New conceal and carry law goes into effect Tuesday
Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 1, it will be legal to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin provided the necessary training has been completed and a permit has been issued.
The new law applies to electronic weapons like stun guns, billy clubs and knives with the exception of a switchblade as well as handguns. You must be age 21 or older to get a permit, be a Wisconsin resident and not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law or as a condition of bail or release. There are also some mental health issues that could prohibit a permit as outlined in the law. Applications and the screening process are being conducted by the Department of Justice. There is a fee of $37 which includes the cost of the permit and $13 for a background check.
Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen recently returned from a meeting for law enforcement about the new law held at the state Department of Justice. He said a complete explanation of the law can be found on the DOJ website. He notes that the rules spelled out there are the "emergency rules," developed to be ready by the time the new law rolled out on Nov. 1. More permanent regulations will be drawn up over time.
Jensen said the DOJ estimates that approximately 4 percent of Wisconsin's population will apply for permits to carry concealed weapons. In Minnesota, where a similar law was enacted several years ago, less than 100,000 people have CCW permits.
Jensen said he is not overly concerned that the new law will create increased safety issues for the public and his officers but he says there will be a "learning curve" for everyone.
"The people who now don't carry weapons are the most concerned about how the law will affect things. In the past if they saw someone with a weapon under their jacket they might call us and we would come out and investigate. The law changes that. We have to have a legitimate reason to stop and talk to someone other than the weapon," said Jensen.
Conceal and carry permits from 25 other states will be recognized in Wisconsin but only as non-residents. If individuals move to Wisconsin from one of those states they will be required to apply for a Wisconsin CCW permit.
Permit holders are required to carry their permit with them along with a separate photo ID. If they are unable to show the permit when requested by law enforcement, they have a 48-hour grace period to show their permit or be fined $25.
The new law says that carrying a concealed weapon is prohibited in the following places:
Carrying a concealed weapon is allowed in businesses, stores, shops or churches unless a legible sign saying otherwise is posted at the entrance.
The new law does not change a person's right to openly carry a firearm and no license is required to do so.
Regarding the transportation of weapons, long guns like rifles and shotguns must still be unloaded and fully encased, not hidden and not within reach.
The new law does allow for a person to possess and transport a loaded handgun in their vehicle without a CCW license.
Jensen suggests citizens let police officers know if they are carrying a weapon if they are stopped in their vehicle but says it is not a requirement of the law.
"I don't think we need to be overly concerned at this point. There haven't been many problems in Minnesota and I don't expect there will be here. We live in a hunting area and we are used to seeing people carrying weapons with them. I don't think this will be a big issue long term," said Jensen.
For more information about the new law go to the Department of Justice website at www.doj.state.wi.us and click on "Concealed Carry Law" for details including a section titled "Frequently Asked Questions." Information by phone is available at (608) 266-1221 or by mail at Wisconsin Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7857, Madison, WI 53707.