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Not guilty! Attorney Christopher Van Wagner won an outright acquittal (not guilty verdict) for his client, Robert Meng, who had confessed to the murder.

Not guilty! Attorney Tracey Wood won an outright acquittal for her client that had been accused of federal theft and conspiracy.

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Felon In Possession of firearm

Van Wagner & Wood, S.C.
criminal & dui defense

felon prohibited from possessing firearm

Under Wisconsin law, it is a felony (Class G felony) for a prohibited person to possess a firearm, or for another person to provide a firearm to a prohibited person.

What is a firearm? Definition Of A Firearm In Wisconsin

The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin defined "firearm" in the possession of firearm by felon statute (Wisconsin Statute 941.29(2)) to mean a weapon that acts by force of gun powder to fire a projectile, irrespective of whether it is inoperable due to disassembly. In that decision, the question before the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin was not 'what constitutes a firearm', but rather, 'is a disassembled gun a firearm under the meaning of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm?' (given that the gun could not fire without being reassembled). The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin affirmed that a firearm that is disassembled is still a firearm.

See Frequently Asked Questions About Firearms, Felons & Hunting in Wisconsin.

Prohibited Person - who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under wisconsin laws

Wisconsin statutory law specifically prohibits certain people from possessing a firearm. Those prohibited persons, as detailed in the statues, are listed below. Prohibited persons may not possess a firearm.

  • Any person who has previously been convicted of a felony offense in the state of Wisconsin,
  • Any person who has previously been convicted of an offense that would have been classified as a felony under Wisconsin law,
  • Any person who has previously been convicted of a non-felony violent crime, such as Domestic Disorderly Conduct,
  • Any person found not guilty, or not criminally responsible, by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect or illness, whether the determination was made in this or another state, and
  • Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm by court order.

Convicted of Felony outside wisconsin

If a person convicted of a crime in any other state outside Wisconsin would have been charged with a felony if the crime were committed in Wisconsin, the convicted person is classified as a prohibited person for purposes of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm.

juvenile convicted of felony offense

If a juvenile convicted of a crime would have been charged with a felony if he or she were an adult, the juvenile is a prohibited person. For purposes of the statute prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm, a juvenile is any person under the age of 18 years.

restraining order or injunction prohibiting carrying a firearm

If a Wisconsin Circuit Court Commissioner or Judge issues an injunction ordering a person to cease or avoid harassing another, to avoid another person's residence, to avoid premises temporarily occupied by another person or otherwise restrains a person by order of a court (injunction), and believes the person could cause harm if in possession of a firearm, then the restrained individual is a prohibited person under the felon in possession statute of the State of Wisconsin.

Court Orders Prohibiting Possession of Firearm

Any person who has been ordered by a court not to possess a firearm is a prohibited person.

Convicted of violence or non-criminal violent offense

A person who has not been convicted of a felony, but has been convicted of a crime that prohibits him or her from possessing a firearm, such as a domestic disorderly conduct offense or criminal harassment is a prohibited person. A Judge can, at his or her discretion, include a provision in any court order prohibiting possession a firearm if the evidence suggests that the person may cause harm to another person or property. Temporary restraining orders in domestic violence cases) can (and usually do) include provisions prohibiting the restrained person from possessing a firearm.

Felony Conviction

A person previously convicted of a felony crime is a prohibited person under Wisconsin's statute prohibiting felons from possessing a firearm.

Felony under federal law

A person convicted of a felony under Federal law is a prohibited person.

Possession Of A Firearm

Wisconsin law defines "being in possession of a firearm" as any possession of a firearm when he or she knowingly has control over a firearm, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded, whether the firearm is locked or unlocked, and for any period of time regardless how minimal the time frame. That possession is illegal if the person is prohibited from the possession. Possession also includes handling, unless the handling is privileged. [citation] A 'privilege' under the law means, in short, that even though the act would otherwise be illegal, it is allowed because the person has the privilege of performing the act without violating the law.

Possession Qualifies As A Felony For Another Felony

If the possession of a firearm is illegal, then any subsequent offense committed during possession is subject to the felony provisions of that crime. In other words, if a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm, and during possession commits another crime, then the crime committed while in possession is a crime committed during the commission of a felony. If a homicide occurs by a felon who is in possession of a firearm, the resulting charge will be Felony Murder.

Felon in possession of a firearm in a violation of Wisconsin Statute WI 941.29, and is a crime against persons or property that may be an underlying felony for a burglary charge. State v. Steele, 2001 WI App 34, 241 Wisconsin 2d 269, 625 N.W.2d 525, 00-0190

CAUTION: Under Wisconsin laws, a pellet gun, or an air gun, is not a firearm; however, all guns, regardless of their propulsion material, CAN and ARE considered dangerous weapons if used in a manner that the gun can or does produce great bodily harm or death.

A dangerous weapon includes a gun, a pellet gun, whether loaded or unloaded, locked or unlocked [citation] , and whether or not the weapon is capable of firing whenever the item is used in a manner consistent with having the potential of causing great bodily harm or death. The legal definition of a 'dangerous weapon' is any item fashioned in a manner and capable of causing great bodily harm or death. A gun is a deadly weapon per se, which means, in short, that it is a deadly weapon regardless of any other fact.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers

Attorney Chris Van Wagner has handled hundreds of felony trials in his twenty-plus years as an attorney. His trial cases have ranged from low-level offenses to kidnapping, homicide and felon in possession. Chris has handled matters in rural and urban counties, not to mention the hardened criminal courtrooms of Chicago, Illinois and Trenton, New Jersey, winning cases he was expected to lose quickly.

Attorney Tracey Wood has handled hundreds of felony trials and appeals ranging from drunk driving to felony vehicular homicide. She won an outright acquittal in a case that made the national headlines a few years ago, when her client was cleared of any wrongdoing in a wide-ranging and emboldened conspiracy scheme that actually stole missile launchers and military tanks from the Ft. McCoy military base in northern Wisconsin. All but one other defendant in that case went to federal prison for years for theft and conspiracy.

In addition to this solid and successful trial history, Chris and Tracey have also argued and won appeals to the state and federal courts.

Many criminal defense lawyers never experience the thrill of an outright acquittal in their career, and yet Van Wagner & Woods lawyers have won several for their clients. Their record clearly reflects their hard work, their intelligent and professional approach to their cases, and their skill in developing a strategy that fits an individual clients case, while drawing upon their knowledge, experience and skill from past cases.

Free Initial Consultation

If you are under investigation for a crime or drunk driving offense, if you have already been charged with a crime or drunk driving violation, or if you have already been convicted but believe your conviction or your sentence were wrong, please call Attorney Chris Van Wagner or Attorney Tracey Wood at or nationally or e-mail ( ) for a free initial consultant with an experienced, aggressive lawyer who really can help you obtain the best outcome possible.