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Constitutional Carry in Wisconsin?

How close are Wisconsinites to carrying without a permit?

A new bill passed the Wisconsin State Senate Judiciary Committee on 3-2 party line vote earlier this month. That approval cleared the way for the full Senate to consider the bill sometime next month. The bill would allow individuals to lawfully carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is currently illegal.  If you’re facing this, or any other criminal charge, contact Meyer Van Severen immediately.  Our top Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys regularly defend firearm cases.


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 (it does not matter if the weapon is loaded);
  •  a 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; or
  • 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.

Importantly, even with a CCW permit, possession of your firearm is illegal in certain locations.  You cannot possess a firearm in a police station, courthouse, or beyond security at the airport.  Further, no one may have a firearm or other dangerous weapon on a school premises unless a statutory exception applies.

Finally, it is 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.


The New Right to Carry Law

Under the new proposal, there wouldn’t be a license requirement for someone to carry a concealed weapon. There 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. Of course, this is subject to the restrictions imposed by certain locations.


Reaction to the New Proposal

Wisconsin is 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 sign the bill.

Wisconsin bill allows firearm possession
Wisconsinites are closer than ever to being able to possess firearms without a permit.

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.  That law requires a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon.    If you’re charged for carrying a concealed weapon, hire a top Wisconsin criminal defense attorney.  And do so immediately.  Carrying a concealed weapon is a serious charge.  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.

Attorney Ben Van Severen