Unfortunately, crime does exist. Given this reality, while all may not agree, some individuals believe carrying a gun is the best way to protect themselves. Others assert that carrying a weapon only leads to further crime and gun-related injuries.
Recently the question of prohibiting guns within the common areas of properties was raised by the Board for a Las Vegas homeowners’ association. The question came up because of an incident wherein a resident shot and killed a homeowner during a dispute over a parking space. It was highly publicized and alarmed many. Board members and residents began discussing safety and the idea of banning weapons altogether in their community associations.
Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, the key question here is whether this is legally possible? The answer is surprisingly “yes” and “no.”
While associations can adopt rules prohibiting the carrying of firearms on common area property, in Nevada they cannot preclude individuals from carrying firearms to and from their homes or vehicles and from having guns in their homes.
To ban guns from the common-area property, a Board would have to adopt a rule prohibiting firearms while on the common-area property. The association would also have to ensure that proper and obvious signage and/or notice is provided to anyone who may enter the community. However, know that those signs have little effect on non-residents who may choose to carry guns onto the association’s common-area property.
The reason this answer can be a little murky is because Nevada law does not speak directly to the ability of private landowners to ban guns. The only private property where the open carry of firearms is legally prohibited by Nevada Revised Statutes is on the premises of private schools or childcare facilities. In other words, there is no law in Nevada that allows for a wide ban on the open carry of firearms. Rather, a person with authority (i.e., the landowner, etc.), must ask the person carrying a firearm to leave the property. Stated differently, the individual carrying the weapon must be “trespassed.” If they are asked to leave and do not, they are then in violation of Nevada’s trespassing statute, NRS 207.200, which is a misdemeanor. Residents of a community who violate an association’s rule prohibiting the carrying of firearms after being provided notice and a hearing, can be fined for breaking the association’s rule.
While an association can therefore ban firearms from the common property area, enforcement of any such ban will prove difficult, particularly where it would require individuals to approach non-residents and ask them to leave the property. Such “self-help” measures can lead to dangerous confrontations which we do not suggest.
If you have questions about your community’s ability to ban weapons or adopt other rules, please call Troy Isaacson at (702) 529-2559.