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Felon In Possession Of Firearm   

Under Wisconsin law, it is unlawful for a felon to possess a firearm or for another person to provide a firearm to a felon.

Definition of a Felon in Possession of Firearm

Under Wisconsin law, it is a Felony (Class G Felony meaning maximum 10 years prison and $25,000 fine) for a prohibited person to possess a firearm, or for another person to provide a firearm to a prohibited person.

Who Is a Prohibited Person?

Wisconsin statutory law specifically prohibits certain people from possessing a firearm. Those prohibited persons, as detailed in the statues, are listed below. Prohibited persons may not possess a firearm.

  • Any person who has previously been convicted of a Felony offense in the state of Wisconsin,

  • Any person who has previously been convicted of an offense that would have been classified as a Felony under Wisconsin law,

  • Any person who has previously been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, such as Domestic Disorderly Conduct that includes violence in the criminal complaint.

  • Any person found not guilty, or not criminally responsible, by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect or illness, whether the determination was made in this or another state 941.29(1)(d) unless the court finds the person is no longer insane or no longer has a mental disease, defect or illness, or the court finds the person is not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety 941.29(7).

  • Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm by court order.

  • Any person who has an injunction against them with a no gun order.

Felony Conviction Outside Wisconsin & Prohibited

If a person convicted of a crime in any other state outside Wisconsin would have been charged with a Felony if the crime were committed in Wisconsin, the convicted person is classified as a prohibited person for purposes of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm.

Felony Conviction As Juvenile & Prohibited

If a juvenile convicted of a crime would have been charged with a Felony if he or she were an adult, the juvenile is a prohibited person. For purposes of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm, a juvenile is any person under the age of 18 years, unless a court subsequently determines that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety 942.29(8).

Restraining Order or Injunction Prohibiting Carrying A Firearm

If a Wisconsin Circuit Court Commissioner or a Judge issues an injunction ordering a person to cease or avoid harassing another, to avoid another person's residence, to avoid premises temporarily occupied by another person or otherwise restrains a person by order of a court (injunction), and believes the person could cause harm if in possession of a firearm, then the restrained individual is a prohibited person under the felon in possession statute of the State of Wisconsin. 941.29(2)(e)

Court Orders Prohibiting Possession of Firearm

Any person who has been ordered by a court not to possess a firearm is a prohibited person.

Convicted of a Crime of Domestic Violence or Civil Injunction of Harassment or Domestic Violence

A person who has been convicted of a crime that prohibits him or her from possessing a firearm, such as domestic disorderly conduct that includes violent behavior or has a restraining order against him or her for domestic violence or harassment is a prohibited person. The crime need not have been a Felony.

Felony Conviction

A person previously convicted of a Felony crime is a prohibited person under Wisconsin's statute.  If a person has been convicted of a Felony in another state, they are a prohibited person.   If a person was convicted of a crime that would be a Felony in Wisconsin they are a prohibited person. 

Felony Conviction Under Federal Law

A person convicted of a Felony under Federal law is a prohibited person.

What is a firearm?

The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin defined "firearm" for the possession of firearm by felon statute (Wisconsin Statute 941.29(2)) to mean a weapon that acts by force of gun powder to fire a projectile, irrespective of whether it is inoperable due to disassembly. In that decision, the question before the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin was not 'what constitutes a firearm', but rather, 'is a disassembled gun a firearm under the meaning of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm?' (given that the gun could not fire without being reassembled). The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin affirmed that a firearm that is disassembled is still a firearm.

The legal definition of a firearm with a trigger lock is within the definition of a dangerous weapon under Wisconsin law (sub. (10)). State v. Norris, 214 Wisconsin 2d 25, 571 N.W.2d 857 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-2158.

Under Wisconsin laws, a pellet gun, or an air gun, is not a firearm; however, all guns, regardless of their propulsion material, CAN and ARE considered dangerous weapons if used in a manner that the gun can or does produce great bodily harm or death.

A dangerous weapon includes a gun, a pellet gun, whether loaded or unloaded, locked or unlocked[1], and whether or not the weapon is capable of firing whenever the item is used in a manner consistent with having the potential of causing great bodily harm or death. The legal definition of a 'dangerous weapon' is any item fashioned in a manner and capable of causing great bodily harm or death. A gun is a deadly weapon per se, which means, in short, that it is a deadly weapon regardless of any other fact.

What determines 'possession' of a firearm?

Wisconsin law defines "being in possession of a firearm" as any possession of a firearm when the person knowingly has control over a firearm, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded, whether the firearm is locked or unlocked, and for any period of time regardless how minimal the amount of time. That possession is illegal if the person is prohibited from the possession. Possession also includes handling, unless the handling is privileged. [2] A 'privilege' under the law means, in short, that even though the act would otherwise be illegal, it is allowed because the person has the privilege of performing the act without violating the law.

Wisconsin Criminal Law - Felon In Possession Defense Lawyer

Attorney Mike Rudolph has represented people charged with Felon in Possession many times in his thirty-plus years as a criminal defense attorney. If you are under investigation for a Felon in Possession charge, or if you have already been charged, please contact Attorney Michael Rudolph.

State of Wisconsin v. Antes, 74 Wisconsin 2d 317, 246 NW2d 671 (1976), an unloaded pellet gun qualified as a "dangerous weapon" under sub. (10) in that it was designed as a weapon and, when used as a bludgeon, was capable of producing great bodily harm.
Wisconsin Statute 939.45. State v. Black, 2001 WI 31, 242 Wisconsin 2d 126, 624 N.W.2d 363, 99-0230.

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