Friday, November 4, 2011

Prudent Cautions When Carrying A Concealed Weapon

CCW: Carrying A Concealed Weapon - Wisconsin Law

On November 1, 2011, Wisconsin joined 48 other states in becoming a concealed carry gun law state. All Wisconsin residents who wish to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin MUST have a Wisconsin Concealed Carry License, even if that individual holds a valid concealed carry license from another state (DOJ).

Carry Concealed Weapon Licenses

The Concealed Carry Application Form is available online. See DOJ site for printing instructions.

Applicants are required by Act 35 to provide proof of firearms safety training, such as the hunter education program established under Wisconsin Statute 29.591 or a similar program, or an valid (not revoked) concealed carry license from another state or jurisdiction, or proof of military, law enforcement or security firearms training, or a Department of Justice Firearm Safety Course certificate issued by a DOJ certified instructor, or a firearms safety or training certificate.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates that it will issue a minimum of 100,000 permits in 2011, and approximately 50,000 in 2012.

Individualized Prohibitions to Concealed Weapons Property owners and lease holders may declare prohibitions of concealed weapons on their premises. Many businesses throughout the state of Wisconsin have already taken a position on the question of whether or not a person may carry a concealed weapon on the premises, so you should look for postings on the front door such as, "Concealed Weapons Prohibited", as well as signs stating, "Warning: Concealed Weapons carried on these premises" or similar wordings.

In some situations, there may be contradictory permits and prohibitions of carrying concealed weapons. For example, The Senate wants to prohibit concealed carry in its galley, but visitors to the Assembly would be permitted to carry concealed weapons.

If you are carrying a concealed weapon in an area which does not prohibit doing so, and you need to enter an area that does prohibit carrying of a concealed weapon, you may not enter the prohibited zone with the concealed weapon on your person or in your proximity.

In your proximity means that you can reach it. Reaching it can mean by exerting minimal effort, such as if the gun is located in the back seat of a car and you need to get out of the driver's seat and reach it by opening the back door. 'In your proximity' also includes your glove box of a vehicle, as well as the satchels on the back of a motorcycle. Carrying a weapon on your person falls under the rules for carrying the weapon concealed: if carrying concealed is prohibit on the premises, then one may not carry a weapon exposed on their person such as on a hip belt.

Carrying Concealed Weapon In Another State

The State of Wisconsin Department of Justice has identified the other states that conduct similar background checks and administrate similar rules to those of Wisconsin, and for which they will accept a non-revoked concealed weapon license as part of the application process for those wishing to obtain a license to carry concealed in Wisconsin. Those states are:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Notably, a Wisconsin resident must have a Wisconsin concealed Carry license to carry in Wisconsin, even if that person holds a valid concealed carry license from another state. The Wisconsin Department of Justice may form reciprocity agreements with other states, in which instance a Wisconsin license to carry a concealed weapon would be honored by another state or another state's license would be honored by Wisconsin without a separate Wisconsin license, but those reciprocity agreements have not yet been established and nobody should rely upon rumor, websites or any other unofficial material.

Whether or not a resident of Wisconsin may also carry concealed in another state depends entirely on the laws of that state. A Wisconsin Carry Concealed Weapon license holder should always check with the other state in which they want to carry concealed on the most current laws of that state.

Concealed Weapon Used In Self Defense

Previously, a self defense article was posted in this BLOG.

Like most responsible armed citizens, you are unlikely ever to need the services of a Criminal Defense Attorney. Nonetheless, if you should ever feel the need for our help, due to a police contact, the best things to do include the following:

  1. Respectfully decline to answer any questions unless & until you contact your attorney. This is your right. Assert it.

  2. Be respectful & cooperative if police have a search warrant, but respectfully & expressly decline to give consent to any search of any place, any thing or any vehicle. This too is your right but is always better to say it, so that your failure to do so cannot be interpreted as tacit assent or consent to any search.

  3. Call us promptly & formally retain us to represent you in regard to any such investigation. This not just your right but it is also just plain smart. Unfortunately, at least in regard to police investigations of firearms, it is NOT necessarily true that "good things come to those who wait."

The best way to reach us, regardless of the time or day, is to call our main telephone number, (608) 284-1200 or toll free at 1-866-262-4599. And feel free to forward a link to this page or our website,, along with our contact information, to anyone else who you think might have similar concerns.

Helpful Online Information:

Attorney Christopher T. (Chris) Van Wagner

Van Wagner & Wood

Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyers

Concealed Carry License Application

Concealed Carry Law 2011 Wisconsin Act 35

Concealed Carry Senate Bill history

Summary & History of States with Concealed Carry Provisions

Felon In Possession Laws