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What are the Gun Laws in Wisconsin?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


(As of July, 2006)

State Requirements

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Registration of rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No.


  • Permit to purchase handgun? No.*
  • Registration of handguns? No.
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No.
  • Permit to carry handguns? No.

*Waiting Period

Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.


A firearm dealer transferring possession of a handgun must have the transferee present identification and detailed information, complete a notification form, and pay a $8.00 fee.

The information from the form is conveyed to the Department of Justice using a toll free telephone number for a background check for criminal history, involuntary commitment, domestic violence and tribal restraining orders.

Forty-eight hours must elapse from the time that the dealer has received a confirmation number regarding the criminal history record search and the dealer has been notified that the transfer will not be in violation of law.

These provisions do not apply to antique handguns, transfers between wholesale or retail dealers, or to law enforcement or armed service agencies.

No pawnbroker, secondhand article dealer or secondhand jewelry dealer may engage in a transaction of purchase, receipt or exchange of any secondhand article, including firearms and ammunition, from a customer without first securing adequate identification from the customer and completing a form detailing a description of the firearm and identifying information on the person from whom received.

Within 24 hours after purchasing or receiving a secondhand firearm or ammunition, a pawnbroker, secondhand article dealer or secondhand jewelry dealer shall make available, for inspection by a law enforcement officer, the original completed form, or the inventory, whichever is appropriate.

Any person denied the right to purchase a handgun because the firearms dealer received a non-approval number may request a firearms restriction record search review under department of justice rules. If the person disagrees with the result of that review, the person may file an appeal under rules promulgated by the department.


No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

It is unlawful for a person under the age of 18 to possess a firearm unless that person is accompanied by a parent or guardian and is target shooting or participating in a firearms training course.

Young hunters between the ages of 12 and 16 may possess firearms under the supervision of a parent or guardian while in the field and/or while enrolled in hunter safety classes.

It is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm if:
  • Convicted of a felony or found not guilty of a felony by reason of mental illness.

  • Committed to a mental institution and ordered not to possess a firearm.

  • Subject of a domestic violence, child abuse or tribal restraining order.

  • If adjudicated delinquent on or after April 21, 1994, for an act that if committed by an adult would be a felony.
It is unlawful to possess a firearm in, on, or within 1,000 feet from the grounds of a school (school zone). Exempt are private property not part of school grounds, school security guards, law enforcement officers, use in a program approved by the school, unloaded and in a locked container or in a locked firearm rack that is on a motor vehicle, and unloaded and possessed while traversing school ground for the purpose of gaining access to lands open to hunting if the entry on school grounds is authorized by school authorities.

Any pupil determined to unlawfully possess a firearm while at school or while under the supervision of a school authority, will be suspended and be subject to expulsion proceedings.


It is unlawful for any person except a peace officer to go armed with a concealed and dangerous weapon.

There is no statutory provision for obtaining a license or permit to carry a concealed weapon. State law does not prohibit the open carrying of a firearm, but a person should exercise caution when carrying a firearm in public.

It is unlawful to go armed with a firearm in any building owned or leased by the state or any political subdivision of the state.

Antiques & Replicas

Beginning November 1, 1992 it shall be a crime for a person to sell or distribute any look-alike firearm. Look-alike firearm means any imitation of any original firearm that was manufactured, designed and produced after December 31, 1897, including and limited to toy guns, water guns, replica non-guns and air-soft guns firing nonmetallic projectiles.

The crime does not apply to the restoration of any weapon by a person having a license to collect firearms as curios or relics issued by the U.S. Dept. Of Treasury or to an imitation, non-firing, collector replica of an antique firearm developed prior to 1898, or any traditional bb, paint ball or pellet firing air guns that expels a projectile through the force of air pressure.
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