En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Wisconsin

UPDATED June 22, 2017

View All

Below is information about state gun laws in Wisconsin.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate or lawyer in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find an agency, please go to the WI Where to Find Help page to find help.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

It depends.  It is illegal under Wisconsin law (a Class G felony) for a person to possess a firearm if any of the following applies: 

  • s/he has been convicted of a felony in Wisconsin (or a crime in another state that would be a felony if committed in Wisconsin);
  • s/he has been found not guilty by reason of mental disease/defect of a felony in Wisconsin (or a crime in another state that would be a felony if committed in Wisconsin); or
  • s/he has been adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that would be considered a felony if committed by an adult.* 

In addition, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or "domestic violence misdemeanor," then federal law states that it is illegal for the abuser to buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession.**  To read more information, go to our Federal Gun Laws pages. 

* Wis. Stat. § 941.29(1m)(a)-(d)
** 18 USC 922(g)(1),(9)

 

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access.  If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Federal law specifically prohibits possession of a firearm if the person is convicted of any felony or of a domestic violence misdemeanor.  Criminal records that would make a person ineligible to purchase a firearm are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS.  Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see the question, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top