Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated February 10, 2012
In our publication Gun Laws Matter 2012: Understanding the Link Between Weak Laws and Gun Violence, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 29 different firearms-related policy areas. Wisconsin ranked 15th out of 50 – having enacted modest gun violence prevention laws. Among other things, Wisconsin:
- Imposes a 48-hour waiting period on handgun sales from licensed dealers;
- Performs its own background checks on handgun sales at licensed dealers, rather than relying on the FBI;
- Imposes some regulations on handgun dealers; and
- Requires mental health records be sent to the database used for firearm purchaser background checks.
However, in 2011, Wisconsin enacted a law requiring law enforcement to issue a license to carry a concealed firearm in public to any individual who meets certain basic requirements. In addition, Wisconsin does not:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private, unlicensed parties;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Regulate unsafe handguns (“junk guns” or “Saturday night specials”);
- Significantly regulate ammunition sales; or
- Provide local governments with authority to regulate firearms.
In 2009, Wisconsin had the 11th lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Wisconsin had the 15th lowest rate of crime gun exports among the states – meaning that crime guns originally sold in Wisconsin were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 15th lowest rate among the states.
Wisconsin Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Wisconsin, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.