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Thread: Wisconsin Open Carry

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    Wisconsin does not have CC, but itis listed as an open carry state. As I will be heading that way this summer to visit family, can anyone tell me about the acceptance of open carry in WI?

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    Pretty much non-existent. I think you can put an unloaded gun on your dashboard or something. i am not sure what the actual statutory provisions are.

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    ilbob wrote:
    Pretty much non-existent. I think you can put an unloaded gun on your dashboard or something. i am not sure what the actual statutory provisions are.
    I'm a police officer in Wisconsin. Driving around with a handgun on your dash, even unloaded, is going to get you pulled over, probably as a high risk stop (i.e. at gun point).
    I can assure you that if you do this on the freeway they'll be a zillion 911 calls about it and a dozen squads responding. You can whine all you want about how it's technically not illegal while you're being booked (probably for disorderly conduct).

    There are no laws on the state books regarding open carry, if you don't count hunting laws and regulations governing armed security guards. Wisconsins preemption law also voided all local ordinances on open carry.

    However, most larger cities are charging disturbing the peace (a local charge) or disorderly conduct (can either be a local or a state charge). Actually getting convictions for those charges are another thing. I've seen lots of those charges get kicked.

    What needs to happen is there needs to be a State Supreme Court ruling on whether open carry constitutes disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace. I would say no, as the statutes don't fit the description of walking around with a handgun secured in an open holster.


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    maybe it is time for wi gun owners to organize some OC walks like what happened in Ohio.

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    ilbob wrote:
    maybe it is time for wi gun owners to organize some OC walks like what happened in Ohio.
    What really needs to happen is for the WSSC to rule that the State constitution right to bear arms clause covers open carry, and that it's not disorderly conduct.

    The problem is, the court right now is left leaning, so don't hold your breath for any such ruling. In fact, just a few weeks ago the court handed down a very bad ruling against a tavern owner whom had a pistol in his truck, saying the state constitution clause didn't cover that. The amendment to bear arms in our S.C. is very specific & well worded. How they came to that bad ruling is beyond me. Look it up & read it. It's state v fisher I believe.

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    Didn't the WSC come close to doing something like that a few years ago? But stopped just short of doing so to give the legislature a chance to deal with the problem?

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    ya this whole thing is crazy...i have to take my gun off when i go from duluth to superior which is right across the bridge...im guessing that if i open carried i would be arrested in superior?

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    ilbob wrote:
    Didn't the WSC come close to doing something like that a few years ago? But stopped just short of doing so to give the legislature a chance to deal with the problem?
    The court ruled that business & property owners could use the RTKABA amendment as a defense for CCW on their property. That court highly recommended that the legislature creat a permit/licensing system.

    THAT court, however, leaned to the right. Todays State Supreme Court leans to the left.
    Pro gun rulings are not going to come from this current court.

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    pkbites wrote:
    ilbob wrote:
    Pretty much non-existent. I think you can put an unloaded gun on your dashboard or something. i am not sure what the actual statutory provisions are.
    I'm a police officer in Wisconsin. Driving around with a handgun on your dash, even unloaded, is going to get you pulled over, probably as a high risk stop (i.e. at gun point).
    I can assure you that if you do this on the freeway they'll be a zillion 911 calls about it and a dozen squads responding. You can whine all you want about how it's technically not illegal while you're being booked (probably for disorderly conduct).
    According to opencarry.org, a well respected repository of information on open carry,
    Open Car Carry

    Open carry in a car is legal if the firearm is unloaded and on the dashboard
    I knew I had seen that somewhere.

    John -can you tell us where you found this information at?


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    ilbob wrote:

    According to opencarry.org, a well respected repository of information on open carry,
    Open Car Carry

    Open carry in a car is legal if the firearm is unloaded and on the dashboard
    I knew I had seen that somewhere.

    And you can babble that all you want to the police. You can quote OC.O, state statutes and Biblical scripture all you want too. But if several frantic calls come in about someone driving around with a gun sitting on the dash, chances are very high you're going to get nailed with disturbing the peace or DC. And with a weapon present it is going to be handled as a high risk stop. I've seen it happen. Whether or not you get convicted is another thing. But driving around with a firearm on the dash is asking for your day to go south.

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    I was just curious where it came from. I checked the WI statutes and did not find anything that seemed like it said anything like that.

