What you need to know about Wisconsin's new concealed carry law
Training for business owners
At 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Forward Janesville will host a concealed carry seminar in the Forward Janesville boardroom, 14 S. Jackson St.
Attorney Steve Werner of Murphy Desmond S.C. will explain what business owners need to know about the new law. The event is for members only. To RSVP, email email@example.com.
On its website, www.doj.state.wi.us, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has a detailed “frequently asked questions” about concealed carry in Wisconsin. It also will maintain a list of states that issue concealed carry permits that are legal in Wisconsin as well as states that recognize Wisconsin’s concealed carry permit.
JANESVILLE Wisconsin’s new concealed carry law goes into effect Tuesday, but things will not change for a few weeks. Interested residents can apply for a permit to concealed carry starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, but the Wisconsin Department of Justice will have three weeks to process the first rounds of applications.
Here is what you should know, whether you want to concealed carry or not. Unless otherwise indicated, the information is from the Department of Justice.
Q: When can I carry a weapon?
A: As soon as you get your concealed carry permit. The Department of Justice will make applications available online at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. You can also write to the department to ask for an application.
The cost to apply is $50. Of that, $37 covers the application cost and $13 covers the background check. You must provide proof of firearms training to apply. Training can include hunters safety, a class provided by law enforcement or by an organization such as the National Rifle Association that certifies firearms training.
The DOJ has a complete list of options online.
For the first month, the DOJ has up to 45 days to issue a license. For applications filed after Dec. 1, the DOJ must approve or deny a license within 21 days.
When you get your permit, you must carry it and a photo ID at all times. You must show your permit to a law enforcement officer when asked.
Q: What weapons can I carry concealed?
A: A handgun, an electric weapon such as a Taser, a knife or a billy club. Switchblade knives, machine guns or short-barreled shotguns or rifles remain banned.
The fact that a civilian can carry an electric weapon is new. Previously, it was a felony for anyone other than law enforcement agents and a few other professionals to carry electric weapons.
Q: What if I already have a concealed carry permit from another state?
A: If you are a Wisconsin resident, you must get a Wisconsin permit to carry concealed in the Badger State.
If you live in another state, your state’s permit might qualify you to carry concealed in Wisconsin. The state will maintain a list of states whose background checks are comparable to Wisconsin’s. As of this week, the list included 27 states and territories that issue permits that would allow residents to carry concealed in Wisconsin. The list includes Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa.
The DOJ also will maintain a list of states that have agreed to recognize Wisconsin concealed carry permits.
Q: If I’m carrying, when can I shoot?
A: The concealed carry law does not change the answer to this question. In Wisconsin, you cannot use force or threaten to use force against another person unless you think you are preventing immediate death or great bodily harm.
You can act in order to prevent harm to yourself or a third person.
You cannot provoke an attack, hope for someone to threaten you and then claim “self defense.”
You must believe you were preventing great harm, and your decision must seem reasonable to any person of ordinary intelligence—not just someone with your brains or experience.
Q: Where are weapons universally banned?
A: Even if you have a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, you cannot carry a weapon into:
-- A police station, sheriff’s office, state patrol station, or the office of a Division of Criminal Investigation special agent of the Department of Justice.
-- Any part of a prison, jail, correctional facility or mental heath institution.
-- A county, state, or federal courthouse or into a municipal courtroom.
-- Any point beyond security in an airport.
-- Schools, including public, private, parochial or tribal schools that teach grades one through 12. Colleges and universities fall under a different category.
-- Federal law bans guns in most federal buildings and some federal parks or game preserves.
Q: Why are they banned anywhere?
A: Property owners should decide what’s best for their business, said Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, a co-author of the bill.
Business owners make decisions daily about what risks are appropriate, he said.
“If they think that’s (concealed carry) a risk to them, it’s his or her discretion,” Nass said. “And the government’s not interfering with that decision.”
Although the law gives colleges and universities the right to decide whether to ban guns, Nass thinks concealed carry should be allowed on campuses.
“It does not make the campuses safer,” Nass said about banning weapons.
UW-Whitewater and UW-Rock County are following UW Systems policy and banning weapons from campus and buildings. Guns can be kept in private cars.
Q: What about on private property?
A: Business and property owners can ban weapons. This includes stores, restaurants, single-family homes, apartment complexes, special events, land, nursing homes and public or private universities. If the owners of these facilities say you can’t carry, they are supported by the law. Signs must be clearly posted in all cases except on single-family homes.
You can carry weapons, even electric weapons, on your own property.
Q: What about taverns?
A: Bar owners can ban weapons in the same way other property can. If they don’t, only a handful of people can carry weapons into taverns. They include members of law enforcement, corrections or the military in the line of duty; the tavern license holder; the bar owner; the bar manager or someone with a valid Wisconsin concealed carry permit.
You cannot consume alcohol in the bar while concealed carrying. In fact, you cannot carry a weapon—concealed or open—if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This law is not new.
Q: Can my employer prohibit me from carrying concealed?
A: Yes, your employer could keep you from carrying concealed while you are working but cannot prohibit you from storing it in your car. If you have a permit, you can store your weapon in your own car, even if you use the car for work or park it on your employer’s property.
Q: Anything else I should be aware of when I’m carrying a weapon?
A: Here are a few of the things you cannot do with weapons according to state laws already in place:
-- You cannot point a gun at another person without permission. You cannot point a gun at a law enforcement agent, EMT, fire fighter or game warden.
-- You cannot fire a gun into a vehicle, and you cannot fire a gun from a vehicle unless in self defense.
-- You cannot carry a switchblade knife, and you cannot carry tear gas or mace. Pepper spray is allowed.
-- You cannot buy, sell or possess a machine gun, a silencer, a short-barreled rifle or a shotgun.