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An Incomplete Guide to Conceal Carry, Transports, and Various NFA Weapons in Wisconsin

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Not Quite Everything You Need to Know about Wisconsin Gun Laws

Wisconsin Conceal Carry LawsWisconsin laws governing conceal carry, transport, and NFA weapons are confusing, and we are commonly asked questions on them. In order to help you with some of the laws out there for your reference, Milwaukee’s top conceal carry lawyers at Grieve Law wanted to take some time to put them together in one place.

It is important to remember two things:

First, this is a very incomplete guide meant to function as a convenient reference for some common questions. Not every law you need to know in order to legally carry or transport weapons is included here.

Second, we will do our best to update this page. However, it is up to you to update yourself. DO NOT ACCEPT THIS PAGE AS LEGAL AUTHORITY.

If you notice this page is out of date or you want to submit helpful additions or clarifications, please let us know.

What does Wisconsin law say about carrying a concealed weapon?

Wis. Stat. 941.23(2) Any person, other than one of the following, who carries a concealed and dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:

(a) A peace officer, but notwithstanding s. 939.22, for purposes of this paragraph, peace officer does not include a commission warden who is not a state-certified commission warden.

(b) A qualified out-of-state law enforcement officer. This paragraph applies only if all of the following apply:

1. The weapon is a firearm but is not a machine gun or a destructive device.

2. The officer is not carrying a firearm silencer.

3. The officer is not under the influence of an intoxicant.

(c) A former officer. This paragraph applies only if all of the following apply:

1. The former officer has been issued a photographic identification document described in sub. (3) (b) 1. or both of the following:

a. A photographic identification document described in sub. (3) (b) 2. (intro.).

b. An identification card described in sub. (3) (b) 2. a., if the former officer resides in this state, or a certification described in sub. (3) (b) 2. b., if the former officer resides in another state.

2. The weapon is a firearm that is of the type described in a photographic identification document described in subd. 1. (intro.) or a card or certification described in subd. 1. b.

3. Within the preceding 12 months, the former officer met the standards of the state in which he or she resides for training and qualification for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms.

4. The weapon is not a machine gun or a destructive device.

5. The former officer is not carrying a firearm silencer.

6. The former officer is not under the influence of an intoxicant.

7. The former officer is not prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm.

(d) A licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (d), or an out-of-state licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (g), if the dangerous weapon is a weapon, as defined under s. 175.60 (1) (j). An individual formerly licensed under s. 175.60 whose license has been suspended or revoked under s. 175.60 (14) may not assert his or her refusal to accept a notice of revocation or suspension mailed under s. 175.60 (14) (b) 1. as a defense to prosecution under this subsection, regardless of whether the person has complied with s. 175.60 (11) (b) 1.

(e) An individual who carries a concealed and dangerous weapon, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (j), in his or her own dwelling or place of business or on land that he or she owns, leases, or legally occupies.

What does this actually mean? Please translate the Legalese to Plain English.

Milwaukee Gun LawyerCarrying a concealed weapon is illegal unless you fit into one of the exceptions (such as having a concealed carry license).

If you have a concealed carry license and are not a former, current, or out-of-state law enforcement officer, etc, with the proper credentials, then this is your law:

941.23(2)(d)

(d) A licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (d), or an out-of-state licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (g), if the dangerous weapon is a weapon, as defined under s. 175.60 (1) (j). An individual formerly licensed under s. 175.60 whose license has been suspended or revoked under s. 175.60 (14) may not assert his or her refusal to accept a notice of revocation or suspension mailed under s. 175.60 (14) (b) 1. as a defense to prosecution under this subsection, regardless of whether the person has complied with s. 175.60 (11) (b) 1.

This is a lot of statutes. What does this say?

If you lose your license to carry a concealed weapon for any number of reasons, you may not refuse to accept notice that your license has been revoked or suspended as a defense to illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

Can a short-barreled rifle be a dangerous weapon as defined by statute?

No. Weapon means a handgun, an electric weapon, or a billy club. (Wisconsin Statute 175.60(1)(j)(j)). Handgun means any weapon designed or redesigned, or made or remade, and intended to be fired while held in one hand and to use the energy of an explosive to expel a projectile through a smooth or rifled bore. “Handgun" does not include a machine gun, a short-barreled rifle, or a short-barreled shotgun. (Wisconsin Statute 175.60(1)(bm)(bm)) You can find the exact definition of a short-barreled rifle under Wisconsin Statute 941.28(1)(b).

