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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Jefferson County criminal defense attorney weapons violation

The Second Amendment to The Constitution grants United States citizens the right to keep and bear arms. After recent events in Kenosha, questions about Wisconsin’s gun laws are in the national spotlight. Now, as always, it is important for Wisconsin gun owners to have a strong understanding of the state’s weapons laws, especially those regarding open carry, so you can exercise your rights legally and safely.

Understanding Wisconsin’s Open Carry Laws

Wisconsin allows most adults to purchase firearms without the need for a special license, and to openly carry loaded or unloaded guns that have been legally purchased in most public areas. This protects responsible gun owners from facing criminal charges in a wide range of scenarios and promotes their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. However, there are some situations in which openly carrying a gun may result in criminal charges, including:

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The topic of gun control in the United States is often debated between those people who want stricter legislation and those citizens who want to protect their constitutional rights. In Wisconsin, legal gun owners are allowed to openly carry a loaded firearm in most public places without a special license. However, anyone exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms should be aware that there are certain public areas in which Wisconsin does not permit the open carry of guns. It is important to be aware of the laws in order to avoid weapons violations that may lead to criminal charges.

Exceptions to Wisconsin’s Open Carry Law

In the interest of public safety, Wisconsin law specifies some public locations in which the open carry of a firearm is not permitted. These places include:

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Guns can be dangerous and downright deadly weapons in the hands of some people. Even if you do not mean any harm, firearms are capable of serious injuries. Just recently, two separate firearm-related incidents resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to two Wisconsin residents. One woman accidentally shot herself in the leg after illegally carrying her firearm inside of a waterpark and attempting to store it in the trunk of her car. Police state she may be facing charges for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The other incident occurred when a man tried to shoot a woodchuck that was on his property, but missed and ended up hitting a nearby 80-year-old golfer. That is why it is imperative that Wisconsin gun owners understand the laws pertaining to the possession and carry of firearms in order to avoid serious criminal charges. 

Wisconsin Gun Laws

There are reasons why laws are created and enacted -- there was a need for them. Laws concerning firearms are always highly debated for their constitutionality and Wisconsin is rather liberal when it comes to firearm ownership, compared to other states. However, Wisconsin does have some laws that specifically prohibit certain kinds of behavior from firearm owners:

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In recent years, the number of gun-related injuries and accidents reported has increased significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were nearly 40,000 firearm-related deaths in 2018. In Wisconsin alone, there were nearly 600 firearm-related deaths, or approximately 10 deaths for every 100,000 Wisconsin citizens. Because of this, lawmakers across the country have introduced laws that would create extreme risk protection orders for individuals who are likely to commit a crime with their firearms. These laws, also known as “red flag” laws, have been thought to reduce gun crime, but many citizens have objected to these laws, citing an interference of their constitutional rights. It is important to understand what constitutes these violations if you or someone you know is facing any criminal charges.

What Are Red Flag Laws?

Red flag laws, also called extreme risk protection orders, is a legal tool that allows the government to remove firearms from the possession of people who have been found to be at a high risk of committing violence. Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have adopted some form of a red flag law. Like gun laws, red flag laws vary by state, but they all tend to have similar elements.

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Ozaukee County weapons violation defense attorneyWisconsin is a state that has relatively lenient gun laws, especially when compared to other states. In Wisconsin, you do not need to have a permit to own or possess a firearm. As long as you are not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, and you pass a background check, you can legally carry your firearm in public, as long as it is not hidden from plain view. Once you hide the firearm from plain view, you are considered to be carrying a concealed handgun, which requires a concealed carry weapons (CCW) license.

When it comes to transporting firearms, the rules can become a little vague. Is the interior of a vehicle considered “concealed?” Do you need a permit to transport a firearm? There are certain rules that you must follow to legally transport a firearm in Wisconsin. The rules do vary, however, depending on whether or not you have a CCW. By remaining aware of how the laws apply to you, you can avoid any potential weapons charges.

Transporting a Gun With a CCW License

According to Wisconsin laws, residents who legally possess a CCW license can carry a loaded and concealed handgun in their vehicle. However, rifles and shotguns, also known as long guns, have different rules. You are permitted to transport them while they are not in a case, but you are not permitted to conceal them within your vehicle. This means that all rifles and shotguns must be unloaded and in plain view from outside of the vehicle or out of reach of people in the vehicle.

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