How Concealed Carry In Wisconsin Works
New Wisconsin concealed carry laws, specifically Wisconsin Act 35, became effective in 2011, establishing a legal system for everyday concealed carry.
To carry a concealed handgun in this state, a Wisconsin resident must apply for the state’s concealed carry license, which will add them to the state’s pool of about 50,000 current license holders, according to the annual CCW Statistics Report.
Applying For A Wisconsin Concealed Carry Permit
The Wisconsin concealed carry permit application, which can be processed and completed online and via mail, will require documentation from a state-approved training course.
- A certificate from a state or national firearms training instructor with a signed statement from the instructor, applicant or information on the certificate stating the course satisfies Jus 17.03(7)"Firearms safety or training course' means a course of instructor-led training that provides a certificate or affidavit of successful completion that includes the items specified in s. Jus 17.05 (2) (a) and that, at a minimum, instructs on, and practices the student's comprehension of, firearm safety rules; safe firearm and ammunition use, handling, transport, and storage; legally permissible possession, transportation, and use of firearms, including use of deadly force; and techniques for avoiding and controlling violent confrontations."
- Documentation from private security training from the Department of Safety and Professional Services
- A Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board certification letter or a letter from a police department proving one served as a trained officer
- A DD-214 or DD-256 form that proves the individual completed a small arms training course while serving the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard
- A copy of a current or expired CCW permit from another state, however it must be paired with a DJ-LE-289 form
- A copy of a Wisconsin hunter education certificate or certificate from a similar out-of-state program
The training course is required by law to cover gun safety, safe firearm and ammunition use, handling, transport, storage and other similar topics.
In order to qualify for the five-year license, the applicant must be at least 21 years old, not prohibited from owning a firearm under federal and state law nor a court order and they must be a Wisconsin resident.
Those who move in state and establish residency, but have an out-of-state permit, will need to apply for a Wisconsin permit in order to legally carry a concealed weapon in this state.
The initial application will cost $40 in total — $30 for the application, $10 for the background check.
Federal and state background checks will be ran in multiple databases to determine eligibility based on criteria like criminal, violent and mental health backgrounds.
The renewal application, which doesn’t require additional training, will cost $22, and the state will notify the license holder that it’s time to renew — generally 120 days in advance of expiration.
Once the application is approved and the license is granted, it must be on hand with a photo ID at all times. Any change of data on the license, like name or address, will be $22 and is processed online.
If lost, a replacement license will cost $12 and will require a new background check. It is similarly processed online. Any online application or license alterations will require a Wisconsin Department of Justice CCW user ID.
Applicants can check on the process of their application, but the Department of Justice is required to issue or deny the license within 21 days, according to Wis. Stat. § 175.60(9)(b)Within 21 days after receiving a complete application under sub. (7), the department shall do one of the following: 1. Issue the license and promptly send the licensee his or her license document by 1st class mail.
2. Deny the application, but only if sub. (3) (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (g) applies to the applicant. If the department denies the application, the department shall inform the applicant in writing, stating the reason and factual basis for the denial. . Within 30 days of receiving notice of denial, the applicant can appeal to the circuit court within their county, as per Wis. Stat. § 175.60(14m)(a) and (b)(a) An individual aggrieved by any action by the department denying an application for, or suspending or revoking, a license under this section, may appeal directly to the circuit court of the county in which the individual resides without regard to whether the individual has sought review under the process established in sub. (14g).
(b) To begin an appeal under this subsection, the aggrieved individual shall file a petition for review with the clerk of the applicable circuit court within 30 days of receiving notice of denial of an application for a license or of suspension or revocation of a license. The petition shall state the substance of the department's action from which the individual is appealing and the grounds upon which the individual believes the department's action to be improper. The petition may include a copy of any records or documents that are relevant to the grounds upon which the individual believes the department's action to be improper. .
Wisconsin law affords the right to a 30-day emergency license if one petitions a county court and the court deems it’s appropriate in order to ward against imminent “death or great bodily harm.”
Wisconsin affords additional rights under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act for current and former law enforcement officers.
How To Handle Concealed Carry In Wisconsin When Stopped By Police
Concealed carry in Wisconsin, and every location to be honest, requires care when one is stopped by police officers.
Although the individual may be doing nothing wrong with their weapon, the police may not know they’re carrying one — hence, well, concealed carry.
Wisconsin CCW licenses must be presented upon request from a law enforcement officer, and if stopped by a police officer there are a few steps to take if one has a concealed firearm on their body.
- Immediately make the officer aware of the concealed weapon and where it’s at on the body.
- Keep both hands visible at all times.
- Cooperate with the officer.
- Avoid quick movements.
- If in a vehicle, roll down the window, turn on the dome light (if it’s night), place both hands on the steering wheel, calmly let the officer know about the weapon and the license, ask for instructions concerning how they prefer the weapon be interacted with during the encounter, do not touch the weapon unless instructed to and do not leave the vehicle unless instructed.
