Wisconsin Open Carry

Wisconsin Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

Wisconsin is a state that allows the use of firearms and other weapons, but it also has specific gun statutes and location restrictions to regulate their possession and use. If you plan to open carry in Wisconsin, it’s essential to be familiar with the state’s gun laws.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to Wisconsin’s gun laws, covering everything from open carry regulations to concealed weapon licenses.

Wisconsin Gun Laws Summary

In Wisconsin, you can obtain a concealed weapon license to possess firearms legally. The Department of Justice is responsible for issuing these permits, and Wisconsin is considered a “shall-issue” state. If you meet all the provisions, you will be granted the license without any issue.

Unlike some states, you don’t need a purchase permit to buy firearms, but a criminal record background check from a licensed state or federal seller is mandatory.

Is Open Carry Legal in Wisconsin?

Yes, open carry is legal in Wisconsin if you are at least eighteen years old and don’t have any federal or state prohibitions for possessing firearms. Wisconsin is a permissive open carry state, meaning you don’t need a state license to openly carry your firearm.

However, there are some restrictions on certain firearms. Machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns are prohibited in Wisconsin for regular citizens. Exceptions exist for federally licensed owners, law enforcement officers, and members of the National Guard.

Wisconsin Open Gun Laws Quick View

Let’s have a quick overview of various gun laws and policies in Wisconsin:

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoNoWisconsin does not issue any permit for the open carry of firearms.
Firearm registrationsNoNoNo requirement to register firearms before you open carry in the state.
Assault weaponNoNoAssault weapons are illegal in Wisconsin except for rare occasions.
Magazine limitNoNoWisconsin does not have any gun law that limits the number of rounds in firearms.
License for firearm ownersNot requiredNot requiredThe state does not issue any particular type of license to firearm owners.
Red flag lawNoNoWisconsin is not a red flag law state, and there are no extreme risk protection orders issued in the state.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesWisconsin is a castle doctrine state, and you can stand your ground in your home of residence, business place, or private car.
Background check for private dealersNoNoNICS criminal record background check is not a requirement for private dealers in the state.
PreemptionYesYesWisconsin is a preemption gun law state, and the government reserves all rights to regulate the use of firearms in the state.
Concealed carry permitNoYesYou can conceal carry with your Wisconsin concealed weapon license.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesIt is legal to conceal carry in your vehicle if you have a weapon license.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoYou cannot open carry in schools, colleges, and university premises of the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin gun laws permit open carry in the following areas of the state:

  1. Restaurants and Bars: You can open carry and possess firearms in restaurant areas, except when you are under the influence of alcohol, or there is a post prohibiting such possession.
  2. Private Car: You can open carry or possess firearms in a private vehicle.
  3. Roadside Areas: Open carry of firearms is lawful in roadside regions of Wisconsin.
  4. State Forests and Parks: It is legal to open carry in forests, park areas, and wildlife management areas in Wisconsin.
  5. Places of Worship: While Wisconsin has no specific laws prohibiting the possession of firearms in places of worship, the governing body of a church or mosque can decide to prohibit weapons on its premises.
See also  Oregon Open Carry

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry Firearms In Wisconsin?

Open carry is illegal in the following parts of Wisconsin:

  1. Schools: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
  2. Law Enforcement Buildings: It is illegal to open carry in buildings owned or used for operations by a sheriff or the police.
  3. Prisons and Jails: Open carry of firearms is illegal in Wisconsin prisons, jails, and other detention homes.
  4. Mental Health Facilities: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in facilities for mentally impaired individuals.
  5. Courthouses: It is prohibited to possess firearms or open carry in any state or county court premises or during legal proceedings.
  6. Legislative Buildings: You cannot open carry in any legislative building or office in the state, especially where there is a post prohibiting firearms.
  7. Under the Influence: It is illegal to open carry firearms while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant.
  8. Buildings with Posts: It is illegal to open carry firearms in any building, either privately or government-owned when there is a post prohibiting firearms or a verbal notice against possession.
  9. Prohibited Areas: You cannot open carry in areas prohibited by federal laws.

Relevant Open Carry Laws And Legislature In Wisconsin

Several gun statutes in Wisconsin pertain to open carry and firearm possession:

Ammunition Restrictions

Wisconsin prohibits the use of armor-piercing ammunition.

No Weapon Sign

Wisconsin enforces no weapon signs, and violating this law may result in the forfeiture of your firearm. No weapon signs can be enforced in various buildings, including private homes, non-government buildings on university or college campuses, state government-owned buildings, and private buildings in places like universities and colleges.

See also  Iowa Open Carry

Preemption Gun Law

Wisconsin has preemption gun laws, which means that state government authority supersedes that of local governments. However, local municipalities can regulate the firing of guns within their boundaries, except in cases of self-defense or other legal situations.

Brandishing Of Firearms

Negligently using a firearm in a way that threatens the safety of others is prohibited. Using firearms in a violent or abusive manner that causes public disturbance can result in prosecution.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

Wisconsin prohibits possessing firearms while under the influence of alcohol or any restricted substance. Under the influence of alcohol is defined as any substance that impairs a person’s judgment of using or handling firearms.

Open Carry While Hunting In Wisconsin

If you have hunting rights in Wisconsin, you can open carry while hunting. However, for bow hunting, you must conceal your firearms and have a state permit to carry them.

Hunter Harassment Law

This law prohibits deliberately impeding hunting, fishing, or trapping activities that are legally licensed. Harassment includes disturbing wildlife, interfering with hunting activities, or causing disturbances on a person’s property meant for legal hunting.


Understanding Wisconsin’s gun laws is crucial for anyone planning to open carry in the state. Wisconsin permits open carry in various places, but it is essential to be aware of prohibited areas and comply with all relevant gun statutes. By adhering to the law, you can exercise your rights responsibly and safely.


Q1. Can I open carry in a state park in Wisconsin?

Yes, you can open carry in state forests, parks, and wildlife management areas in Wisconsin.

See also  Louisiana Open Carry

Q2. Can I open carry in a school in Wisconsin if I have a concealed carry license?

No, open carry is not allowed in schools, colleges, and universities in Wisconsin, even if you have a concealed carry license.

Q3. Can I carry an assault weapon for self-defense in Wisconsin?

No, assault weapons are illegal in Wisconsin except for rare occasions.

Q4. Can I open carry while under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin?

No, it is illegal to open carry firearms while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant.

Q5. Are there any restrictions on magazine capacity for firearms in Wisconsin?

No, Wisconsin does not have any gun laws that limit the number of rounds in firearms.

Q6. Can you carry a gun in public in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin allows open carry of firearms in public places without a permit for anyone legally able to possess a gun.

Q7. Can anyone own a gun in Wisconsin?

No, certain persons like felons and those deemed mentally defective are prohibited from owning guns in Wisconsin.

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