Wisconsin allows the use of firearms and other weapons in the state.

However, there are gun statutes that regulate the possession of firearms in the state and location restrictions for the use of firearms.

To open carry in the state, you must be familiar with these gun laws.

Wisconsin Gun Laws Summary

Wisconsin issues concealed weapon licenses for the possession of firearms in the state.

The department of justice is in charge of issuing the permit, and since it is a shall-issue state, as long as you meet all provisions, you will get the license.

You do not need a purchase permit to buy firearms in the state. But you must complete the criminal record background check from a licensed state or federal seller.

Only residents and non-residents who are members of the military can apply for the concealed weapon license.

Is Open Carry Legal In Wisconsin?

Yes, you can open carry in Wisconsin if you are at least eighteen years old without a federal or state prohibition for the possession of firearms.

Open Carry Laws In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a permissive open carry state, and you do not need the state license to use your firearm openly.

The state prohibits machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns. You cannot manufacture, possess, or buy these firearms in Wisconsin.

However, there are exceptions for federally licensed owners, law enforcement officers, and members of the National guard.

Wisconsin Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoNoWisconsin does not issue any permit for the open carry of firearms.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoNo requirement to register firearms before you open carry in the state
Assault weapon for open carry.NoNoAssault weapons are illegal in Wisconsin except for rare occasions.
Magazine limitNoNoWisconsin does not have any gun law that limits the number of rounds in firearms.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredThe state does not issue any particular type of license to firearm owners.
Red flag lawNoNoWisconsin is not a red flag law, and there are no extreme risk protection orders issued in the state.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesWisconsin is a castle doctrine state, and you can stand your ground in your home of residence, your business place or private car
Background check for private dealersNoNoNICS criminal record background check is not a requirement for private dealers in the state.
PreemptionYesYesWisconsin is a preemption gun law state, and the government reserves all right to regulate the use of firearms in the state
Concealed carry permit.NoYesYou can conceal carry with your Wisconsin concealed weapon license. 
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesIt is legal to conceal carry in your vehicle if you have a weapon license.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoYou cannot open carry in schools, colleges, and university premises of the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin gun laws do not permit open carry in the following areas of the state:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry and possess firearms in the restaurant areas except if you are under the influence of alcohol, or there is a post prohibiting such in that establishment.
  • Private car: You can open carry or possess firearms in a private vehicle.
  • Roadside areas: Open carry of firearms is lawful in roadside regions of Wisconsin.
  • State forests and parks: It is legal to open carry in forests and park areas of Wisconsin, as well as wildlife management areas.
  • Places of worship: There are no gun laws in Wisconsin that prohibit the possession of firearms in places of worship. However, the governing body in charge of a church or mosque can decide to prohibit the possession of weapons within its premises.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry Firearms In Wisconsin?

Open carry Wisconsin is illegal in the following parts of the state:

  • Schools: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Law enforcement buildings: It is illegal to open carry in buildings owned or used for operations by a sheriff, or the police.
  • Prisons and jails: Open carry of firearms is illegal in Wisconsin prisons, jails, and other detention homes.
  • Metal homes: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in facilities for mentally impaired people in Wisconsin.
  • Courthouses: It is a prohibition to possess firearms or open carry in any state court or county court premises, or during proceedings.
  • Legislative buildings: You cannot open carry in any legislative building or office in the state, especially one that has a post prohibiting firearms.
  • Under the influence: You cannot open carry firearms while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant.
  • Buildings with posts: It is illegal to open carry firearms in any building, either privately or government-owned, as long as there is a post prohibiting firearms, or there is a verbal notice against the possession of such weapon in the premises.
  • Prohibited areas: You cannot open carry in areas prohibited by federal laws.

FAQs About Open Carry Wisconsin

Here are some frequently asked questions you should know about open carry in Wisconsin:

Is Wisconsin Firearm License A Requirement For Open Carry In The State?

No, you do not need a permit to open carry firearms in Wisconsin.

Do I Need A Permit To Conceal Carry In Wisconsin?

Yes. Concealed carry in Wisconsin is only permitted with a Wisconsin concealed weapon license.

What Is The Age Requirement To Open Carry In Wisconsin?

You must be at least eighteen years old to open carry in Wisconsin.

What Is The Age Requirement To Conceal Carry In The State?

The age requirement for concealed carry in the state is twenty-one years old.

At What Age Can I Apply For Wisconsin Concealed Weapon License?

The age requirement to apply for a Wisconsin firearm license is twenty-one years old, except you are a member of the military, in which case you must be eighteen years old.

Does Wisconsin Have Red Flag Law?

No, the state does not have a red flag law, neither does the gun statutes talk about extreme risk protection orders.

Can A Non-resident Apply For Wisconsin Concealed Weapon License?

No. Only residents of Wisconsin and military members posted to the state can apply for a weapon license, and the application process for this is similar.

