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Wisconsin generally prohibits selling, possessing, using, or transporting any machine gun or other fully automatic firearm.1 The state also prohibits modifying a firearm so that it discharges more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.2

These prohibitions do not apply to, among other things, the restoration of such weapons by a person having a license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to collect firearms as curios or relics.3

Manufacturers of machine guns must keep a register of all such guns that shows the model and serial number; date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery, or receipt; name, address and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given, or delivered or from whom it was received; and the purpose for which it was acquired.4 Manufacturers must also allow any marshal, sheriff or police officer to inspect the stock of machine guns, parts, and supplies, and must produce the register for inspection.5

“Machine gun” means:

  • Any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger;
  • The frame, receiver or any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting any weapon into a of any machine gun or “full automatic firearm;” or
  • Any combination of parts from which a machine gun or “full automatic firearm” can be assembled, if those parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”6

The aforementioned machine gun restrictions do not prohibit possession of a machine gun for any scientific purpose, possession as a curiosity, ornament, or keepsake (if the gun is not usable as a weapon), or possession (other than a machine gun adapted to use pistol cartridges) for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.7

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.8 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019.9

 See our Machine Gun policy summary for comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

  1. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(1)(a).[]
  2. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(1m).[]
  3. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(3).[]
  4. Wis. Stat. § 941.25.[]
  5. Id.[]
  6. Wis. Stat. § 941.25.[]
  7. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(5).[]
  8. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).[]
  9. Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, 479).[]