Private sales of handguns to individuals age 18 are allowed in Wisconsin, as long as the buyer and seller live in Wisconsin and the buyer is not otherwise prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal law.
Federal firearms licensed dealers, however, are prohibited by federal law from selling a handgun to anyone under 21.
Twenty-two states, including Iowa and Illinois, have laws that prohibit handgun sales to people under 21, according to the anti gun-violence group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Wisconsin does not.
Democratic state lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced legislation in June 2023 to require background checks on all gun sales. Currently, background checks are required only in sales made by federally licensed gun dealers — not private sales.
Republicans control the Wisconsin Legislature and have declined to implement universal background checks in the past.
This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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