However, non-residents can possess firearms in Wisconsin with a permit from their state, if such state has reciprocity agreement or requires a background check before issuing a firearm permit.

Is Wisconsin A Constitutional Carry State?

No. Wisconsin is not a constitutional carry state.

Can I Open Carry Knives And Other Weapons In Wisconsin?

You can openly carry weapons that are not considered dangerous in Wisconsin, and the state does not define knives as dangerous weapons.

However, anybody that has a state prohibition against making use of firearms cannot possess knives.

The possession or open carry of knives is illegal in places like schools, recreational areas, sports fields, etc.

Local areas may also have ordinances to regulate the use and possession of firearms within their boundaries.

Does Wisconsin Prohibit Some Firearm Types In The State?

The state prohibits the use of firearms such as machine guns, short-barreled guns, and semi-automatic weapons, except the owner has a federal license to possess or use such firearms for scientific or professional reasons in the state.

Do I Need A Purchase Permit To Buy Firearms In Wisconsin?

No. Wisconsin does not issue a purchase permit or any other exclusive permit for the purchase of firearms.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In Wisconsin?

Yes. It is compulsory to complete a criminal record background check if you are buying a firearm from a state or federally licensed dealer.

Note that you are not exempted from this check even if you have a Wisconsin concealed weapon license.

Only private firearm dealers are not subjected to this check.

When Will Wisconsin Concealed Weapon License Expire?

The license is valid for five years, after which you have to apply for a renewal license.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearm License In Wisconsin?

No, the state does not obligate anyone to notify or inform law enforcement officers about the possession of firearms when they come across one.

Is Wisconsin A Castle Doctrine State?

Yes. Wisconsin castle doctrine law allows a stand your ground policy and no duty to retreat in your home of residence, place of work, or personal vehicle.

Is The Use Of Deadly Force Permitted For Self-defense in Wisconsin?

Yes, you can make use of deadly force against an attack that can cause severe bodily harm or imminent death. The state also provides immunity against civil liability for such use of deadly force.

Is Firearm Training A Requirement For Wisconsin Weapon License?

You must undergo any of Wisconsin approved firearm training before applying for the weapon license.

A state-certified instructor must be in charge of such training.

Must I Register Firearms After Purchase In Wisconsin?

No, the state does not have any requirement for the registration of firearms after purchase.

Relevant Open Carry Laws And Legislature In Wisconsin

Gun statutes in Wisconsin that have to with open carry of firearms or related possession of firearms include these:

Ammunition Restrictions

It is a prohibition to make use of armoured piercing ammunition in Wisconsin.

No Weapon Sign

Wisconsin enforces no weapon sign in the state, and anyone that infringes on this violates a law. The person can have his or her firearm forfeited.

No weapon sign in Wisconsin can be enforced in the following buildings:

  • Home residence.
  • Buildings that are not meant for residential purpose and also non-government buildings. An example is buildings in universities or colleges in the state.
  • Any building owned by the state government or any political subdivision of the state, like local government.
  • Private buildings in places like universities and colleges in Wisconsin.

Preemption Gun Law

Wisconsin has preemption gun laws for the regulation of firearms. The state government authority supersedes that of any local government.

However, local municipalities can regulate the firing of a gun in their boundaries, except for legal situations or self-defense.

Brandishing Of Firearms

It is a violation to negligently make use of a firearm in such a way that threatens the safety of another person.

Also, the use of firearms in such a way that causes violence, or in an abusive manner such that it causes public disturbance is a crime, and falters can face prosecution.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

Wisconsin prohibits the possession of firearms under the influence of alcohol or any restricted substance.

Wisconsin gun law defines under the influence of alcohol as any substance such that when ingested impairs a person’s judgment of using or handling firearms.

Open Carry While Hunting In Wisconsin

If you have the rights to hunt in Wisconsin, you can open carry while doing so.

For bow hunting, it is illegal to make use of firearms except they are concealed, and you have a state permit to carry.

Hunter harassment law in Wisconsin states that nobody shall deliberately impede hunting or any similar licensed activity like fishing or trapping in such a way that makes the taking of animals difficult.

Other violations of this law include:

  • Harassing or disturbing wildlife or involving in any activity that suggests so.
  • Interfering or impeding a person taking part in a legal hunting activity or related practices like fishing or trapping.
  • Causing disturbance on a person’s property meant for legal hunting or similar activities like trapping.
  • Tampering with bait or any form of a trap meant for attracting and taking wildlife or fishes.
  • Violating any section of this law with the use of a drone.
  • Taking part in more than one activity simultaneously in such a way that impedes or disturbs the lawful hunting of animals or similar activities related to such practices in the state.
  • Staying close to anybody taking part in hunting in such a way that disturbs the activity.
  • Harasses or confronts a person taking part in lawful hunting activity.
  • Monitoring licensed hunting by illegally photographing or taking a video without permission.

Additional Resources

Wisconsin Gun Laws
Wisconsin Concealed Carry Laws
Wisconsin Gun Permit Laws

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