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Wisconsin Gun Laws

Wisconsin Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Wisconsin’s gun laws have undergone significant changes, reflecting the state’s dedication to preserving Second Amendment rights while addressing evolving perspectives on public safety. From background checks to concealed carry, these developments emphasize Wisconsin’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership. This article offers an overview of the key updates in Wisconsin’s gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Concealed Carry Licensing:

   – Implementation of laws allowing individuals to apply for concealed carry permits, subject to background checks and training.

2014 – Enhanced Reporting on Lost or Stolen Firearms:

   – Strengthened laws mandating firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within a specific timeframe.

2015 – Enhanced Penalties for Gun Crimes:

   – Introduction of legislation imposing stricter penalties for individuals convicted of gun-related crimes.

   – Aims to deter illegal firearm use and promote public safety.

2016 – Enhanced Mental Health Reporting:

   – Strengthened reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

   – Aims to prevent firearm access by individuals with mental health concerns.

2017 – Enhanced Background Checks for Firearm Purchases:

   – Exploration of legislation to enhance background checks for all firearm purchases, including private sales.

2018 – Enhanced Reporting on Domestic Violence:

   – Strengthened reporting of domestic violence incidents to NICS, preventing individuals with restraining orders from accessing firearms.

2019 – Enhanced Oversight of Firearms Dealers:

   – Strengthened regulation and oversight of firearm dealers to ensure responsible sales practices.

2020 – Firearm Waiting Period Legislation:

   – Enactment of laws implementing a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases to allow comprehensive background checks.

2021 – “Red Flag” Law Consideration:

   – Exploration of implementing “red flag” laws allowing temporary firearm removal for individuals posing risks.

2022 – Firearm Storage and Child Access Prevention Laws:

    – Enactment of laws promoting responsible firearm storage and holding adults accountable for securing firearms from children’s access.

2022 – Firearm Training and Safety Initiatives:

    – Introduction of initiatives promoting firearm safety education and training among gun owners.

    – Emphasis on responsible practices and handling.

2023 – Enhanced Background Checks for Ammunition Sales:

    – Exploration of potential legislation requiring background checks for ammunition purchases.

2023 – Enhanced Reporting on Mental Health and Firearm Access:

    – Further exploration of ways to improve the reporting and evaluation of mental health records in relation to firearm background checks.

2023 – Enhanced School Safety Measures:

    – Exploration of potential measures to enhance school safety, including resource officers or armed personnel.

Wisconsin’s gun laws have transformed over the past decade, reflecting the state’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership and community safety. These changes underscore Wisconsin’s proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains imperative for stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to engage in informed discussions that balance individual rights with community security.

Wisconsin is often grouped together along with the many states that do not provide for strict or extremely selective firearm policies. State law does not require that an individual obtain a gun license or permit for the purchase of shotguns, rifles, handguns, or other firearms.  Furthermore, there is no permit or gun license required for the possession of a firearm.
However, all retailers, dealers, manufacturers, pawnbrokers, or businesses that sell firearms are required to keep records of each individual sale and purchase.  The records must be kept on-site of the place of business and will be reproduced if a law enforcement official requires that information.
Also, a 48-hour waiting period is implemented on the purchase of any handgun.  The possession of machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and gun silencers and compressors are allowed by state law, as long as they are properly registered with state and federal authorities.  Gun dealers may also be authorized to sell these types of firearms and components as long as they are certified by state and federal regulations to do so.
The most notable key piece of legislation that Wyoming employs is that concealed weapon carry is now made legal.
The open carry of a weapon is legal.  The open carry of a weapon while transporting is allowed, as long as the weapon is not loaded and secured in a case. Since 1994 it has been illegal to carry an open weapon.
The carrying of a weapon into a building that pertains to or is affiliated with the state is illegal.  This also extends to public places such as schools and its related programs, on or off the school’s immediate premises.  A firearm may be on the school’s ground for educational or safety instruction purposes. It must be unloaded and locked in a case if in possession while in a motor vehicle on school grounds.
Even though Wisconsin firearm laws may prove not to be the most restrictive, the legislature does provide for other provisions that other states have yet implemented or taken into consideration.  An example of this is evident with the Wisconsin hunting provisions regarding minors.  The Wisconsin hunting laws for minors are detailed according to certain age requirements and the types of weapons that may be used for hunting for minors of that specific age.  Some of these provisions are:
         No child under the age of 10 may hunt with a firearm or bow
         Children aged 12-13 are allowed to hunt with the supervision of an adult
         Children aged 12-13 may be in possession of a firearm when accompanied with an adult, or transporting the weapon to and from a hunting class; weapon must be cased and unloaded
         Minors aged 14-17 may possess a firearm without an adult present if the Hunter Safety course is completed
In allowing for a more detailed description of what minors are allowed to hunt with, Wisconsin hunting laws are providing for a safer environment for minors while engaged in such activities, cultivating a more responsible use, knowledge, and handling of firearms.  When such a child maintains such experience, it is more likely he will be a more responsible adult when handling firearms him/herself.
Though Wisconsin gun laws may not be the most extensive or restricting, certain aspects of their provisions may insure for a more responsible use and handling of handguns by both minors and adults, which in turn, justify why such little legislation is needed; if Wyoming residents are more responsible with handguns, less limitations may be used in order control firearms.