Barring some recent exceptions including public schools and airports, Nevada has been an "open carry" state for as long as anyone can remember. It's an arid, mostly empty land where ranchers talk "acres-per-cow," not "cows-per-acre." Help might be days away, and – thrown from a spooked horse and dragging by one stirrup – a cowpoke might have one last chance . . . providing his sidearm is still on his hip.
The kind of clientele who came to frequent the sawdust gambling joints of the desert oasis of Las Vegas 70 years ago didn't mind running into the occasional cowboy with a sidearm, back when the biggest event in town was the horseback Helldorado Rodeo & Parade. Heck, Benny Binion of the downtown Horseshoe Casino WAS a pistol-packin' Texan.
But the urban corporate moguls who run Las Vegas today don't think that way. Sinatra is gone, Dean Martin is gone, Elvis is gone. In a world with a fragmenting music and entertainment culture, they're struggling to bring in the urban yuppies with celebrity chefs and hip-hop artists and topless swimming pools and X-rated hypnotists. The last thing they want is for those sheltered young urbanites to be scared, and they've got it in their heads that guns are "scary."
So any local who's been here awhile will tell you, your right to walk up the Las Vegas Strip – the crowded four miles of Las Vegas Boulevard that are home to most of the town's major hotel-casinos – while openly packing heat is largely theoretical.