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Thread: Clarification on UW - Madison open carry laws

  1. #1
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    Clarification on UW - Madison open carry laws

    I'm new to open carrying, and being a student at UW-Madison further complicates the matter.

    This represents my current understanding of the law: I'm certainly allowed to open carry on campus grounds (seemingly both long rifles, and handguns). However, inside of the university buildings it becomes more cloudy.

    Here's the trespassing law from Wisconsin Statute 943.13 (1m, c5) : https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/doc...43.13(1m)(c)5.
    [While carrying a firearm,] Enters or remains in any privately or publicly owned building on the grounds of a university or college, if the university or college has notified the actor not to enter or remain in the building while carrying a firearm or with that type of firearm. This subdivision does not apply to a person who leases residential or business premises in the building.
    The bolded section is what confuses me. For instance, since I rent my dorm from UW-Madison, I'm assuming that I'm allowed to carry my firearm into the building, is that correct? However, they have posted a sign near the entrance stating that no firearms are allowed, is this simply ignorance of the law (if I'm correct), or does the sign placement law somehow supercede this one?

    Furthermore, it states that it does not apply to a person who leases business premises in the building. To be honest, I'm less willing to fight this part (since I sort of need to have my firearm in my place of residence to bring it anywhere else), but I'm simply curious if paying tuition to attend class in the building fulfills the exception.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by WisconsinStudent; 01-08-2013 at 11:14 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    IANAL, but the resident should be ok to carry, but your classrooms probably won't be. This would probably be a better question for Joel Olson.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    No Good Answer

    If you are under 21 - store your weapons(s) somewhere off campus. Even if you are able to keep it in a dormitory (which, at a minimum, would be a administrative/legal fight that would suck up your time and money), you cannot take it to class (which presumably is a majority of your activity) or in your vehicle in any sort of useful condition. OC on campus is going to cause you grief and you won't be able to enter any other building anyway.

    If you are 21+ - obtain your CWL and move off campus. You still won't be able to carry in campus buildings but most of the other restrictions will be lifted.

    What "business premises" do you own/lease? Paying tuition is irrelevant, it is your housing contract that is important.

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    Alright, yeah I figured carrying into the classrooms wasn't allowed, no biggie. However, I would carry it between my dorm & where I donate plasma (the owner's alright with it), in addition to when I visit my friend's house across town.

    You mentioned 21, but I'm only 18. You see, I recently inherited the handgun from my grandfather who passed this summer. While I have no "formal" training such as a hunter safety class, I went target shooting with him every summer, and he taught me basic marksmanship as well as firearm safety. Additionally, I'm not an idiot, so I won't do anything stupid. However, I was led to believe that open carry was essentially allowed without the need to have any sort of certification.

    With respect to my housing contract, I looked at the 50-page behemoth, and found this clause:
    (5d) Fireworks, firearms, weapons, chemicals such as but
    not limited to nitrous oxide, liquid nitrogen, turpentine,
    dry cleaning fluid, lighter fluid, gasoline, and other
    flammable chemicals that might create a hazard are
    prohibited.
    Does this mean that I've essentially signed my rights away? Not sure how the legality falls on that one. Furthermore, I signed it when I was 17, so it wasn't technically legally binding (but I don't want to be a belligerent ass if I'm in the wrong here).

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisconsinStudent View Post
    Does this mean that I've essentially signed my rights away? Not sure how the legality falls on that one. Furthermore, I signed it when I was 17, so it wasn't technically legally binding (but I don't want to be a belligerent ass if I'm in the wrong here).
    You have not signed your rights away.

    943.13 (1m) (c)5. Enters or remains in any privately or publicly
    owned building on the grounds of a university or college,
    if the university or college has notified the actor not to
    enter or remain in the building while carrying a firearm
    or with that type of firearm. This subdivision does not
    apply to a person who leases residential or business premises
    in the building or, if the firearm is in a vehicle driven
    or parked in the parking facility, to any part of the building
    used as a parking facility.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to OCDO.

    Secondly, ignore "Boris"... he's one of the trolls. Latest incarnation of someone who's been banned half a dozen times.

    Third - in addition to the notification the U gave you about not being allowed to protect yourself in the dorm, it is a taxpayer-owned building (government agency). Only licensees are allowed to possess a firearm in a taxpayer-owned building. Since you're not yet 21, and haven't had a safety class, you can't get a license.

    Another thing to be concerned about since you don't have a license are school zones. You can't have a usable firearm within 1000' of the edge of a school property. ('School' for these purposes being grades 1-12.) If you travel to your friend's house or the plasma place, you'd have to have it unloaded & encased. (And out of reach in the car.) Since they're not marked at all, it's impossible to know where is OK & where isn't.
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    Hi!

    Third - in addition to the notification the U gave you about not being allowed to protect yourself in the dorm, it is a taxpayer-owned building (government agency). Only licensees are allowed to possess a firearm in a taxpayer-owned building. Since you're not yet 21, and haven't had a safety class, you can't get a license.
    I didn't see anything about needing a license in the trespassing section, is it somewhere else? I was under the impression that the quote that protias linked about residential buildings "nulled" that restriction.

    I'm going to quote another member of this forum here:

    WRONG
    If you are a visitor or student, you do not have to have a license to open carry a firearm on the UW grounds or store a firearm in your car.

    Cite:
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/sta...utes/943/II/13

    (1m) Whoever does any of the following is subject to a Class B forfeiture:
    ...

