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What Guns Are Illegal to Own in Wisconsin?

A concealed handgun being pulled out of a waistband

If you are looking to own a gun for your personal protection, hunting, or recreational use, it’s important to investigate the difference between federal and state laws. These laws can differ dramatically or overlap depending on where you live. At Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, we specialize in defending those accused of weapon violations in Milwaukee and are sharing the four types of guns that are illegal to own. 

While Wisconsin does not require a license to purchase a gun, there are certain firearms that are explicitly prohibited, including:

  • Short-barreled shotguns
  • Short-barreled rifles
  • Machine guns
  • Fully automatic firearms

Silencers or any device designed or adapted to muffle the sound of a gun are also prohibited.

In order to carry a concealed handgun, Wisconsin residents must obtain a Carrying a Concealed Weapon license (CCW). This license expires every five years, so it is important to stay on top of renewals to avoid being charged with a concealed carry violation. Luckily, Wisconsin allows residents to renew via mail for simplicity and convenience.

Who Is not Allowed to Possess Guns in WI?

There are certain individuals Wisconsin prohibits from owning or possessing firearms, including those who:

  • Have been convicted of a felony or were deemed not guilty by reason of insanity
  • Are the subject of restraining orders associated with domestic violence or child abuse
  • Are under the age of 18 years old, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian for firearm training courses or target shooting
  • Have been committed to a mental institution and ordered not to possess a firearm

Additionally, you cannot purchase a firearm in Wisconsin if you are not a resident of the state.

Penalties for Possessing an Illegal Firearm

Illegal firearm ownership can be met with severe penalties in Wisconsin and will vary depending on the nature of the crime. For example:

  • The unlawful carrying of a concealed firearm: Classified as a Class A misdemeanor, this is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and imprisonment for up to 9 months. This can also result in a temporary revocation of your firearm ownership rights.
  • Possessing a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or machine gun: Classified as a Class H felony, this is punishable by up to 6 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. As felons lose their right to carry firearms, if you are convicted of this crime, your gun ownership rights are permanently revoked.
  • Possessing a firearm when prohibited: Classified as a Class G felony, this is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Similarly to possessing an illegal firearm, this felony conviction would prohibit you from possessing a gun permanently.

Have You Been Accused of a Weapons Charge?

With how life-altering the above penalties can be, it’s important to enlist the expertise of a qualified defense lawyer. If you have been charged with a weapons charge, whether it be a concealed carry violation or an illegal possession charge, our legal team at Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella is here to help. With over 20 years of legal experience, our criminal defense attorneys genuinely believe you are innocent until proven guilty, and we are dedicated to supporting you throughout every stage of litigation.

To learn more about how our legal team can support you, call us at (414) 882-8382.