Nevada Supreme Court Upholds “Ghost Gun” Regulations

Gun Rights

The Supreme Court of Nevada upheld Nevada’s regulations on so-called “ghost guns” in Sisolak v. Polymer80, holding that the statutes are not unconstitutionally vague.

In 2021, Nevada criminalized the possession, purchase, transport, receipt, sale, and transfer of an “unfinished frame or receiver,” which it defined as:

a casting or a machined body that is intended to be turned into the frame or lower receiver of a firearm with additional machining and which has been formed or machined to the point at which most of the major machining operations have been completed to turn the blank, casting or machined body into a frame or lower receiver of a firearm even if the fire-control cavity area of the blank, casting or machined body is still completely solid and unmachined. 

Polymer80 challenged this definition for being unconstitutionally vague, arguing that (1) it does not define what constitutes a finished frame or receiver; (2) it does not define “blank,” “casting,” or “machined body”; and (3) it does not clarify when raw material becomes an “unfinished frame or receiver.”

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A Nevada district court agreed with Polymer80 and permanently enjoined the enforcement of the statutes. But the Supreme Court of Nevada reversed that decision, holding that “the definition employs terms ascertainable by their ordinary meanings and that align with trade and industry usage.” The court thus concluded that “[a] district court will be well situated to determine whether a particular object constitutes an unfinished frame or receiver in the course of performing its customary functions.”

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