Skip to Content

Wisconsin Firearm Laws: Who Can Carry a Gun?


Amidst the myriad of mass shootings in the United States in recent years and their increased media coverage, gun laws throughout the United States have since garnered considerable discussion and controversy. While many have pushed for increased restrictions on the purchase and open carry of firearms, countless others have held fast to their Constitutional right to bear arms and have conversely called for more law abiding Americans to arm themselves against potential threats. While it is uncertain what the future will bring in regards to American firearms legislation, it is important that citizens of Wisconsin educate themselves on the state’s current gun laws.

Who Can Carry a Firearm in Wisconsin?

While certain other states restrict individuals from openly carrying a firearm in public without a valid permit, Wisconsin law has no such restrictions. Any individual age 18 or older may openly carry a firearm in public without the need for a Wisconsin Concealed Weapons License, unless they have been convicted of a felony or have a history of mental illness. With that being said, there are certain situations and locations within the state in which a person may not carry a firearm.

Except for law enforcement or individuals with a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) license, individuals may not knowingly carry an unconcealed weapon in any of the following locations:

  • Police stations, sheriff’s offices, or state patrol stations
  • Prisons, jails, houses of correction, or correctional facilities
  • The Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, the Wisconsin Resource Center, or any secured area of a mental health institution
  • State, county, or federal courthouses
  • Any areas beyond a security checkpoint in an airport
  • School grounds and campuses

Similarly, individuals may not carry a firearm into a bar or tavern unless (1) they have a CCW license and (2) are not consuming alcohol. As of 2011, however, it is no longer illegal to openly carry an uncased firearm inside a vehicle, regardless of whether or not it is loaded.

Who May Acquire a Concealed Carry License?

Wisconsin is a shall-issue state in regards to concealed carry permits, meaning that individuals who meet certain well-defined criteria may acquire a permit without the issuing authority’s discretion.

A person must fulfill the following requirements in order to be issued a CCW license:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Complete an application form
  • Complete an approved firearms safety or training course
  • Submit a copy of proof of training to the Wisconsin Department of Justice

Facing Weapons Charges? Call (414) 882-8382

Despite Wisconsin’s generally lenient gun laws, weapons violations are still extremely serious and can expose you to severe penalties upon conviction. If you have been charged with a weapon violation of any kind, it is urgent you contact a powerful Milwaukee criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella as soon as possible. Backed by unanimous praise from past clients and more than 20 years of dedicated legal experience, we have what it takes to protect your rights and minimize your chances of conviction.

Contact our office online or schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review today to get started towards building your defense.

Share To: