Firearm Crimes We Advise, You Decide 

Kenosha Firearm Lawyer

Helping Clients Understand Wisconsin’s Firearm Laws

Both state and federal laws pertaining to firearms apply in the state of Wisconsin. These laws can be confusing and complex and, if you are not familiar with them, you can make criminal mistakes such as carrying a firearm into a protected area, such as a courthouse, educational campus, or other restricted places. Such acts can lead to firearm charges. These charges can carry serious penalties affecting your freedom and future and should be handled by an attorney who is well-versed in all the laws regarding firearms in your area.

At the Law Office of John Anthony Ward, we have guided thousands of individuals through the criminal justice system in Wisconsin. Our Kenosha firearms crime attorney has been practicing since 1985 and has handled more than 200 jury trials. That kind of experience can be invaluable when you are facing criminal charges against a tough prosecutor whose sole aim is to convict you. We can review the facts, analyze the evidence, search out flaws and inefficiencies, and put together a defense strategy geared towards your best interests. Throughout your case, our experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure that you understand each phase of the process and potential consequences so that you formulate the best decisions.

Are you facing a firearm charge in Wisconsin? Call the Law Office of John Anthony Ward today at (262) 205-6599 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our Kenosha firearm crimes attorney!

What are the Gun Laws in Kenosha, WI?

According to Article 1, Section 25 of the Constitution of Wisconsin, “The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.” Wisconsin is a “shall-issue” state, which means residents 21 years of age or older must obtain a Wisconsin Concealed Weapons License (CWL) issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

When it comes to self-defense, Wisconsin is a Castle Doctrine state, which means homeowners and business owners are given immunity if they use a gun in self-defense while on their property (e.g., dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business). There is no duty to retreat.

Is Wisconsin an Open Carry State?

Wisconsin is an open carry state, meaning that anyone over the age of 18 who qualifies under both state and federal law can carry a firearm. To qualify for open carry, you cannot be a felon or convicted of domestic abuse. Only residents of the state can obtain Wisconsin licenses. Background checks, permits, and registrations are not required in handgun sales from a private individual. Open carry is permitted in restaurants and state parks but where “no weapons” signs are posted, those signs are enforced.

What Is the Difference Between Concealed Carry and Open Carry in Wisconsin?

The terms "open carry" and "concealed carry" refer to two distinct modes of firearm possession. The Wisconsin open carry law, as the name suggests, allows individuals over the age of 18, who are not convicted felons or domestic abusers, to carry a firearm openly without the need for a license, permit, or background check in most circumstances. However, this should be done in accordance with any specific restrictions enforced in certain areas, like places with "no weapons" signage.

On the other hand, concealed carry law in Wisconsin requires individuals to be at least 21 years old and to secure a Wisconsin Concealed Weapons License (CWL) issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The primary difference lies in the visibility of the firearm; in open carry, the firearm is visible to the public eye, while in concealed carry, the firearm is hidden from view under your clothing or within a personal item such as a purse or bag.

What is the Legal Age to Carry a Gun in Wisconsin?

Those who wish to carry concealed weapons must be 21 or older. These applicants must complete a firearms training class. They must also qualify under other criteria, such as not being prohibited from gun possession through court order or not having committed a felony.

Under the law, many locations and facilities exist in which you cannot legally carry a firearm, such as police stations, courthouses, jails, prisons, school grounds, airports, mental hospitals, and more. You must have a permit to carry a concealed firearm in your vehicle. Otherwise, without a permit, your firearm must be visible.

What are the Different Types of Firearm Offenses?

Wisconsin has many laws pertaining to firearms and violating them can have serious consequences.

These crimes can include but are not limited to:

  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit

  • Transporting a loaded weapon

  • Discharging a firearm

  • Sale of illegal firearms

  • Bringing a firearm onto a restricted location

  • Trafficking in illegal firearms

  • Sale of a firearm to someone who is prohibited from gun possession, such as convicted felon or a minor

What are the Penalties for Firearm Offenses?

For example, it is a Class A misdemeanor to endanger the safety of others by negligently handling a firearm. This includes using a firearm when one is “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to nine months in jail and/or fines of up to $10,000. Firing a gun at law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, or other public servants is a felony charge as is the firing of a firearm into a building or vehicle where people may be present. Felony charges carry sentences of more than a year in prison and even heavier fines than misdemeanors.

Start Your Defense Today

Firearms laws are complicated and can be confusing and each comes with its own set of penalties. Trying to understand and navigate the system on your own is ill-advised when you have no professional understanding of where you stand or how to credibly defend yourself. Every criminal case is different, with its own set of circumstances which need a thorough review to determine the facts. Defenses may exist that can be used to help you avoid serious consequences, but you will need professional legal representation. Our firm is here to guide you through the maze of the criminal court system and to make the best defense possible on your behalf.

Contact the Law Office of John Anthony Ward today to schedule a FREE consultation!

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