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Wisconsin gun laws: Machine gun regulations

Wisconsin residents need to know their gun laws if they want to avoid unintentionally getting into trouble. One area of the law that could be subject to changes from year to year relates to machine guns, which are currently considered illegal in the state. Gun owners should review the following rules and regulations pertaining to machine guns to ensure that they don't get into trouble with state and local law enforcement regarding the firearms they possess and carry.

It is unlawful to transport, possess or sell a machine gun or fully automatic weapon unless these actions are performed in strict alignment with applicable gun laws. The term "machine gun" in this context relates to any firearm that can automatically shoot -- or automatically be rearmed to shoot -- over one shot at a time without the need to manually reload, simply by pulling the trigger of the weapon.

There are some exemptions to the above ban. For example, machine guns are exempt if they are:

  • Being used for a qualifying scientific purpose.
  • Not operational or usable but merely being held as a keepsake or curiosity.
  • When it can be proved that the possession of the machine gun is not manifestly offensive or aggressive other than one that is adapted for pistol cartridges.
  • Sold, used, possessed or transported with the express authorization of the chief of police of a Wisconsin city or the sheriff of a Wisconsin county.

Determining by yourself whether or not you are exempt from the machine gun -- without legal training or assistance -- is particularly risky. Machine gun laws and other gun regulations and bans are not always perfectly clear-cut. As such, if you have questions about the laws that apply to machine guns in Wisconsin, you may want to seek a professional legal opinion.

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