Skip to main content

Wisconsin Gun Ownership | Legal Options | Illegal Possession

The Legalities Of Gun Ownership in Wisconsin

Gun ownership is popular in Wisconsin. The state is full of hunters and collectors as well as people who just enjoy going to the shooting range. Fortunately, the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides U.S. citizens with the right to own guns and engage in these activities. However, with the right comes responsibilities. Violations of the state’s gun laws can lead to legal consequences and even the loss of your guns.

Who Can Own a Gun in Wisconsin?

Anyone over age 18 can open carry anywhere that concealed carry is legal in Wisconsin as long as they have not been prohibited from firearms possession.

There are no licensing requirements in the state, but gun buyers are subject to a background check when buying through a licensed dealer. Residents must be at least 21 years old to buy a gun.

It is illegal to open carry a gun in WI in or on:

  • Police stations, state patrol stations, or sheriff’s offices
  • Correctional facilities of any kind
  • A mental health treatment center
  • Federal, state, or county courthouses
  • Municipal courtrooms that are in session
  • Airports, past the security checkpoints
  • School property
  • Bars (unless there is a preexisting concealed carry weapon license)
  • Federal land or property, except for national forests

WI Concealed Carry Laws

There are even stricter rules for concealed carry. Anyone who plans to conceal carry their weapon must apply and be approved for a concealed carry weapon license. Licensing requirements are:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Provide a valid ID, such as a driver’s license
  • Complete state-licensed firearm training
  • Be free of court orders prohibiting the purchase of a firearm
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no illnesses that result in the prohibition of gun ownership
  • Meet all federal firearms ownership requirements

Who is Prohibited from Owning a Gun?

The state builds on federal laws for who can and cannot possess a gun. Together, the laws help prevent gun ownership by individuals who have demonstrated risk factors. You cannot own or purchase a gun in Wisconsin if:

  • You have been convicted of a felony crime in the state
  • You have been convicted of a crime in another state that would be considered a felony in Wisconsin
  • You committed a crime as a juvenile that would result in a felony charge if it had happened when you were an adult
  • You were charged with a felony but found not guilty due to a mental health condition
  • You were found not guilty of a crime in another state by reason of insanity that would be charged as a felony in Wisconsin
  • You have been ordered not to have a gun because you have been in rehab for mental health issues or drug dependency, have had a guardian appointed for you, or have been put in a protective placement
  • You have gone to rehab for alcoholism and have been determined to be a risk to yourself or the public safety
  • You are under domestic abuse or harassment restraining order

Penalties for Illegal Gun Possession

The penalties for illegal gun possession vary depending on the circumstances with felons facing the most severe penalties. Felons who are convicted of illegal gun possession can be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison and be fined $25,000 or more.

Carrying a concealed weapon in the state without a permit is a Class A misdemeanor that can lead to 9 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.

“Possession” is defined as having control of a loaded or unloaded firearm and being aware of that control. Possession also includes handling a firearm, no matter how briefly or minimally.

Explore Your Defense Options During a Consult with Eisenberg Law Offices

If you are charged with possession or illegal gun ownership in Wisconsin, you will need a criminal defense attorney to help you avoid conviction. The criminal defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices have been successfully defending gun ownership and possession cases for over 30 years.

Contact us at 608-256-8356 or to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation and learn about the defense options available to you.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.