Pepper ball guns and felony convictions

A relative of mine has a non-violent felony conviction. This prevents him from owning a firearm.

In Wisconsin, could he and his wife (my daughter) own a pepper ball gun for self defense?

Does anybody know? I don’t think felons can have pepper SPRAY in our lovely state. But what about a pepper ball gun?

Thanks if anyone has knowledge of this.


Is a background check required to purchase one?


Not in WI. you can buy it off the shelf or over the internet.


Is he still on probation? You could call USCCA and see if they have any info on that or they may want to add that to the map.
I have found nothing specific on a search but it “may be” legal inside the home but not for outside carry. :man_shrugging:
These are still fairly new in the civilian market so not much for precedent. BTW I own one.


I bought one at our local gun range, no drivers license or background check needed, just pay the cash and walk out the door. So my son-in-law could’ve certainly purchased one, but I’m trying to figure out if he’s going to get in trouble if I give this to them to keep in their home.


He completed his probation last summer. And his felony conviction was a plea deal for stupid things he did when he was under age. Unbelievable.


At a Federal level I believe he can. BUT, every state is different so research into state and local laws is the key to answering this question. Also I would urge him to become a member of the USCCA for sure. If he ever has to use it for SD he will most certainly need legal representation because I can almost guarantee you his previous conviction will come to haunt him.


Thanks, Enzo - I’ve been trying to find something at the state level and it’s just not very clear. I’m not even sure he could carry pepper spray, and if so whether or not a pepper ball CO2 gun would even fall under that description.

And I openly wonder (I’ll check on this) if someone with a past felony conviction can join USCCA. Interesting thought.

Still researching. Thanks much!!!


I haven’t seen anything that says you can’t. Even ex-felons have a right to defend themselves and the USCCA provides education and a SD insurance benefit that protect any member that commits a lawful act(s) of SD with any weapon they can posses at a federal level.

But call the 800 number and ask them. They have world class Customer Reps that will give you the correct answer.


The way to be sure is to consult an attorney.

For non-professional research, I recommend looking up the actual laws, federal and/or state, prohibiting firearm possession or access as a felon. Following that, look up the legal definition of firearm as used in those laws, and see if the item in question meets that definition. I suspect it won’t but given what’s on the line, I recommend the relative ask an attorney. Might cost a little money but, again, given what’s on the line, go for the legal expert.

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

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So I did, and here’s what I found out:

*USCCA will help defend members who used a weapon they are legally capable of possessing. And anyone can join. Ok, checkbox #1.

*They also pointed me to a 2A-friendly attorney who called me on the phone within a few minutes of inquiring on their website. In Wisconsin, anyone, including people with felony convictions, can own a weapon that uses a compressed gas like CO2. This includes pepper ball guns and pellet guns. He can have CO2 guns in his home, open-carry on his person, or openly placed within his vehicle. No concealed either out and about or in his car/truck.

I had some doubt about pepper guns as felons cannot carry pepper spray. Mister Attorney said it’s not the same for CO2 propelled pepper guns. Those are OK.

So the pepper-ball gun I bought for him and his wife (MY DAUGHTER) is OK in their home, as is any CO2 pellet pistol or rifle.

That certainly opens up some possibilities. Not as good as a .380 or 9mm, but better than nothing!


Have you researched your daughter owning and possessing and having access to a locked/secured firearm in the home within a safe that only she has access to?

BTW for the USCCA membership benefit the relevant exclusion would be possession in violation of federal law, a weapon possessed illegally under state law does not in and of itself exclude potential coverage for a lawful act of self defense not otherwise excluded.

But convicted felon is federally prohibited so in this case, excluded if possessed in violation of that

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Yep - mister attorney and I discussed that as well. He said that as long as an actual firearm is in a safe, be it biometric or a code, that only my daughter has access to, she could have that for her own defense.

At least in Wisconsin.


I cannot imagine any DA buying into the “only my daughter had access” argument. Be very cautious.

To the Op…But an Attorney would know…

That is a thing, actually. It’s about access to the firearm. If it’s locked in a safe…and felon indeed does not have access…that might be okay. I suppose it’s an “it depends” ask an attorney details matter etc, but it’s a route that may be available and is good to explore (ask an attorney)

There is talk about this on the USCCA website in the Protector Academy in the Ask an Attorney series but it’s likely in an episode that requires Elite membership to see so not all will have it.

OP seems to have talked directly to an attorney about this as well.

In their situation, I think the best approach is 1) A house that is hard to break in to, and 2) A nice big can of bear spray. The bear spray I gave them has a range of about 20 feet and emits a heavy fog of pepper extracts. It seems to me that aiming would be about as critical as a shotgun, easier to impact an intruder than a pepper ball gun, and very debilitating.

Of course with bear spray, you are likely to get hit with it as well as it drifts about the house.

No perfect solutions.

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On that, I have this suggestion:

I’ve been sprayed with Sabre and it sucked. This is a large high capacity can and it’s a gel, so aiming is more critical, but blowback is lessened.


Folks please keep in mind that bear spray is meant and designed for outdoor use. It puts out a voluminous amount of spray that’s capable of filling a whole room with a caustic cloud of fog in seconds. There are better options for indoor use unless you also have a gas mask handy :grin:.


While not appropriate for carry or concealment, a crossbow or even a crossbow pistol are good options for those prohibited firearms, in addition to the pepperball guns.

I bought one of the 80lb pistol crossbows and have to say that I would not want to be on the wrong end of one. While one bolt may not kill someone, it sure will make one think twice, in addition to ruining their whole day.