Governor Scott Walker signed SB93 into law on Friday, July 8, 2011, making Wisconsin the forty-ninth state to adopt concealed carry laws. Most of the provisions take effect in November; let us look at what the changes mean.
“Open carry” of unconcealed firearms is allowed, including inside your vehicle, as long as you do not pass through a school zone while doing so. Concealed carry is allowed in the home, or at a business, you own, without a permit; but packing heat in other places requires a permit. The permit is a “shall issue” type, meaning that if the applicant meets all the requirements necessary, the issuing authority must issue a permit to them. The permits cost $50, must be renewed every five years for $25, and you must have your permit with you while concealing a firearm. Wisconsin citizens must get Wisconsin permits instead of out-of-state permits, although there will be reciprocity for out-of-state citizens visiting the land of cheese and Packers football.
In order to apply for a permit, you must meet a training requirement. However, there are several different options meeting this requirement. Classes specifically designed for concealed carry, certain hunter education classes, documentation of law enforcement or security training, or proof of military firearms training will all do the job.
Even with a permit, carrying in certain places is forbidden. An employer can forbid employees from carrying concealed at work, but cannot prevent them from keeping firearms in their vehicles in the company parking lot. Other restricted areas include police departments, jails, courthouses, and areas beyond the security checkpoints at airports. There are exceptions added to the rules regarding firearms around schools. For example, allowing unloaded and cased firearms or firearms in a locked vehicle gun rack.
SB93 includes some unusual laws intended to benefit concealed carry permit holders. A new section protects companies from any legal liability for allowing folks to carry their guns inside businesses. This means fewer companies will display “no guns” signs for fear of lawsuits against them if a shooting occurs.
The disorderly conduct law is modified so that loading or carrying a firearm, whether concealed or not, will not result in a charge of disorderly conduct unless a criminal or malicious intent is present. Individuals who must fire shots in self-defense are excused from local ordinances against discharging firearms within city limits, across a road, or from a vehicle.
SB93 also includes an anti-harassment law, perhaps the first of its kind. If a law enforcement officer is found guilty of harassing a citizen for legally carrying a concealed firearm, the officer can face a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
Wisconsin legislators originally proposed a “constitutional carry” system that would have recognized citizens’ right to carry without the permit structure. However, a “shall issue” system that will become law in a few months is much better than a pie-in-the-sky proposal that never makes it to the Governor’s desk. This legislation is solidly pro-gun, recognizing and protecting the rights of Wisconsin’s citizens, and we at Cheaper Than Dirt! congratulate Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature on their accomplishment!
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