Las Vegas bans carry of fake/replica weapons, Newsweek baffled that real ones are allowed

They are. And I am amused by it.


The city doesn’t hold regulatory power over the carrying of real firearms, which is regulated by the state government, leaving it in the strange position of disallowing toys while allowing citizens and tourists to openly carry real guns on their bodies. In fact, the state statute is worded in such a way that it may allow fake guns to legally squeak by on a technicality in spite of the city’s ordinance. – Newsweek

That is how preemption laws work, Newsweek. No body can enact a more restrictive law on a localized level than the state, in this case Nevada, has on the books. This is structured to prevent city and other municipal powers from violating second amendment rights piecemeal and creating a minefield of legal rule zones state residents and visitors must navigate, despite being licensed or legal to carry.

I can respect the ban on fake firearms and prop weapons in the entertainment district, exceptions being made for filming or permitted entertainment known and scheduled, because it ultimately means the firearms are real. Easy enough for LVPD, assume any gun is a real gun unless known otherwise by a filming permit or other official notice. And of course common sense, I see NW used a lime green squirt gun to illustrate their point and not, say, a scale airsoft replica of an M4 or Glock.

All legal guns are real, thus a perceived threat from a gun is that of a real gun. Officers put in the precarious position of making rapid life and death decisions can, with the backing of law, make an assumption the weapon is real if it looks real. Citizens and visitors can too. With the knowledge that only real firearms are permitted any threat that looks genuine can be assumed to be.

Why does this clarity matter? It’s the entertainment district, and some people have very funny ideas on what is “entertaining”.

You aren’t permitted to randomly set up this kind of stupidity.

People can’t hide behind their “comedy” or “satire” of life threatening and terrifying situations by using fake implements. You want to do this? Set up an actualy venue. Haunted Houses and other thrill venues are all about this stuff and people willing participate. There is far too much real violence to have someone wondering if they’re in a street show or about to die. Then that individual makes the wrong call and either kills an idiotic cast member of a stupid prank or gets injured and dies thinking it was just a prank.

As fun as Vegas can be with the wacky wild antics of the show life, I want to know what ground I stand on and so does Law Enforcement. The ordnance makes disambiguation far easier.

Now, Las Vegas may want to ban real firearms too, I don’t know for certain. The tone of the Newsweek article seems to suggest that. At least Newsweek seems to think a total ban makes sense.

I disagree. Real self defense only makes sense to me.

The law was introduced by Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, and it was explained that the law was encouraged by the city’s Public Safety Department, which wanted local ordinances to be consistent with existing laws for the Las Vegas Strip for the sake of safety. The Clark County Commission—which has authority over the Las Vegas Strip—passed a law that outlawed the display or use of any toy or replica firearm in 2012. There’s also a law in Henderson, Nevada that bans the “pointing, brandishing, concealing, using or attempting to use a fake firearm.”

Consistency, like that preemption law encourages. Firearms may be assumed to be real. In addition, this will likely stiffen penalties for using a fake weapon to commit a crime to that of using a real weapon. Many locales already hold this to be true, however if the fake weapons were legal to have on their persons there could be a case made for lesser penalties. That in turn could encourage those looking at ways to lower their criminal liability in event they get caught to use fakes.

Implying a weapon is real should be consistent with having the real weapon and where laws differ in any manner on this they should be made consistent.

Now, do I expect the ban to ‘work’? As in, do I expect replicas to vanish from the streets of Vegas’ entertainment district?


A prohibited action like this and associated penalties make the application of penalties more clear cut and, like I said above, makes for much better disambiguation in already complex situations. I don’t expect this to drastically lower the instances of criminal misuse of replica weapons, I do see the avenues of both prosecution and defense becoming more clear cut though.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.