Can you carry a concealed weapon in your home, business, or land that you own?

Yes. You may carry a concealed and dangerous weapon in your home, business, or land that you own. (Wisconsin Statute 941.23(2)(e))

Can I conceal carry a rifle?

The laws seem to prohibit someone from concealing a rifle or anything other than those weapons defined at 175.60(1)(j).

What does “carry” mean?

To carry is defined as “to go armed with.”

What does “to go armed with” mean? It means to carry.

This is not a joke; it is just a roundabout answer. The similar terms possessing, carrying, and going armed can sometimes have gray areas. Generally courts have defined this to mean on one’s person or within one’s reach.

In addition to statutes, cases in front of the Court of Appeals and Wisconsin Supreme Court have tried to further define these terms. In State v. Hamdan, a 2003 case, the Court held that it is not a violation to carry a concealed weapon in your home, place of business, etc., because you are not going anywhere. However, in another case from 10 years earlier, State v. Keith, the Court stated that a woman concealed carrying a gun in her purse on the porch was illegal because you do not have to go anywhere to “go armed.”

So, what does this all mean?

Needless to say, the status of the law is, per usual, odd and confusing. It is safe to say one cannot conceal carry it off your home, business, etc. It also seems safe to say that, barring federal law prohibiting their interstate transport without proper advance paperwork, they seem to abide by the normal transportation laws without any help from the concealed carry laws in Wisconsin.

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Other Interesting Laws for Your Reference

Definitions under 941.28:

(a) "Rifle" means a firearm designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder or hip and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of a propellant in a metallic cartridge to fire through a rifled barrel a single projectile for each pull of the trigger.

(b) "Short-barreled rifle" means a rifle having one or more barrels having a length of less than 16 inches measured from closed breech or bolt face to muzzle or a rifle having an overall length of less than 26 inches.

(c) "Short-barreled shotgun" means a shotgun having one or more barrels having a length of less than 18 inches measured from closed breech or bolt face to muzzle or a shotgun having an overall length of less than 26 inches.

(d) "Shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder or hip and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of a propellant in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.

Leaving Your Gun in Your Car

The Court in State v. Fry, 131 Wis.2d 153 (1986) held that locking the gun in the glove box is unlawful concealment.

The Court in State v. Walls, 190 Wis.2d 65 (Ct. App. 1994) held that a firearm in plain sight inside a vehicle is both in violation of the encased requirement, Section 167.31, and considered unlawfully concealed.

You cannot carry a concealed weapon at the following locations:

  1. Any portion of a building that is a police station, sheriff’s office, state patrol station, or the office of a division of criminal investigation special agent of the DOJ.
  2. Any portion of a building that is a prison, jail, house of correction, or secured correctional facility.
  3. The Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, the Wisconsin Resource Center, or any secured unit or secured portion of a mental health institution, including a facility designated as the Maximum Security Facility at the Mendota Mental Health Institute.
  4. Any portion of a building that is a county, state, or federal courthouse.
  5. Any portion of a building that is a municipal courtroom, if court is in session.
  6. A place beyond a security checkpoint in an airport.
  7. Any place that prohibits carrying a concealed weapon.
  8. School grounds and premises: It is a class I felony for anyone, including a CCW licensee to knowingly carry a firearm in or on the grounds of a school unless another specific statutory exception applies. Wis. Stat. 948.605(2)(a). Unless exceptions apply, see generally Wis. Stat. 948.605(2)(b)1m and 18 USC 922(q)(2)(B) for a list; (by contract with school, law enforcement acting in official capacity, unloaded and encased or locked in gun rack in motor vehicle, etc).
  9. Within 1000ft of school: It is a forfeiture for a person to knowingly possess a firearm (concealed or otherwise) at a place that the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe is within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school. Wis. Stat. 948.605(2)(a).

Unless that person is a CCW holder valid to carry in Wisconsin, Wis. Stat. § 948.605(2)(b)1r

Remember, all this is an Incomplete Guide

There are many more laws surrounding open carrying and concealed carrying. If you have any questions or concerns regarding conceal carry, or if you’re facing any kind of weapons charge, schedule a free consultation with Grieve Law’s experienced attorneys.

Contact the Milwaukee gun lawyers at Grieve Law for our extensive knowledge on gun laws!

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