ATTENTION GUN OWNERS & FUTURE GUN OWNERS: GET CONCEALED CARRY CERTIFIED BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Wisconsin Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Seal

Wisconsin Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

Wisconsin Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

5.9M

STATE POPULATION

398K

LICENSES ISSUED

6.86%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

45

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

33

RECIPROCATING STATES

NO

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

4

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Being fully aware of your gun rights and state laws is the first step toward responsible firearm ownership. The next is understanding how Wisconsin concealed carry laws translate across state lines.

Wisconsin is home to around 5.9 million people and has issued about 398,000 concealed carry (CC) licenses, which is roughly 6.8% of the population. The minimum age to CC in Wisconsin is 21, and the license is valid for five years.

If you are interested in obtaining your concealed carry permit, you need an education partner you can trust. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to get your CC license.

Concealed Coalition's Network of Certified Firearms Instructors Offering In-person Training Statewide

Summary of Wisconsin Gun Laws

Your Wisconsin Gun Rights

Wisconsin is a shall-issue state. That means once individuals seeking to own a handgun meet state requirements (including a two-step background check) and pay a $40 fee, the Department of Justice will issue them a concealed carry weapon license (CCW). Wisconsin does not require firearms registration, a permit, or a background check if the firearm is being bought from a private individual.

Each state has its own take on gun laws, and that can make it challenging to keep those for your home area straight. Wisconsin recognizes licenses from 45 states, for example, while acknowledging some state-specific exceptions. Here is a summary of the state’s existing laws:

Open Carry in Wisconsin

Open carry is legal in Wisconsin. Individuals must satisfy the requirements of state and federal law and be 18 years old or above. A CC license is required for handguns that are within reach in a vehicle. 

Concealed Carry in Wisconsin

Individuals 21 years and older may CC if they are Wisconsin residents in possession of a CCW or a nonresident with the proper permit or license from a reciprocating state. (Wisconsin also recognizes applicants from states with similar background checks.) Those seeking their CC license must also have completed a firearms competency course.

Important note: Wisconsin state authorities recommend that CCW licensees contact any state where they wish to CC for the latest reciprocity information.

Self Defense Laws in Wisconsin

A CC license is a powerful way to protect yourself and others. It’s crucial to know where the line is when it comes to self-defense under the law to avoid excessive action.

Use of Force

Legal use of force is defined in Article 939.48 of the Wisconsin statutes. Force may be threatened or used in self-defense or defense of others. The level of force must be believed to be necessary to prevent the bad actor. Wisconsin has no duty-to-retreat requirement.

Use of force (but not deadly force) is also authorized under Article 939.49 to defend property or against retail theft. This article also applies to the defense of immediate family members or of a property that the defender has a legal duty to protect.

Use of Deadly Force

Use of deadly force applies under the same circumstances and statutes, and only if individuals feel their lives may be in danger and the bad actor is attempting a forcible entry into the defender’s dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business. The defender must be present in one of those locations for the use of deadly force to be justified.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

Your legal position after the use of force depends on how authorities view the act. They may view as justified any action under the perception of a legitimate threat if there is a reasonable belief of imminent harm or in response to an immediate threat if the use of force did not persist after the danger had ended. 

Firearms training is an excellent way to gain the skills necessary to gauge threat levels. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million people to become responsible, certified gun owners. Classes are available locally and online.

Wisconsin Gun Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (608) 291-3015 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs..

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CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN WISCONSIN

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does Wisconsin recognize constitutional carry?

No, Wisconsin does not recognize constitutional carry.

Is open carry permitted in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is an open carry state, so anyone 18 or older can visibly carry weapons under state law. However, a person cannot have any other prohibitions, such as being a felon or convicted of domestic abuse, to carry a weapon legally.

If Wisconsin requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

Wisconsins gun laws operate at the state level. Concealed Weapons Licenses (CWLs) are issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to residents and military personnel stationed in Wisconsin.

What is the minimum age in Wisconsin to get a concealed carry license?

Wisconsin residents must be 21 years of age to apply for and be issued a concealed carry permit.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Wisconsin with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

Wisconsin is an open carry state, so any person 18 years of age meeting the legal requirements are entitled to carry a firearm openly. However, a license is required to conceal carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Wisconsin?

Stun Guns and Tasers are Legal with Restrictions.

  1. You need a CCW license or recognized out of state license to legally carry stun guns in Wisconsin.
  2. You can have a stun gun in your home or business
  3. You can carry a stun gun in your vehicle if it’s in a closed case.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Wisconsin?

It is legal to buy, carry, use, and ship pepper spray to Wisconsin. Pepper spray cannot be disguised or camouflaged. Individuals must be at least 18 years old to buy or possess pepper spray; however, minors can with parental permission.

Does Wisconsin have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No.

Does Wisconsin have ammunition restrictions?

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN WISCONSIN

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin?

Yes. Wisconsin law prohibits carrying a concealed weapon in the following places:

  • School grounds (unless unloaded and locked away)
  • Universities (without written permission of the CAO)
  • Correctional facilities
  • Beyond airport security checkpoints
  • Law enforcement buildings
  • Mental health facilities
  • Courthouses
  • Any location prohibited by federal law

It is always advisable to check in advance with your destination to be certain of their stance on concealed firearms.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin?

Licensed individuals may CC in any location that does not meet the criteria above, provided they adhere to local and site-specific regulations and rules of conduct governing firearms. It is always best practice to contact your intended location in advance and ask about their firearms regulations.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Wisconsin?

On April 10, 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a person must have a permit that is valid in Wisconsin to carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle.

You can carry a handgun in a vehicle without a permit if it is completely visible—meaning above the window line and not concealed in any manner.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Wisconsin?

Yes, with a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, or a license from a state that Wisconsin provides reciprocity.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in Wisconsin?

Yes, with a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, or a license from a state that Wisconsin provides reciprocity.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Wisconsin?

Yes, provided the owner has not specified otherwise and if you consume no alcohol.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Wisconsin?

Some hotels allow CC weapons to be checked in and stored, while others do not allow firearms. It is generally best to assume that they will be prohibited. Check with the hotel before entering their premises to be certain of their firearms regulations.

Does Wisconsin have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Yes. Employers may not prohibit any CC-licensed individual from keeping a weapon in their private vehicle as a condition of employment, even if that vehicle is parked on property owned by the employer.

Can I Carry a Firearm While Hunting or Fishing in Wisconsin?

Yes, with a Wisconsin concealed weapons license or a permit or license from a reciprocating state. Those 18 and up who legally occupy, lease, or own land do not require a CC license on that property. Wisconsin does require that handguns match the legal requirements for the species being hunted.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN WISCONSIN

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Wisconsin?

It is legally required to do so only if requested by a LEO under item (2g)(C). It is considered the responsible thing to do to inform the officer right away, even if no request has been made regarding your CC status.

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in Wisconsin? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

Any property that has given visual or verbal notice that firearms aren’t allowed must have its stance respected, but state statutes detail certain situation-specific exceptions.

Does Wisconsin have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

The state has preemption, but cities may restrict firearms discharge if not in self-defense.

Does Wisconsin have a red flag law?

No.

Does Wisconsin state law define brandishing?

Intentionally pointing a firearm at someone or handling it irresponsibly constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.

Does Wisconsin have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

No, nor when having detectable amounts of restricted/controlled substances in the blood.

Does Wisconsin issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Only if they are military personnel stationed in Wisconsin.

Does Wisconsin allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN WISCONSIN

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Wisconsin?

You do not need a permit to purchase a handgun in Wisconsin. There is a 48 hour waiting period for a firearm and firearm dealers must have detailed information on the purchaser. 

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Wisconsin?

No background check or governmental permission/registration is required to purchase a handgun.
Pro Tip: save your receipt in the event you need to show proof of ownership.

Does my current Wisconsin concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

You are not required to have a permit or a background check to purchase a firearm in Wisconsin. 

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Wisconsin?

There is a 48 hour waiting period. However, new Wisconsin law provides that if the DOJ search indicates that is unclear whether the potential purchaser is prohibited from purchasing a firearm, DOJ must notify the dealer of the results no later than 5 working days after the search was requested.

Do handguns need to be registered in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin does not require the registration of firearms.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Wisconsin?

18 years old, so long as the individual meets Wisconsin state laws requirements. For concealed carry, persons must be 21 years of age with a licensed concealed carry permit. 

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in Wisconsin without a license? 

Handguns may be carried loaded and uncased without a permit if on your own property.

WISCONSIN CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in Wisconsin

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Provide a current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card or be active military stationed in Wisconsin;
  • Provide proof that you have completed a firearms safety training course;
  • Not be prohibited by a court order from possessing a firearm;
  • Not have been convicted of a felony in Wisconsin or convicted of a crime elsewhere that would be a felony if convicted in Wisconsin;
  • Not have been adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that if committed by an adult in Wisconsin would be a felony;
  • Not have been committed to treatment and ordered not to possess a firearm;
  • Not have been found not guilty or not responsible for a crime elsewhere that would be a felony in this state by reason of insanity or mental illness, disease or defect;
  • Meet federal law requirements.

 

Fees:

Initial license fee is $40; renewal fees are $22.

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

21 days.

Applications:

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

Only issued to active military personnel stationed in Wisconsin. 

