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What You Need to Know About Open Carrying a Gun in Wisconsin

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open carry gun wisconsin, milwaukee weapons crime lawyerIf you are a gun owner, it is important that you understand gun laws in Wisconsin. Failure to follow these rules could mean facing serious criminal charges.

Quick Gun Law Overview

Wisconsin is an open carry state. This means that gun owners can carry a loaded gun in public. Gun owners do not need a permit or license to carry a gun in public. A person is considered to be “openly carrying” a gun when a casual observer can see the weapon.

To open carry, you need to be at least 18 years old. While permits are not required to carry a gun unconcealed, gun owners need a license to carry a weapon in a concealed manner. Also, cities or counties cannot make laws on gun possession that conflict with the state’s open carry laws.

Where Can You Not Open Carry?

Wisconsin does limit where open carrying is allowed. You cannot open carry, even if you have a concealed weapons license, in the following locations:

  • A police or sheriff station;
  • A correctional facility;
  • The secured portion of a mental health institution;
  • A courthouse; or
  • Any part of an airport that is behind a security checkpoint.

There is also a federal ban on guns on school grounds for both open carry and concealed carry.  A handgun can only be brought into a tavern by a person with a concealed weapons license who is not consuming alcohol.

Open Carrying Cannot Be Charged as Disorderly Conduct 

Wisconsin passed a law in 2011 that prohibits criminal charges for gun owners who are just exercising their right to open carry. Some counties had previously charged gun owners who were openly carrying with “disorderly conduct.” This law was meant to prohibit that overreach by law enforcement. It protects anyone loading or openly carrying a firearm unless other facts suggest that the person openly carrying the gun had “criminal or malicious intent.”  

Contact a Milwaukee Weapons Crime Defense Attorney  

If you have been charged with a gun crime or would like to receive advice on how to legally handle weapons, you should contact a skilled Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP we aggressively defend those accused of weapons crimes and seek to provide meaningful counsel to anyone who needs advice. Call 414-271-1440.




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