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Top 10 Concealed Carry Questions and Answers

1. What is the Concealed Carry Statute?

The concealed carry statute (2011 Wisconsin Act 35) allows a properly qualified and licensed Wisconsin resident to carry a concealed weapon (defined as a handgun, "electric weapon", billy club, or knife other than a switchblade) anywhere except on school grounds and in certain mental health facilities, government offices, courthouses, police stations, penal institutions and airports beyond security checkpoints.

2. When Does It Take Effect? 

November 1, 2011.

3. How Do I Find A Copy?

Go to https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/acts/2011/35.pdf. After its effective date, most of the concealed carry law can be found at Wis. Stat. §175.60 and in amendments to Wisconsin's criminal trespass statute (Wis. Stat. §943.13).

4. Can Employers Restrict Their Employees' Right To Carry A Concealed Weapon?

Yes. Employers can prohibit a concealed carry licensee/ employee from carrying a concealed weapon, or a particular type of concealed weapon, in the course of employment, except "in the licensee's . . . own motor vehicle, regardless of whether the motor vehicle is used in the course of employment or whether the motor vehicle is driven or parked on property used by the employer".

5. Can Businesses Restrict The Right Of Customers And Others To Carry A Concealed Weapon On The Premises? 

Yes. Businesses can prohibit a concealed carry licensee from carrying a firearm on the premises.

6. How Do Businesses Notify Their Employees, Customers And Others That Concealed Weapons Are Prohibited?

Signs must be prominently posted near all common entrances to buildings and, if applicable, near all probable points of access to "grounds". In the absence of posted signs prohibiting weapons, concealed carry licensees can lawfully carry weapons on the premises.

7. What Should The Signs Look Like?

At this point, only the size of the signs (at least 5 inches by 7 inches) and their location (near all common entrances and access points) have been prescribed. The statute does not mandate the color of the signs, the size of the lettering, or the precise language required. It also does not allow, prohibit or recommend any symbols. "No Weapons Allowed", or language to that effect, is probably sufficient.

8. Should Employers Modify Policies And Procedures Relating To Weapons?

The law doesn't require it, but employers should review and amend written employee policies, procedures, handbooks and similar materials relating to weapons to reflect any changes in company policy prompted by the concealed carry statute. For example, if an employer chooses to prohibit concealed carry with appropriate signage, written policies might:

  • Reinforce the prohibition and explain any disciplinary consequences for a violation;
  • Address concealed carry in the course of employment while licensees are away from the employer's premises;
  • Incorporate the statutory exception allowing concealed carry in the licensee's "own motor vehicle";
  • Require that weapons in a licensee's own vehicle be stored in a locked container;
  • Prohibit concealed carry in company-owned vehicles.

9. How Will Weapons Be Prohibited In Nonresidential Buildings With Multiple Tenants?

The right to prohibit firearms on nonresidential properties may be exercised by the owner of the building in common areas, and by occupants in portions of the building leased to them.

10. How Does Statutory Immunity Work?

As incentive to allow concealed carry, the legislature granted to employers and businesses statutory immunity from any liability arising from the decision to not prohibit concealed carry.

  • Statutory immunity from liability is alluring, but there may be costs associated with allowing concealed carry, including employees' and third parties' potential negative perception of the safety of the premises and disinclination to work or visit there. On the other hand, allowing concealed carry may be beneficial to some businesses and employers.
  • Insurance costs may be a factor. At this juncture we do not know whether a decision to prohibit weapons will make insurance more or less expensive than it will be if concealed weapons are permitted.
  • The unavailability of statutory immunity for those who prohibit concealed carry does not mean those businesses are automatically liable if a concealed weapon causes injury or damage. If a concealed weapon causes injury despite proper prohibitory signage, a business should not be liable absent proof of fault or wrongdoing, as has always been the case. Proof that the business conscientiously prohibited concealed weapons should assist the defense. 

 

 

 

 

©2020 von Briesen & Roper, s.c

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About this Author

Doris Brosnan, Von Briesen Roper Law Firm, Milwaukee, Labor and Employment, Health Care and Immigration Law Attorney

Doris Brosnan is a Shareholder in the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and focuses exclusively on assisting clients with employment issues. Doris regularly advises health care, corporate and public sector clients on dealing with disloyal or difficult employees, accommodating disabilities in the workplace, harassment, workplace violence, FMLA, and the development of effective employment policies and practices. She regularly assists clients in preparing and implementing employee transition plans, including employment due diligence in mergers and acquisitions,...

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Heidi Vogt, von Briesen Roper Law Firm, Milwaukee, Insurance and Litigation Law Attorney

Heidi Vogt is a Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Litigation and Risk Management Practice Group as well as the Chair of the Insurance Coverage and Risk Management Section. Her practice focuses on insurance coverage litigation, commercial disputes, constitutional law, and complex litigation. She has represented insurance companies in Wisconsin and across the country in both state and federal courts in complex insurance coverage matters for more than 20 years.

She represents and counsels insurance clients on a wide variety of topics including general liability, environmental, asbestos, toxic tort, products, construction defect, mold, bad faith, mass tort, intellectual property, firearms litigation, employer liability, first party property, and professional liability. She is frequently retained to negotiate and draft allocation agreements among insurers and develop creative solutions to various insurance coverage issues.

Heidi lectures on a wide variety of topics including environmental insurance coverage, environmental issues, bad faith litigation, motor carrier issues, and advertising injury liability/personal injury liability coverage.

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Peter F. