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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/26/2005 7:58:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2005 2:32:01 PM EDT by glenn_r]
text in green are my editorial comments

Firearms Laws:

NRA version of firearms laws: Here
These short explanations are somewhat misleading, so see lengthier explanations below.

Anyone who possesses or uses a firearm while intoxicated, shoots within 100 yards of a home without permission, points a weapon at anyone except in self-defense, negligently handles a weapon, or commits a drive-by shooting is in trouble. Statute 941.20

Carrying a concealed weapon is a class A misdemeanor, state statute 941.23
This is any "weapon", not just firearms. Knives are legally defined as "dangerous weapons".

Going armed in any building owned/leased by the government is a class A misdemeanor, state statute 941.235

Carrying a handgun where alcohol is sold/consumed is generally a class A misdemeanor, state statute 941.237

Armor-piercing ammunition prohibited in handguns when committing a crime. Statute 941.296

"No person may carry or display a facsimile firearm in a manner that could reasonably be expected to alarm, intimidate, threaten or terrify another person", unless on your own property or business, or that of another person with their consent. Statute 941.2965

Imitation firearms cannot be sold in Wisconsin unless they comply with Federal standards, statute 941.297.
This includes airsoft, non-working replica firearms, water pistols, etc.

Wisconsin has a state pre-emption law that generally forbids cities from passing firearms ordinances more strict than that of state law. Statute 66.0409
This doesn't affect zoning regulations--see the Madison zoning ordinance below that effectively prohibits handgun sales in Madison.

Committing a crime while possessing a dangerous weapon is a penalty enhancer. Statute 939.63

Firearm ownership, buying & selling:
The "Lautenberg Act" made it illegal to possess a firearm after being convicted of "a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence". U.S. Code 922(g)(9)
This includes Domestic Disorderly Conduct.

It is a felony to possess a firearm if you are a:
* Felon
* Committed a felony as a juvenile
* Not guilty of a felony by reason of mental disease or defect
* Committed under mental health laws & ordered not to possess a firearm
* Are the subject of a domestic abuse or child abuse restraining order
* Are ordered not to possess firearms as a subject of a harassment restraining order
Any person who knowingly provides a firearm to an ineligible person is party to a felony crime. Statute 941.29

Legal age: See "minor" section further down.

There is a 48-hour waiting period on handgun transfers: Statute 175.35
Note that the 48-hour clock begins after the dealer receives the DOJ confirmation number.

Rifles and shotguns can be purchased in a contiguous state as long as the purchase complies with Federal law and the laws of the contiguous state. Statute 175.30

State Parks & Wildlife Refuges
Statute 29.089 requires firearms to be unloaded and encased in state parks. There is an exception for hunting when the hunt is administratively approved. Statute 29.091 requires firearms to be encased and unloaded in wildlife refuges.

Gun-free school zones
It is a class I felony to possess a firearm on school grounds or within 1000' of a school zone. Statute 948.605. This statute does not apply to:
* private property not part of school grounds
* individuals licensed by the local government body to possess the firearm
* unloaded and encased firearms
* individuals with firearms for use in a school-approved program
* individuals with school contract to possess firearm
* law enforcement acting in official capacity
* unloaded firearms when traversing school grounds to gain access to hunting land, if the entry is approved by the school.
It is a class G felony to discharge or attempt to discharge a firearm in a school zone. Limited exceptions for private property not part of school grounds, school programs, and law enforcement.

Class 3 firearms:
Machine guns are legal if you follow BATFE process, state statute 941.27

Short-barrel rifles and shotguns are legal if you follow BATFE process, state statute 941.28

Silencers are legal if you follow BATFE process, statute 941.298

Hunting with a legally-possessed short-barrel rifle or shotgun, or a silencer, is legal. The DNR pamphlet refers to statute 941.28 and 941.298, respectively, and there is no law or regulation stating "hunting" weapons must have a specific barrel length or cannot be suppressed.

Photoman received a letter from "P Thomas H. Van Haren, Conservation Warden/NR Policy Officer, Bureau of Law Enforcement, WDNR", confirming "While we do not have any specific law against hunting with a suppressed firearm...". Again, be sure to have the NFA paperwork with you.

