Guns Can Get You in Trouble in Wisconsin
It is not terribly hard to own and openly carry a gun in Wisconsin; in most cases, you will not even need a license. According to the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, however, there are circumstances when it is illegal to bring a gun. It is important to know these circumstances and what the consequences are in case of failure to follow the law.
Wisconsin law (Stat. Ann. § 941.23(2)(e)) requires a permit to carry a concealed gun on or around your person, unless you are on your property such as your home, business place, vehicle, or any other private property. If you do not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you can be arrested and charged with a class A misdemeanor. In some circumstances, this can be elevated to a felony.
The law also prohibits certain people from owning and carrying a firearm. These include anyone:
- Less than 18 years old
- Convicted of a felony in Wisconsin, or conviction in any state for a crime which is a felony in Wisconsin
- Adjudicated as a juvenile that would have been a felony if committed by an adult
- Found not guilty in a criminal case by reason of mental disease or defect
- Statutory prohibitions
Carrying a firearm in the company of any of the classes of people mentioned above is also illegal, and can cost you as much as $25,000 in fines and/or 10 years in prison. That is a bad break if you were not aware that an individual belongs to these prohibited classes. However, a competent criminal defense lawyer may get you off.
It is also illegal to carry firearms in certain areas. These include:
- Prisons, jails, and detention centers
- Mental health facilities
- Bars and other retail establishments selling alcohol
The penalties for violating gun laws in Wisconsin can be pretty stiff, with fines ranging from $500 to $10,000, and jail terms from 30 days to nine months. You may simply not know the law, but that is not a defense. However, it may be possible to plead mitigation, especially if you are a non-resident. This is why it is important to have a competent lawyer to represent you.