2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
January 27, 2015 - Introduced by Representatives Knodl, Allen, August,
Brandtjen, Craig, Czaja, Gannon, Jarchow, Kapenga, Kleefisch, Knudson,
Mursau, Neylon, Petersen, Quinn, Ripp, Sanfelippo, Skowronski, Steffen,
Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Weatherston and Murtha, cosponsored by Senators Nass,
Gudex, Lasee, Wanggaard and Tiffany. Referred to Committee on Criminal
Justice and Public Safety.
1An Act to amend
968.20 (1m) (b) and 968.20 (2); and to create
968.20 (1m) (d) 2
of the statutes; relating to: the return of a seized firearm to the person who
3owns the firearm.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law specifies a process and criteria for courts and police officers to use
to determine ownership of property that has been seized by a police officer and to
decide if, how, and when to return the seized property. Under this bill, if a person
claims the right to possess a firearm that has been seized, he or she may apply to the
court for its return. If a person makes such a claim, the court must order the firearm
returned if one of the following occurs: all charges connected with the seizure are
dismissed; six months have elapsed since the seizure and no charges in connection
with it have been filed against the person; the final disposition for all charges is
reached and the person is not adjudged guilty of a crime in connection with the
seizure; the person establishes that he or she had no prior knowledge of and gave no
consent to the commission of the activity that led to the seizure; or the district
attorney affirmatively declines to file charges connected with the seizure against the
person. If the person applies to the court within eight business days after the
applicable event occurs, the court must order that the firearm be returned within ten
business days of the event. If the person applies to the court later than eight business
days after the applicable event occurs, the court must order that the firearm be
returned as soon as practically possible but no later than five business days after the
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
968.20 (1m) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) If the seized property is a dangerous weapon or ammunition, 3
the property shall not be returned to any person who committed a crime involving 4
the use of the dangerous weapon or the ammunition. The
5(c) Except as provided in par. (d), seized
that is a dangerous weapon
may be returned to the rightful owner under this section if the owner 7
had no prior knowledge of and gave no consent to the commission of the crime.
Property which may not be returned to an owner under this subsection shall 9
be disposed of under subs. (3) and (4).
968.20 (1m) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
(d) 1. If the seized property is a firearm and the property has not 12
been returned under this section, any person claiming the right to possession of the 13
firearm may apply for its return to the circuit court for the county in which the 14
property was seized or where the search warrant was returned. The court shall order 15
the property returned to the person who displays evidence of ownership of the 16
firearm if one of the following occurs:
a. The district attorney affirmatively declines to file charges in connection with 18
the seizure against the person.
b. All charges filed in connection with the seizure against the person are 20
c. Six months have passed since the seizure and no charges in connection with 2
the seizure are filed against the person.
d. The trial court reaches final disposition for all charges in connection with the 4
seizure and the person is not adjudged guilty of a crime in connection with the 5
e. The person establishes that he had no prior knowledge of and gave no consent 7
to the commission of the activity that led to the seizure.
2. If the person claims the right of possession within 8 business days after the 9
applicable event under subd. 1. a., b., c., d., or e., the court shall order the property 10
to be returned to the person within 10 business days after the event. If the person 11
claims the right of possession later than 8 business days after the applicable event 12
under subd. 1. a., b., c., d., or e., the court shall order the property to be returned to 13
the person as soon as practically possible but no later than 5 business days after the 14
968.20 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
Property not required for evidence or use in further investigation, 17
unless contraband or property covered under sub. (1m) (c)
or (1r) or s. 173.12 or 18
968.205, may be returned by the officer to the person from whom it was seized 19
without the requirement of a hearing.
(1) This act first applies to firearms seized on the effective date of this 22