Name & Address Changes:

To apply for a replacement license due to a name and/or address change, use Wisconsin’s online system to request a replacement license and pay the fee. There is no charge for address changes if no new card is requested.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

If your license was damaged and are requesting a new card with your existing License Number you must complete the Replacement License Request Form and submit your request through the mail and return your damaged card. 

You may use the online system to request to have your lost or stolen CCW license replaced. A new License number will be assigned. The cost for a replacement license is $12 and will require a new background check.

Residency Changes:

Wisconsin issues license to residents and military personnel stationed in Wisconsin only. You can apply for your license to the sheriff of your county once you have a current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card. If a person with a Wisconsin concealed weapons license establishes residency in another state, the license expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.

WISCONSIN CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

MAIL-IN

Step One:

Complete necessary training requirements.

Step Two:

Download the mail-in application

Step Three:

The following documents are required:

  • The completed application form with required original signatures (no photo copies);
  • Current Wisconsin residential mailing address;
  • Current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card number; 
  • Acceptable proof of training.

Pay the fee.

Step Four:

Mail in your application to:

Wisconsin Department of Justice
Attn: Firearms Unit
P.O. Box 7130
Madison, WI, 53707-7130

Step Five:

You will be notified by mail when your application is approved. 

ONLINE

Step One:

Complete necessary training requirements.

Step Two:

Download and complete the online application

Step Three:

Submit your application online.

Step Four:

You will be notified by mail when your application is approved.

WISCONSIN CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Step One:

Renewals must be submitted within 120 days of current license expiration and may still be submitted if the current license has not been expired for more than 90 days. License holders will be notified by mail of impending expiration.

Step Two:

The renewal process will require a new background check, the issuance of a new card, and a $22 fee. Applicants can’t apply until their renewal alert arrives by standard mail. This is because they will need their CCW user ID (printed on their renewal notification letter) to begin the online process

Step Three:

Applications are typically processed within 21 days. With approval delivered via mail.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

Federal law H.R. 218 allows active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs) to CC, but there are parameters specific to Wisconsin. Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) cards are only issued to retired Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agents.

Retired, out-of-state LEOs who reside in Wisconsin and retired federal agents must submit their LEOSA card applications to the Division of Law Enforcement Services, Criminal Information Bureau, Firearms Unit. There are two processes, depending on the applicant.

For Retired DCI Agents

Applicants who meet LEOSA requirements must undertake one of four yearly firearms qualification courses offered by the DOJ. They must supply their own eye and ear protection, range fees (typically $20), and 50 ammunition rounds. They must also complete and provide:

  • An applicant questionnaire
  • A liability form
  • A test certification form
  • A color photo of passport quality and size

Wisconsin also accepts certificates of firearms qualification issued by another agency or a technical college, provided they have been obtained under a certified DOJ T&S (training and standards) firearms instructor. This certification must be submitted with the application, along with the liability waiver, applicant questionnaire, and passport-quality photo.

For Retired Out-of-State LEOs and Federal LEOs

Applicants must meet the following requirements and provide the following paperwork to pursue their LEOSA certification and card:

  • Be a Wisconsin resident
  • Have separated from their law enforcement agency in good standing
  • Be permitted to possess a firearm under state or federal law
  • Have at least 10 years prior service or service-connected disability after completion of probation
  • Have documentation satisfying state legislature and DOJ requirements
  • Have completed the same level of firearms qualification required for active Wisconsin LEOs
  • Submit the type of firearm they’re certified to carry
  • Have a passport-quality photo

Retired LEOs of any kind should contact the WDOJ with any queries or concerns to be sure of LEOSA requirements and ask about any application updates.

Firearms Training & Competency

The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for Wisconsin concealed carry and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us with any questions or to sign up.

Proper firearms training is essential for any individual with the right to carry a gun. Wisconsin citizens can pursue their CC license by submitting any form of proof in items in the state’s training requirements list, with other forms of firearms training also being a plus:

NRA Training

The National Rifle Association offers several types of training at a wide range of locations. Use its local training locator to find classes near you and specific lessons covering various gun skills.

Hunter Safety Courses

These are necessary for anyone looking to hunt in Wisconsin who was born on or after January 1, 1973. Certification is recognized in every state, and courses may be taken online.

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Public and private institutions, colleges, or law enforcement agencies often provide firearms training. This form of qualification must satisfy the requirements in the state’s training requirements.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearm training to help you gain a CC license. Our highly specialized instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you learn tested and reliable skills.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

The military document DD 214 is issued when a service member performs active duty or has completed at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty training. The state considers this proof of firearms competency.

Documents from The Department of Safety and Professional Services

Documentation that you completed private security training from the Department of Safety and Professional Services or a similar course in another state. Training must include a Firearms Certification of Proficiency.

Get Certified for a Wisconsin Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout Wisconsin. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today.

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