These are simple steps to respect the men and women in blue who often have to interact with potentially dangerous situations. Making them feel comfortable about lawful concealed carry only reinforces the idea that everyday gun owners are simply average citizens who are prepared for out-of-the-ordinary situations.
Where Wisconsin Concealed Carry Laws Prohibit Carrying A CCW
Sure, a firearm may be concealed and no one should be able to see when and where it’s carried until necessary, but Wisconsin concealed carry laws still prohibit and regulate firearms in certain locations.
Under Wis. Stat. § 175.60(15m)(a)(a) Except as provided in par.
(b), an employer may prohibit a licensee or an out-of-state licensee that it employs from carrying a concealed weapon or a particular type of concealed weapon in the course of the licensee's or out-of-state licensee's employment or during any part of the licensee's or out-of-state licensee's course of employment., employers can prohibit employees from carrying on the job, but that doesn’t extend to safely storing the weapon in one’s car during the work day.
Businesses may prohibit concealed firearms on their premises and someone may be subject to a Class B forfeiture if they carry in the location against the owner’s wishes, according to Wis. Stat. § 943.13(1m)(b)Whoever does any of the following is subject to a Class B forfeiture:
(a) Enters any enclosed, cultivated or undeveloped land of another, other than open land specified in par. (e) or (f), without the express or implied consent of the owner or occupant.
(am) Enters any land of another that is occupied by a structure used for agricultural purposes without the express or implied consent of the owner or occupant.
(b) Enters or remains on any land of another after having been notified by the owner or occupant not to enter or remain on the premises.
(e) Enters or remains on open land that is an inholding of another after having been notified by the owner or occupant not to enter or remain on the land.
(f) Enters undeveloped private land from an abutting parcel of land that is owned by the United States, this state or a local governmental unit, or remains on such land, after having been notified by the owner or occupant not to enter or remain on the land.
Similarly, those who own or lease land, nonresidential and residential buildings, condos and apartments may prohibit firearms on location. Private and publicly owned universities and colleges may prohibit firearms on location, although Wisconsin Republicans planned to reintroduce a bill for Wisconsin campus carry in early 2017.
Not considering parking facilities on the premises, organizers of special events like concerts and sports may prohibit firearms on location.
Generally, there will be restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in state and local government buildings, but the governing body must make it apparent to the individual that this prohibition is in place.
Public lands, state wildlife refuges, state parks and state fish hatcheries are fair game for concealed carry, provided one has a license. The National Park System also allows concealed handguns on their land, provided the individual is in compliance with state laws.
CCW licenses do not afford the right to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, which is generally a felony, but there are a number of specific exceptions. As this is not formal legal advice, contact local authorities to verify any potential exceptions in areas like parking lots or hunting in forests near schools.
Generally speaking, these locations will have signage that must comply with state law, such as Wis. Stat. § 943.13(2)(bm)2.a.For the purposes of sub. (1m) (c) 1m., an owner of a residence that is not a single-family residence has notified an individual not to enter or remain in a part of that building, or on the grounds of that building, while carrying a firearm or with a particular type of firearm if the owner has posted a sign that is located in a prominent place near all of the entrances to the part of the building to which the restriction applies or near all probable access points to the grounds to which the restriction applies and any individual entering the building or the grounds can be reasonably expected to see the sign.
Aside from federally prohibited areas, there may be more location restrictions within the state, so, again, be sure to follow up with local authorities if at all confused.
With and without a license, someone may place, possess or transport a handgun in a vehicle or motorboat without the weapon being unloaded or encased, according to Wis. Stats. § 167.31(2)(b)(b) Except as provided in sub. (4), no person may place, possess, or transport a firearm, bow, or crossbow in or on a vehicle, unless one of the following applies:
1. The firearm is unloaded or is a handgun.
2. The bow does not have an arrow nocked.
3. The crossbow is not cocked or is unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case.
. The same applies in or on a noncommercial aircraft, according to the Department of Justice.
Without a CCW permit, one may also operate an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with a loaded and uncased handgun, as per Wis. Stat. § 23.33(3c)(a)(3c) Operation with firearms.
(a) No person may operate an all-terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle with any firearm in his or her possession unless the firearm is unloaded or is a handgun, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (bm).
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a firearm that is placed or possessed on an all-terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle that is stationary, as defined in s. 167.31 (1) (fg).
Wisconsin Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Wisconsin concealed carry reciprocity applies to states that conduct similar background checks to the state’s own system, meaning out-of-state licensees may carry in Wisconsin if their respective state has the same rigorous standards Wisconsin applies to its own residents.
Wisconsin keeps an up to date list of these states at all times, currently recognizing over 30 other states. There are also permits honored in Wisconsin under special conditions. Research individual states with a CCW reciprocity map.
Carrying a weapon into and out of Wisconsin is possible, just make sure to do the appropriate research about how to legally do so.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.