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Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Wisconsin has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license or permit. However, before a firearms dealer may offer a handgun for sale, the dealer must register each handgun store he or she owns or operates with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”).1 DOJ will provide the dealer with a unique dealer identification number for each store.2

Wisconsin has established procedures for handgun dealers to follow when complying with state background check requirements for the transfer of any handgun.3 The state also requires handgun dealers to retain certain forms regarding handgun sales.

 See the Wisconsin Background Check Procedures and Maintaining Records sections for further information. 

Firearms dealers must provide to all firearm purchasers a written warning in block letters not less than one-fourth inch in height, stating: “IF YOU LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN THE REACH OR EASY ACCESS OF A CHILD YOU MAY BE FINED OR IMPRISONED OR BOTH IF THE CHILD IMPROPERLY DISCHARGES, POSSESSES OR EXHIBITS THE FIREARM.”4


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  1. Wis. Admin. Code Jus § 10.04(1).[]
  2. Id.[]
  3. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g); Wis. Admin. Code Jus § 10.01 et seq. “Handgun dealer” means a firearms dealer (person engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing or dealing in firearms and having a license as an importer, manufacturer or dealer issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, per Wis. Stat. § 175.35(1)(ar) who offers one or more handguns for sale. Wis. Admin. Code Jus § 10.03(7).[]
  4. Wis. Stat. § 175.37(1).[]