    5. Enters or remains in any privately or publicly owned building on the grounds of a university or college, if the university or college has notified the actor not to enter or remain in the building while carrying a firearm or with that type of firearm. This subdivision does not apply to a person who leases residential or business premises in the building or, if the firearm is in a vehicle driven or parked in the parking facility, to any part of the building used as a parking facility.



    The exemption refers to a "person," not a licensee. In extending the exemption to "weapons" rather than firearms, though, the chief allows more than the law requires.
    With respect to the blood plasma/friends house, I would be walking, not traveling by car. Furthermore, there's no K-12 schools anywhere near me, they are all mostly in the South & West side of time (I live downtown).


    You have not signed your rights away.
    Would you mind elaborating? It seems like I did just that, are you saying that a contract which conflicts with state law isn't valid?
    Last edited by WisconsinStudent; 01-12-2013 at 01:15 AM.

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    Idea Storming

    Quote Originally Posted by WisconsinStudent View Post
    Hi!

    I didn't see anything about needing a license in the trespassing section, is it somewhere else? I was under the impression that the quote that protias linked about residential buildings "nulled" that restriction.

    Wis. Stat. 941.235 prohibits possession of a firearm in a public building by anyone except licensees (I am omitting the LEO exceptions). Offense is a Class A Misdemeanor.

    Wis. Stat. 175.60(2g) (a) A licensee or an out-of-state licensee may carry a concealed weapon anywhere in this state except as provided under subs. (15m) and (16) and ss. 943.13 (1m) (c) and 948.605 (2) (b) 1r.

    Since the legislature is presumed to have know of any and all restrictions then existing in law, any prohibited areas except those listed above or later enacted is likely not enforceable against licensees.

    Wis. Stat. 943(1m)(c)(4) prohibits possession of a firearm in a public building (state or local government owned or leased if the premises are posted. Usual parking facility exception. Offense is a Class B Forfeiture. Applies to everybody including licensees.

    Wis. Stat. 943(1m)(c)(5) prohibits possession of a firearm in a public or private building on the grounds of a university or college if the premises are posted unless the possessor owns/leases premises in the building. Usual parking facility exception. Offense is a Class B Forfeiture. Applies to everybody including licensees.

    Now it seems to me that (4) would not apply to a building covered by (5). To do so would be superfluous. Furthermore, the general trend of exception for an owner/lessee is not mentioned indicating that the buildings covered by (4) would not include buildings that typically have private owners/lessees.

    Thus a licensee could not be charged under 941.235 but possibly under 943. A non-licensee could be charged under either or both unless a lessee. If a dormitory is considered a "public building" for the purposes of 941.235 then lessee status is of no use (at least according to the text) because there is no exception. If covered under (4) alone or by (4) and (5), likewise there is no exception. If covered only under (5) then the lessee exception applies but may be negated by a contractual provision although there is a Section 25 argument (and maybe Heller/McDonald).


    I'm going to quote another member of this forum here:



    With respect to the blood plasma/friends house, I would be walking, not traveling by car. Furthermore, there's no K-12 schools anywhere near me, they are all mostly in the South & West side of time (I live downtown).




    Would you mind elaborating? It seems like I did just that, are you saying that a contract which conflicts with state law isn't valid?
    The contract doesn't necessarily conflict with state law. It just means that you could not be charged with trespassing. Violation of your housing contract or university regulations is a different matter unless you made a constitutional challege.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Old Grump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisconsinStudent View Post
    Alright, yeah I figured carrying into the classrooms wasn't allowed, no biggie. However, I would carry it between my dorm & where I donate plasma (the owner's alright with it), in addition to when I visit my friend's house across town.

    You mentioned 21, but I'm only 18. You see, I recently inherited the handgun from my grandfather who passed this summer. While I have no "formal" training such as a hunter safety class, I went target shooting with him every summer, and he taught me basic marksmanship as well as firearm safety. Additionally, I'm not an idiot, so I won't do anything stupid. However, I was led to believe that open carry was essentially allowed without the need to have any sort of certification.

    With respect to my housing contract, I looked at the 50-page behemoth, and found this clause:


    Does this mean that I've essentially signed my rights away? Not sure how the legality falls on that one. Furthermore, I signed it when I was 17, so it wasn't technically legally binding (but I don't want to be a belligerent ass if I'm in the wrong here).
    Actually carry in classrooms are a big deal because that is where you are most vulnerable. Training is paramount, not just hunting safety but the legal aspects of carry and becoming a marksman with judgement. If you carry you assume a responsibility to not only be responsible but proficient. Time will soon take care of the age issue but now is the time whole you are young and at your physical and mental peak to learn master class marksmanship. Tomorrow you will look over your shoulder and ask yourself where in the heck did 3 years go?
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  10. #10
    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    I read through this thread rather quickly so I apologize if it's already been pointed out, but you should take note that you probably do not "lease" your dormitory room: you have a "housing contract." What's the difference? Enough that University lawyers will press the issue in court by pointing out that the word "lease" does not appear anywhere in the document. My advice? Do what I recommend for when you have no choice about going somewhere "unarmed," e.g., on a commercial airline: carry a quality tactical flashlight (blinding and works well as an impact weapon) and/or a sturdy cane or walking stick. Once you live off campus you'll be in a better position to keep your firearm and carry it-- openly until you're able to obtain a CCL. The fact that one can carry a gun around campus isn't of much help to anyone who actually wants to enter a building and not simply stroll around outside.
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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    I'll agree with what shotgun posted, you do NOT lease your dorm room so the "landlord/tenant" part of the law does not apply.

    I will add further, that the UW could also have a behavior policy that could come into play, much like a teachers had code on conduct policies. I doubt they could actually kick you out of the UW, but I'd bet they could make your life rather miserable.

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