Also, Photoman received another letter 8/05 from the same DNR official stating, "...the requirement for the minimum barrel and overall length for rifles and shotguns in our Wisconsin Hunting Regulations is simply based on the statutory language you found in s. 941.28, WIs. Stats. We do not have a specific rule that says a person may not hunt with a shotgun or rifle that is less then these lengths if a person has the proper Federal permit that allows the person to possess and use such a firearm. The restrictions on minimum caliber and shot gun gauges for hunting would still apply."

Firearms and minors
Leaving a firearm within reach of a child under 14 is generally a misdemeanor, if that child points it at anyone or shows it to anyone in a public place. Defenses include having the gun locked in a safe or container, or having a trigger lock on the gun, or removal of a key operating part, or illegal entry by anyone to obtain the firearm, or a reasonable belief a juvenile couldn't access the firearm. Statute 948.55

Firearms retailers are required to provide every buyer with a written warning stating, "If you leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child you may be fined or imprisoned or both if the child improperly discharges, possesses or exhibits the firearm." Statute 175.37

Possession of a dangerous weapon by anyone under 18 is a class A misdemeanor. Giving/loaning/selling a dangerous weapon to someone under 18 is a class I felony. Statute 948.60. Defenses to prosecution under this statute:
* Target practice under the supervision of an adult
* Members of armed forces under 18 in the line of duty

For hunting purposes, the following exceptions to the age limit apply, as specified in statute 29.304 for weapons with barrels 12" or longer.
* under 12 may not hunt with a firearm or bow under any circumstances
* under 12 can only possess firearm/bow in Hunter Safety class, or while cased/unloaded and under parental supervision while going to/from Hunter Safety class
* 12-13 may hunt when accompanied by an adult
* 12-13 may possess firearm when accompanied by an adult, or while transporting cased/unloaded firearm to/from Hunter Safety class, or in Hunter Safety class
* 14-15 is the same as 12-13, except Hunter Safety graduates can hunt and possess firearms without adult supervision.

School students shall be suspended until their expulsion hearing if they possess a firearm in school or during a school event. State law requires a minimum one-year expulsion for this offense. Statute 120.13(1)(bm) and 120.13(1)(c)2m. In addition, the student's driver license may be suspended for two years under Statute 938.34(14q). This suspension also applies to bomb threats and CCW violations in government buildings.

Firearms in vehicles:

In this section, unloaded = "Having no shell or cartridge in the chamber of a firearm or in the magazine attached to a firearm." Encased = "enclosed in a case that is expressly made for the purpose of containing a firearm and that is completely zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened with no part of the firearm exposed." Statute 167.31

Firearms must be unloaded and encased when the motor is running.

Firearms must be unloaded and encased.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATV, snowmobiles:
Firearms cannot be placed in or on a vehicle unless the firearms are unloaded and encased. However, it is legal to "lean an unloaded firearm against a vehicle". Statute 167.31(4)(d).
Technically you can lean an unloaded gun against a vehicle, but you're violating the law if you put the unloaded gun on top of a vehicle, like on the hood or trunk. The DNR aggressively enforces this.

Law enforcement officers, military personnel on active duty, landowners & their family and employees on farm tractors inside CWD eradication zones, and disabled hunters with special permits meeting all the requirements.
Technically, a loaded magazine in the same case as the firearm is OK. Also technically, if the weapon is in the passenger compartment, even unloaded/encased, an argument could be made for a CCW violation. The firearm is still classified as a weapon even though it's unloaded. Complying with the unloaded/encased law does NOT exempt you from the CCW law, even in a vehicle. Yes, this is stupid. I've never heard of anyone being cited/arrested for CCW when they comply with the unloaded/encased law--not even by the DNR, which is saying something!--but technically the CCW law could still be applied. Yes, the whole situation is stupid..

Hunting regulations:
Pamphlet version here.
These are good generic summaries but don't fully explain the law--such as suppressor and short-barrel information. See the Class 3 section for those issues.

Pepper Spray & Stun Guns:
Pepper spray (oleoresin of capsicum or "O.C." spray) is legal in Wisconsin as long as it doesn't contain other active ingredients. "Mace" and "tear gas" are illegal.
Cite: Administrative Code Jus 14.03 implements State Statute 941.26(4).