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    ilbob wrote:
    I was just curious where it came from. I checked the WI statutes and did not find anything that seemed like it said anything like that.
    I'll have to look into the DNR regulations. I don't have them on me right now. They have regs. on how firearms can be transported.

    The statutes also are silent (with the exceptions I've already posted) about open carry.
    But that doesn't stop someone from being charged with dtp or dc or getting ordered in on a d.a. referral. My point is, just because these things aren't specifically illegal doesn't mean one will get away with doing them. Until this state get's it's head out of it's [Always Shoot Safely] about guns, people are going to remained disarmed & helpless!

    I personally don't think any of these constitutes disorderly conduct. Read Wisconsins DC statute and you'll see what I mean. I've never charged dc for open carry.

    Theres a rumor going around the web (like Packing.Org) that the Attorney General sent out an opinion about open carry. I browse our departments copy of the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Bulletin every month and I didn't read it. If it's out there, I'd like to see it.

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    According to opencarry.org, a well respected repository of information on open carry,
    Open Car Carry

    Open carry in a car is legal if the firearm is unloaded and on the dashboard
    I knew I had seen that somewhere.

    John -can you tell us where you found this information at?
    First, remember that I am not a lawyer and the standard site disclaimer applies

    Having said that, I derived that information from 2 sources.

    First, the text of Wisconsin code section 167.31

    (2) PROHIBITIONS; MOTORBOATS AND VEHICLES; HIGHWAYS AND
    ROADWAYS. (a) Except as provided in sub. (4), no person may
    place, possess or transport a firearm, bow or crossbow in or on a
    motorboat with the motor running, unless the firearm is unloaded

    (b) Except as provided in sub. (4), no person may place, possess
    or transport a firearm, bow or crossbow in or on a vehicle,
    unless the firearm is unloaded and encased

    (4) EXCEPTIONS. (a) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to
    any of the following

    e. His or her firearm is in plain view, as defined by rule by the
    department of regulation and licensing.

    (The dashboard component of this was decided by court precedent in State vs Walls 1994 which held that in common sight on a seat was insufficient to be in plain view).

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    John

    The exception you quoted only applies to security guards.

    I think you need to update the WI page to suggest OC in a car is NOT legal in WI.


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    Hold on, John - don't change it so it says OC is illegal.

    pkbites has described how the situation actually is. What this site should say is simply:

    OC is technically legal as it is not explicitly addressed by law.

    However, Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace charges will likely be pressed if you are seen by an LEO or reported by a concerned citizen.

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    WI-Guy wrote:
    Hold on, John - don't change it so it says OC is illegal.

    pkbites has described how the situation actually is. What this site should say is simply:

    OC is technically legal as it is not explicitly addressed by law.

    However, Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace charges will likely be pressed if you are seen by an LEO or reported by a concerned citizen.
    The court case dealt strictly with whether a gun was concealed if it was on the seat. The courts decided it was. But that is for the purposes of the concealed carry law.

    Carry of an uncased firearminside a car is specifically prohibited in another statute. The court case cited did not deal with that law at all.

    OC outside a vehicle is what is not prohibited. I think the state is color coded correctly, just the part about putting the gun on the dashboard is wrong.

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    I have corrected the WI page. Thanks to all who helped with the research!



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    pkbites wrote:
    I personally don't think any of these constitutes disorderly conduct. Read Wisconsins DC statute and you'll see what I mean. I've never charged dc for open carry.
    Have you ever run across anyone who was open carrying?

    if so, what did you charge him with?

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    pkbites wrote:
    Theres a rumor going around the web (like Packing.Org) that the Attorney General sent out an opinion about open carry. I browse our departments copy of the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Bulletin every month and I didn't read it. If it's out there, I'd like to see it.

    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/

    There is a link there for looking at AG opinions. I did not find anything on point.

    I had read somewhere that Gov. Doyle had made the statement that CC was not needed because OC was legal in WI. It does not sound like something he would say.


    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/lrb/pubs/wb/06wb6.pdf

    Is an interesting summary of the laws of the various states compiled by WI's Legislative Reference Bureau. I note they failed to mention anything at all about OC in WI although they did mention it was legal in OH. Nice map on the last page summerizing what states are no/may/shall-issue.

    They state AL is a may-issue state. I think technically they may be right.I looked it up and the statute uses the phrase "may issue".

