For the most part, being convicted of a misdemeanor in Wisconsin won’t take away your right to own and possess a gun, so if you get into a bar fight, you can still hunt (unless you are on probation for it).  There is a federal law, though, that can jump in and interfere with those rights. Under federal law (18 U.S.C. Sec. 922(g)(9), if you’re interested), it is a crime to possess a gun (or ammo) if you are convicted of any state law “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” Federal law defines that as an offense that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.” 18 U.S.C. Sec. 921(a)(33)(A)(ii). So a domestic battery would qualify, and a domestic Disorderly Conduct may qualify, because one way of committing D.C. is through violent acts.

On November 18, 2009, a federal appeals court decided the scope of this law as it applies to Wisconsin domestic misdemeanors. The case is U.S. v. Skoien, and you can read it here. Relying heavily on a Supreme Court case named Heller, the Skoien Court held that you do not permanently and automatically lose your Second Amendment rights upon a misdemeanor domestic conviction (like you do if you are convicted of a felony), but left open the question of whether those rights could be restricted in some manner. The implication is that the law needs to have some limits, which it currently doesn’t. The court does not say what those limits should be, nor does it rule on whether this law is or isn’t constitutional. Instead, it spends many pages explaining how some other court should decide the issue. That other court will be the district court in Madison. Once that court decides, the case may get appealed again, back to this court, to see if the decision was correct.  Until then, the law stands.

One suggestion for you though. This case stresses that the strongest part of your gun rights are your rights to self defense, so you might want to emphasize that aspect of it if you are confronted with a situation where you are asked to justify your possession of a gun.


“has, as an element,
the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened
use of a deadly weapon”

BadgerLawyer is starting a radio ad campaign on 95.7, The Rock. Yeah, that’s the music I listened to back when I was doing pipeline construction down in Georgia in the ’80’s. Have a listen!

BadgerLawyer this week secured dismissal for a client in a carrying a concealed weapons case.

Badger Lawyer has been preparing for months for a Burglary and Theft trial. We pushed. We prepared. We pressured. We thought up a dozen ways to win the case, but the one that happened we never saw coming.

A week before trial, the DA just up and dismissed the charges.  Poof.  Case over.

Now I’m kinda sad that I didn’t get to go to trial, because I do love trial and I was all ready for this one. But our client didn’t mind at all.

Only one trial still scheduled for 2009!