I Have a Criminal Record in Wisconsin, Can I Own a Gun?

Firearm Purchase

I Have a Criminal Record in Wisconsin, Can I Own a Gun?

Purchasing and owning a gun is a right for most adults in Wisconsin. However, there are instances in which a criminal record can affect those rights.

Will a criminal record prevent you from owning a gun in Wisconsin? The answer to that depends on the specifics of your record. 

Owning a Gun with a Criminal Record in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Council, the law prohibits certain individuals from owning firearms in Wisconsin. They include:

  • Individuals who have been convicted of felonies in Wisconsin
  • Individuals who have been convicted of crimes in other states that, if they had been committed in Wisconsin, would have qualified as felonies
  • Individuals who have been adjudicated delinquent for acts that would qualify as felonies if committed by adults in Wisconsin
  • Individuals found not guilty of felonies in Wisconsin due to mental diseases or defects
  • Individuals found not guilty of acts in other states due to mental diseases or defects if those acts would qualify as felonies in Wisconsin

Thus, having a criminal record in Wisconsin may prevent you from legally purchasing and/or owning a firearm. Whether a criminal record affects your right to own a gun depends on the nature of the conviction. For example, a misdemeanor conviction typically won’t prevent you from purchasing a gun unless what was a misdemeanor in another state is a felony in Wisconsin.

Is it Possible to Restore Firearm Rights with a Criminal Record in Wisconsin?

A previous felony conviction doesn’t need to prevent you from ever being able to legally purchase or own a firearm in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, you may purchase a firearm if you receive a pardon from the Governor. 

Penalties for Owning a Firearm with a Criminal Record in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, if someone with a previous felony conviction possesses a firearm in Wisconsin, they may be guilty of a Class G felony. Potential penalties for a Class G felony include:

  • A fine of up to $25,000
  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • Both

According to Wisconsin Jury Instruction 1343, to convict someone of owning a gun as a felon, the prosecution must only show the following:

  • An individual knowingly had possession (physical control) of a firearm and
  • The individual has been convicted of a felony prior to being in possession of the firearm.

A gun doesn’t have to be loaded for a felon to illegally possess a firearm. Someone may be guilty of possessing a firearm even if the gun is not capable of being fired. 

Contact a Waukesha, Wisconsin, Criminal Defense Attorney

Are you facing charges for possessing a gun while you have a felony conviction on your record in Wisconsin? Or would you like to request a pardon so a criminal record doesn’t prevent you from purchasing a firearm? In either case, having a lawyer on your side is essential. At Waukesha Criminal Defense, a Wisconsin gun crime defense lawyer is available to offer the assistance you need. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 262-518-9816 today.