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    ilbob wrote:
    pkbites wrote:
    I personally don't think any of these constitutes disorderly conduct. Read Wisconsins DC statute and you'll see what I mean. I've never charged dc for open carry.
    Have you ever run across anyone who was open carrying?

    if so, what did you charge him with?
    Open carry is exceptionally rare here. The very few times I've come across it, I was usually a back up officer to officers from other departments. (I work it an area which closely borders 3 cities, plus with the County Sheriff, State Patrol, & the DNR, it's not unusual to have daily contact with officers from those 6 agencies).

    A few years ago I personally did come across someone open carrying, but he was in a state owned building and we charged him with that. That guy made some real ******* comments too, about how he was carrying just in case someone ticks him off, and things like that.

    I've gotten into some arguments with other officers about open carry not meeting the definition of disorderly conduct.


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    pkbites wrote:
    I've gotten into some arguments with other officers about open carry not meeting the definition of disorderly conduct.
    do most of the officers you work with frown on open carry and look to arrest or cite those that would/do?

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    If your State Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, and concealed carry is already illegal on the books, then what other way is there to bear arms?

    If you get charged with DC or IP, then you need to file a color of law civil suit until the LEAs train their agents to obey the Constitution as they swore to do.

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    That sounds good in theory, but it does not work in real life.

    People do not have the time to go around being arrested and harassed and booked by LE.Governmenthas an infinite amount of taxpayer money to spend on lawyers, while the average citizen does not.

    Even if you sue, you cannot really win because of the disconnect between the time when an outrage occurs and when you get a court to agree that you indeed have been done in and the 10 or 15 years of appeals are over.

    In the meantime you have spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on legal fees and who knows how many days in court. Most people cannot spend that kind of time or money.

    Until we take away the immunity and impunitywith whichLEOs can act with absolutely no consequence to themselves, this will not change. I do not have an answer to how we can do this and not make things even worse though. Ironically, the way things are now,there is far less consequencefor a LEO to violate the rights of anlaw abidingperson than to violate the rights of a non-law abiding one. There is immediate consequence for violating the rights of criminals in the form of the criminal being tossed free. There is no penalty at all (or at least none that matters)for violating the rights of the law abiding citizen.

    This is not really a problem with LEOs themselves. Basically they are not the bad guys in this whole situation, although a few probably are. They are stuck with the system the miserable politicians came up with. Voters have a fair amount of clout with the politicians though, and that is where we will find relief, if we ever find it.

    Best idea for nowis to try and educate LE and the court system about what the law really is.

    A good start might be to get an AG opinion. A state legislator would be a good place to have an opinion requested. Once a favorable opinion was written, it could be disseminated to every LE agency in the state. Those desirous of open carrying could carry a copy of the opinion.

    The basic problem with this is that it is so limited an option. Since you cannot OC even in your own vehicle, you are left with the problem of trying to load and unload, case and uncase, etc. It is legal but impractical.



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    ilbob wrote:
    A good start might be to get an AG opinion. A state legislator would be a good place to have an opinion requested. Once a favorable opinion was written, it could be disseminated to every LE agency in the state. Those desirous of open carrying could carry a copy of the opinion.
    ilbob - I don't think this would be a good idea given the current AG's attitude. If things go as expected in November, the people in Wisconsin will have a new governor and concealed carry will be on the books by early 2008. I think this may take away what little enthusiasm there is for an open carry challenge.

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    Good discussion!

    Just to recap, possession of hanguns inside auto is illegal in WI, whether concealed or carried openly.

    As packing.org summarizes:

    "Date updated: Dec 7, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    Open Carry is legal but you will attract the attention of every police officer in the area. As opposed to the southern states Open Carry is prohibited in cars but OK on the body! Here are the limits:

    941.235 You cannot open carry in a government building.

    941.237 You cannot open carry a LOADED FIREARM in a place that sells liquor.

    167.31(2)(b) You can not open carry a loaded firearm in a car.

    167.31(3)(a) In an airplane. The chamber must be empty and the magazine out or empty itself."

    The key statute is 167.31(2)(b) - read it - it prohibits generally possession of firearms in cars unless unloaded and encased - but an encased handgun is concealed - and as that is generally banned in WI, well, there's your answer - no carry of handguns in cars in WI, period.

    Open Carry appears legal in WI except in vehicles, government buildings, and the following: vehicles, government buildings, and "any premises for which a Class “B” or “Class B” license or permit has been issued under ch. 125."

    Anybody knows what a class B permit is, exactly?

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