weather icon Clear

Fake guns banned in downtown Las Vegas district, but real guns OK

Displaying a firearm in downtown Las Vegas’ tourist-popular Fremont East district is now illegal — if the gun is fake.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to ban toy and replica firearms in the city’s hallmark entertainment district and on the public sidewalks bordering the area.

In doing so, it becomes the latest valley jurisdiction to bar imitation guns in a state where it is legal to carry the real deal unconcealed.

“It’s just one of those weird, twisted ironies,” said Christiane Brown, co-president of the Northern Nevada chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Local policymakers do not have regulatory authority over real firearms — an issue left to state lawmakers.

Don Turner, president of the Nevada Firearms Coalition, said the reason that local governments may even regulate fake guns is because an actual firearm is well-defined in state statute, and “that’s how they skirt the state pre-emption law.”

But Turner suggested regulation of imitation guns would be unnecessary if they were treated with care and not as flamboyantly or haphazardly as he said he saw with some street performers in Fremont East.

“It’s the irresponsible use I think that’s creating the problem,” he said, adding how there were also laws on the books to restrict behavior with authentic guns like brandishing or pointing. “If you treated a toy gun like a real gun, you wouldn’t have an issue.”

Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, a former assemblywoman who represents Fremont East, introduced the bill that passed Wednesday, but she was not available to speak after the council meeting. City spokesman Jace Radke said the bill was spurred by the city’s Public Safety Department, which sought to improve safety in the corridor by making the laws consistent with existing prohibitions on the Strip.

In October 2012, the Clark County Commission, which has authority over the Strip, unanimously passed a bill that outlawed display or use of any toy, imitation or replica firearm in county territories including the Strip.

The city of Henderson also outlaws pointing, brandishing, concealing, using or attempting to use a fake firearm, according to its municipal code.

Las Vegas’ new regulation expands beyond just fake firearms — as did the county’s ordinance seven years earlier — to ban display and use of actual weapons including swords, knives, bows and arrows and flame-emitting devices.

The fake gun-free zone is bounded generally by Main Street to the west, Ogden Avenue to the north, Seventh Street to the east and Carson Avenue to the south.

Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the bill’s language.

Brown, the gun violence prevention advocate, concluded that she would prefer city policymakers use their influence to lobby state lawmakers to act against Nevada’s open-carry laws, saying the new city bill could be a teaching moment on the difference between perceived and actual danger.

“I understand that if you have a toy and someone thinks that’s a real gun, that could cause grave concern,” she said. “However, people are out there with real guns legally, and I think that should be of grave concern.”

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

Replica Firearm Ban Ordinance by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Secretary of Education visits Henderson school
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited students at Pinecrest Academy in Henderson to talk about college planning on Dec. 4, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Accused murder mastermind Frank LaPena is granted a pardon - VIDEO
A onetime Las Vegas casino bell captain who spent 25 years in prison as the accused mastermind in a notorious 1974 contract murder won his last legal battle for freedom Wednesday when the state Pardons Board granted him a conditional pardon restoring all his civil rights. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Middle: Nonpartisan voters and the 2020 election
How will the growing segment of nonpartisan or independent voters — those who have not registered with either political party, or who have left partisan politics behind — vote in 2020?
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - VIDEO
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - VIDEO
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vaping in Las Vegas parks may soon be illegal

Councilman Brian Knudsen said the idea behind the is to listen to constituents who seek smoke-free parks and to respond to the meteoric rise of vaping among young people.