, in the circumstances of the case – lawfully open carrying a handgun on my person in a vehicle with the requisite permission and authority of the Nevada State Constitution – should be afforded the “safe harbor” provided by the exclusion definition of the city ordinance which defines “dangerous or deadly weapon,” just as is an individual who is permitted and authorized to lawfully conceal carry a handgun in a vehicle. Anything less would, in my mind, be a misapplication of the ordinance and certainly fly in the face of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
        lawful open carrying is also not in violation of the ordinance… because Article 1, Section 11, Subsection 1 of the Nevada Constitution affords the right, or in effect, “permits” its citizens to “bear arms,” even those driving their vehicles within the confines of the city limits of the City of North Las Vegas; and the State Constitution is the supreme law of the state and therefore inherently a “duly authorized government authority.” So, both CCW and OC are “covered” and within the exception definition of what a dangerous or deadly weapon is NOT.

  3. DG October 13, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Is an inside the waistband holster considered concealed carry or open carry?

  4. Robert Paul Morency October 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Thank you CopBlock, I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to purchase a pistol and exercise this right.

    Also, is this just for handguns or could someone just walk down the street with a shotgun strapped to their back?

    LOL that might turn a few heads.

    • NVCopBlock.org November 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      I’m very much in favor of gun ownership for self defense purposes and also open carry for purposes of deterrence. So I’m glad to hear you have decided to come aboard.

      California did pass an anti-rifle open carry law after people started carrying them to get around their bad open carry pistol laws. However in general, rifles are considered legal under open carry rules being that they are pretty difficult to conceal. Certain exceptions do exist based on assault rifle bans and that sort of thing, which wouldn’t apply to the vast majority of rifles, especially shotguns. Essentially, if a rifle is itself legal to carry then you are allowed to carry it openly outside of California.

      Of course, you’re even more likely to have some uniformed person call the police and think you are doing something you’re not allowed to with a rifle. Some open carry advocates consider that all the more reason to do so and bring awareness to gun rights. Others might see that as risking a confrontation with trigger happy cops. You have to decide for yourself where you are wihin that spectrum.

  5. BTAzombieHunter September 6, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    my wife and i will be staying in reno this weekend for our second anneversery. we live in Sacramento ca and dont have the ability to open carry here. i was curious if anyone could tell me how i would go about coming and going from our hotel carrying?

    • NVCopBlock.org September 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Unless the hotel has some sort of restriction on guns on their property, it is completely legal for you to openly carry your firearm in Las Vegas. So I would just ask the hotel what their policy is in regards to firearms.

  6. atbear February 8, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    A Privately owned business has no legal authority to restrict the carrying of a weapon concealed/open or otherwise other than to ask you to leave. “Public Building” as defined in NRS 202.3673 sub section 4: 6b defines a public building as a tax payer owned building (library, police station, city hall, building dept, court) etc.
    People need to read the actual NRS statues before taking the advise of others. If you are in doubt at all ask the Nevada State Attorney General for a legal opinion which is exactly what we did because way to many people think they know what they are talking about when they do not.

    • NVCopBlock.org February 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      I don’t disagree with any of that, but if you are coming to Reno, planning to open carry, and staying in a hotel; having them tell you to leave that hotel would not be a very convenient thing. Therefore, the logical thing to do would be to check with that hotel and find out what their policy is before you arrive and have to scramble around to find a different hotel (and probably end up losing money from the original hotel).

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