Child gun laws in Wisconsin

Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Police tape marks the scene where 13-year old Giovonnie G. Cameron was shot and killed near Lincoln Park in Milwaukee on July 8.

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Editor’s note: This information is accurate as of Sept. 18, 2020. Fact-checked by Anna Hansen. / Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin gun laws prohibit children from possessing firearms, with few exceptions. And adults who leave firearms easily accessible to children could face jail time. Highlights include:

  • Allowing a child younger than 14 access to a firearm without permission of a parent or guardian is a misdemeanor if the child uses that gun to harm anyone or to show it off in a public place, unless that gun was safely stored.
  • Firearm retailers are required to provide each buyer with a written statement warning that if they leave a loaded firearm within reach of a child they could be fined or imprisoned.
  • Possession of a gun by anyone under 18 is a misdemeanor, unless that gun is being used for target practice, hunting or the child is a member of the armed forces.
  • No one under the age of 12 is allowed to hunt with a gun.
  • Giving, loaning or selling a dangerous weapon to someone under 18 is a felony and carries a sentence of up to 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine unless the firearm is used for target practice or hunting. If that gun is used in a homicide or suicide, the person can be charged with a felony carrying up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Students who bring a firearm to school are expelled for one year and may have their driver’s license suspended for two years.
  • Anyone except a law enforcement officer who carries a firearm on school grounds is guilty of a felony, punishable by 3 ½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The Assembly and the Senate have approved a bill that would allow off-duty and former police officers to carry weapons on school grounds.
  • Firing a gun in a school zone can result in a felony, with a maximum $25,000 fine or 10 years in prison.


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