Constitutional Carry in Wisconsin?

A new bill has passed the Wisconsin State Senate Judiciary Committee on 3-2 party line votes earlier this month. This approval cleared the way for the full Senate to consider the bill sometime next month. The bill would allow individuals to lawfully carry a firearm without a permit. This post by criminal defense attorney Benjamin T. Van Severen will examine the current law and explain the changes brought by the potential new law.

Concealed Carry Law

Currently, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a class-A misdemeanor in Wisconsin. Regulated in Section 941.23 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the law focuses on the carrying of a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon includes the following:
– any firearm, whether that firearm is loaded or unloaded;
– any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
– any device/instrumentality designed and intended to produce death or great bodily harm;
– any electric weapon.

Under the current law, anyone who carries a concealed weapon must obtain a permit and receive training. Additionally, there are other restrictions, such as the person cannot be a felon or otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm.

It is important to note that even if you have a concealed carry permit, under current law you are prohibited from carrying your weapon in certain locations, such as a police station, courthouse, or beyond a security checkpoint in an airport. Further, no one may have a firearm or other dangerous weapon on a school premises unless a statutory exception applies.

It is also illegal for anyone to be armed with a firearm, loaded or unloaded, with or without a CCW permit, if that person is under the influence of an intoxicant or other restricted controlled substance. If you or a friend have been charged under the current law, one of our criminal defense lawyers can be contacted at (414) 270-0202.

The New Right to Carry Law

Under the new proposal, there would no longer be a license requirement for someone to carry a concealed weapon. There also would be no training requirement, though lawmakers still encourage people to obtain training. The law would remove the restriction from state law that someone cannot carry a firearm into a school or a police station. Rather, each school and police agency would have to impose their own restrictions on the carrying of weapons on their property. The law states that the penalty for violating the law would be misdemeanor trespassing if carried in the building and a forfeiture if carried on the property. Finally, the law will remove all restrictions on stun guns and other electric weapons. This means that as long as you are legally able to carry a firearm, you can legally carry an electric weapon.

A final note on open carry: Under current law, a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm may openly carry that firearm. This new law proposal will do nothing to modify a person’s right to openly carry a firearm subject to the restrictions imposed by certain locations.

Reaction to the New Proposal

The current law was instituted in 2011, making Wisconsin one of the last states to regulate the concealed carry of weapons. Currently, there are twelve states that allow concealed carry without permits.
Reaction to this proposal has been generally negative, especially in the City of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stated “I strongly disagree that Wisconsin needs to completely walk away from the 2011 concealed carry law that required individuals to get a permit before being allowed to carry a concealed weapon… Easy access to deadly firearms and the crimes committed with those weapons is a major public safety concern for citizens and police officers and a strain on City resources. I respectfully ask the full State Senate, the Assembly and the Governor to say “no” to Senate Bill 169.”

Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson expressed reservations about the bill. He was concerned that criminals who could legally carry a firearm would carry the weapons for felons who cannot possess firearms.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was in favor of the measure, stating “Senate Bill 169 represents a reasonable policy decision by the Legislature and it is not inconsistent with case law which has strengthened this right.” Governor Walker has not issued a statement as to whether or not he would sign the bill if it arrived on his desk.

What this means for you?

As of today, the law has not passed. Therefore, we are all still subject to the current concealed carry law, which requires a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon. If you are charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Our team of Milwaukee defense lawyers has experience handling these charges throughout the state. Call one of our defense attorneys today for a free consultation.