What Are Nevada’s “Stand Your Ground” Laws?

It’s vital for all gun owners to know their rights and responsibilities concerning the legal use of firearms in self-defense. Nevada is one of several states to enact Stand Your Ground laws so armed citizens have a firm understanding of the circumstances in which it is legally acceptable to fire a weapon at another person. In general, Nevada’s Stand Your Ground laws allow for the use of legally owned and carried firearms to resist a violent crime or come to the defense of another person.

Stand Your Ground Laws in Nevada

Acceptable Uses of Firearms in Self-Defense

Nevada gun owners must follow the state’s gun laws, which require a permit to carry a handgun. A licensed gun owner with an acceptable permit may use his or her handgun in self-defense to prevent a violent crime. This includes crimes intended to victimize the gun owner, a family member or friend with the gun owner, or another person in the vicinity. Nevada’s Stand Your Ground laws do not allow gun owners to use deadly force to stop a nonviolent crime such as a burglary. The offender must present a clear and aggressive threat, such as an attempted robbery or physical assault.

However, a gun owner may brandish a legally-owned firearm in a threatening manner in order to deter a property crime or other nonviolent offense. If the offender attempts to threaten a gun owner while committing a crime, a gun owner may legally brandish his or her weapon in a threatening manner to quell the threat.

It is also important for Nevada gun owners to know when it is acceptable to use a firearm in self-defense against a vicious animal. While the state does not have any clear exemptions for shooting an aggressive animal in self-defense, the shooter may be in violation of local firearm discharge ordinances. However, it is very unlikely that an individual would face prosecution if he or she can prove that the shooting was purely in self-defense and necessary under the circumstances.

There are also some local-level exemptions for the protection of property, livestock, and personal safety. For example, a landowner may shoot feral cats, coyotes, or other potentially dangerous animals that interlope on the property and present a clear threat in the area. Gun owners who believe they may encounter such an issue should check their local firearm discharge ordinances.

“Justifiable Homicide”

In some cases, a gun owner may feel compelled to use deadly force in self-defense. A gun owner has no legal obligation to retreat before using deadly force as they might in some other states. As long as the gun owner is legally present at the location of the use of deadly force and has not engaged in any criminal activity, the gun owner may shoot to kill if another person presents a clear and aggressive threat.

The justifiable homicide definition also extends to cases involving the defense of a loved one, such as a parent, child, sibling, spouse, or other close relative as well as friends, acquaintances or even strangers if a violent person displays a clear threat against one or more of these individuals. In any justifiable homicide case, the shooter must be able to prove that the deceased offender presented such an immediate and clear threat that the shooter felt he or she had no choice but to use deadly force.

A shooter in a justifiable homicide case will also have immunity from civil liability for the shooting. For example, a woman in her apartment uses her legally owned firearm to fatally shoot an intruder threatening her with a weapon. The deceased intruder’s parents may attempt to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the woman, but she would have immunity from civil liability since it was a justifiable homicide.

If you have a loved one who was injured and you believe it was not justified, contact a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer today or a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer if your loved one was killed in a stand your ground incident.