State statute 941.295 prohibits "any device which is designed...to immobilize or incapacitate persons by the use of electric current". Possession or use is a class H felony.


Body armor
Possession of body armor by anyone convicted of a "violent felony", or anyone found not guilty because of mental defect, or anyone who committed a delinquency that was a "violent felony" is a class E felony, statute 941.291

Possession of a knife that opens by "pressing a button, spring or other device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or movement" is a class A misdemeanor. Statute 941.24
This definitely includes "butterfly" knives, among others. Wisconsin doesn't set a statutory limit on blade length, although some municipalities do.

It's illegal to shine a laser at anyone, or to use a laser in any way that would reasonably be expected to disrupt an event or cause a disturbance. Violation is a forfeiture unless the person shined is an LEO, in which case it is a class B misdemeanor, statute 941.299

Local ordinances

Madison handgun sales:
Ordinance 28.10 controls the zoning of shops that sell handguns, explaining why only Rusk is able to sell them in city limits.

Local knife laws
The following cities/villages prohibit the carry of knives with blades 3" or longer:
* Village of Bayside, ord. 62-266
* City of Milwaukee, ord. 105-34(2)(a), p. 587.
* City of Racine, ord. 66-56
* City of South Milwaukee, ord. 24.16

The City of Kenosha: "No person, except a parent or guardian shall sell directly or give away any knife with a blade of more than two (2) inches to a child under 11 years of age." Ord. 11.06 (p. 13).

Traffic-related information

Wisconsin is the only state in the country where 1st-offense OWI is not a crime. In Wisconsin first offense is only a forfeiture. Statute 346.63. Intent to drive or move a motor vehicle is not required to find an accused guilty of operating the vehicle while under influence of intoxicant. Movement of the vehicle is not required to show "operation".
If you're going to "sleep it off" in your car, don't have the keys in the ignition and don't be in the driver's seat. I recommend against even being in the car.
Blood Alcohol Calculator
Thanks to the beer lobby and the unholy grip $$ has on politicians Wisconsin lost $15,000,000 in Federal highway funds because politicians delayed so long in dropping the legal limit to .08.

OWI checkpoints are prohibited by state law. Statute 349.02(2)(a).

Unmarked squad cars
You must stop "as promptly as safety reasonably permits" for traffic officers (meaning any LEO authorized to write traffic citations), statute 346.04. Failure to stop as soon as safety permits is a class A misdemeanor; fleeing/eluding is a felony.
My advice for females being stopped by an unmarked police car is to turn on your hazard lights, slow down, head towards a well-lit area, and call 911 on your cell phone to verify it's a real LEO. Don't have a cell phone? You should. A quick call to 911 will help demonstrate you're trying to cooperate. Driving for another 10 minutes until 3-4 more squads get there is less desirable.

Miscellaneous traffic info
Statute 349.02(3) prohibits tickets from photo radar cameras.

Police officer ticket quotas are prohibited. Statute 349.025.

Miscellaneous Useful Information

Who are my legislators?

Search Wisconsin Statutes

Search city/county ordinances

Wisconsin Circuit Court Access. You can look up anyone's involvement in Wisconsin courts, civil and criminal, as they are public records.

DOJ Criminal Record checks. Official criminal record checks.

Wisconsin Sex Offenders. Search by name or ZIP code.

Department of Motor Vehicles--Driver & Vehicle Information. Getting a license, changing your address, titles, service center locations & hours...

Winter Road Conditions

Road Construction

Lodging information for events held at the Driftless Rifle Club:

Hotels in Reedsburg:
Super 8: 608-524-2888 or 800-800-8000
Voyageur Inn: 608-524-6431
Comfort Inn: 608-524-8535 or 800-521-2121
Copper Springs Motel: 608-524-4312
Motel Reedsburg: not recommended

Fancier possibilities:
Parkview B&B
Pine Grove B&B
Link Posted: 9/26/2005 8:04:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/26/2005 8:04:03 PM EDT by BulletcatchR]
IM glenn_r for updates
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 2:15:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2005 2:15:30 PM EDT by BulletcatchR]
EDIT by glenn_r
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 2:37:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2005 2:37:07 PM EDT by BulletcatchR]
edit complete
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