Understanding Wisconsin state law can help keep you out of trouble when it comes to where you can and cannot carry a concealed weapon, even if you have been issued a CCW permit.
One of the more commonly asked questions about CCW is whether or not you are allowed to carry in a tavern, or bar. The state Wisconsin defines a “tavern” as:
“… any establishment, other than a private or fraternal organization, in which alcohol beverages are sold for consumption on the premises. Wis. Stat. § 941.237(1)(fm) and (3)(cx)”
Without a CCW permit, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon anywhere, but if you have been issued a concealed carry license, you are legally allowed to carry your firearm concealed in a bar, only if you are not consuming alcohol.
Carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of an intoxicant is classified as a class A misdemeanor, and punishable with up to 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
What is the definition of “under the influence?”
For CCW purposes, the state of Wisconsin defines intoxication as:
“… materially impairing the ability to handle a firearm which is further explained as consuming an amount of alcohol to cause the person to be less able to exercise clear judgment and steady hand necessary to handle a firearm. WI Jury Instruction-CRIMINAL 1321.”
In most states, the same methods for prosecution are the same for drunk driving as they are for firearms. If you drink, don’t drive, and if you’re carrying concealed, don’t drink. Not even one. Take your pistol home and lock it up in the safe if you’re planning to go to the bar.
Other places it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin, even if issued a CCW permit, include:
- “Any portion of a building that is a police station, sheriff’s office, state patrol station, or the office of a Division of Criminal Investigation special agent of DOJ.
- Any portion of a building that is a prison, jail, house of correction, or secured correctional facility.
- The Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, the Wisconsin Resource Center, or any secured unit or secured portion of a mental health institution, including a facility designated as the Maximum Security Facility at the Mendota Mental Health Institute.
- Any portion of a building that is a county, state, or federal courthouse.
- Any portion of a building that is a municipal courtroom if court is in session.
- A place beyond a security checkpoint in an airport.
- School grounds and premises: No one, including a CCW licensee may carry a firearm in or on the grounds of a school unless another specific statutory exception applies. Wis. Stat. § 948.605(2)(b)1r
State and local governmental buildings may prohibit legal concealed carry if they decide to and must post a Notice of Refusal of Right to Carry Concealed to inform citizens. This topic of “No Guns Allowed” signs will be addressed in the next article.
Now for the disclaimer: I am not currently, nor do I intend to become a lawyer. Seek out your own expert opinion in the law. If you have information that can clarify or reform the article, please feel free to leave a comment below so it can be addressed.
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