Wisconsin Gun Laws are based on the Article 1, Section 25 of the State of Wisconsin’s Constitution which reads, “The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.”
In general, Wisconsin Gun Laws are less strict than most states because no permit to purchase is needed when buying a rifle, shotgun or handgun. The registration of firearms and licensing of firearm owners is not needed too.
Validity of Permits Issued Under Wisconsin Gun Laws in Other Jurisdictions
The following states honor permits issued under Wisconsin Gun Laws:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
On the other hand, Wisconsin Gun Laws recognize permits issued from these states:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Virginia (must be a non-resident permit)
- West Virginia (only permits issued after June 8, 2012 are accepted)
Key Provisions of Wisconsin Gun Laws
In addition to the ones stated above, here are the other rules and regulations enumerated under Wisconsin Gun Laws:
1. Before a transfer of a handgun, the person receiving it must present an ID, fill up a notification form and pay the required fee. The notification form shall be used as basis of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in checking the criminal history of the person acquiring the handgun. The handgun dealer or the individual making the transfer must wait for 48 hours to pass after receiving a confirmation that the acquirer has passed the background check conducted by the DOJ before turning over the handgun. This rule exempts transfers involving antique handguns, transfers between wholesale and retail dealers, and law enforcement or armed service agencies.
2. A person is barred from possessing any type of firearm if he is convicted of a felony, acquitted of a felony charge due to the defense of mental illness, undergoing treatment in a mental facility, adjudicated delinquent on or after April 21, 1994 for an offense that would constitute a felony if committed as an adult, or has an active court order or decision that prohibits him from carrying or acquiring a firearm.
3. An individual below 18 years old is not allowed to possess a firearm unless he is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and is engaged in a target shooting activity or attending a firearms safety course. Someone between 12 to 16 years old may also possess a firearm while enrolled in a hunter safety course or while in the field with a parent or legal guardian.
4. Possessing a firearm within the range of 1,000 feet of a school is prohibited unless the person is on a private property not owned by the school, he is a law enforcement official, a school security guard, has a part in a school-authorized activity that involves a firearm, or someone authorized by law to carry firearm even in school grounds while in the performance of his duties. Any person who is in a vehicle traversing school grounds for the purpose of gaining access to lands open to hunting or allowed by school authorities must unload and lock his firearm in a secure container within the vehicle.
It should be noted that Wisconsin Gun Laws makes mention that any student caught to be illegally possessing a firearm while in school or within the watch of a school authority is subject to expulsion proceedings.
5. The open carry of a handgun is allowed as long as it is done so in an orderly conduct that does not threaten to violate the peace statutes of the State.
6. Although possessing a concealed handgun does not require a permit carry, a person who wishes to do so must secure a license from the DOJ. This requirement does not cover people carrying a concealed handgun in their residences, controlled business establishments or land that they are legally occupying.
7. To be eligible to secure a concealed weapons license, a person must be at least 21 years old and he should not have any of the disqualifying factors stated in the number 2 item of this section. In addition to those requirements, he must be able to fill-up the necessary forms, supply the supporting documents required, pass the safety training course, and pay the needed fees.
8. A person is prohibited from possessing a firearm in the following places, even if he has a concealed carry license:
- Law enforcement buildings
- Buildings owned or leased by the State wherein the person in authority of such place has posted notices in the entrances that prohibit the possession of firearms
- Courthouses or a portion of a building that serves as a venue of a court session
- Areas beyond the security checkpoint of airports
- An area that functions as place of detention, prison or correctional facility
- The secured areas of a mental health institute
It should be reminded though that these prohibitions do not cover persons carrying firearms inside their vehicles while in the parking lots of the said establishments as long as the weapon is securely locked and the rules in transporting firearms are being followed.
9. Selling or distributing items that look like firearms is not allowed. Examples of these are toy guns, water guns and airsoft guns. Persons who are licensed collectors are exempted from this rule.
10. Trading, manufacturing or ownership of machine guns, suppressors or fully-automatic firearms must be in compliance with federal and Wisconsin Gun Laws. A person may also be allowed to transport a machine gun upon gaining permission from the chief of police or sheriff of the county where he wishes to transport the said firearm.
11. Except the authorized members of the US Armed Forces or law enforcement officials, the possession or distribution of a rilfe with less than 16 inchess of barrel length, shotgun with less than 18 inches of barrel length or any of these two types of firearms with less than 26 inches of total length is illegal.
Under Wisconsin Gun Laws, the political subdivisions of the State are not allowed to enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution that would regulate the sale, purchase, transfer, ownership, use, transportation, taxation or licensing of firearms.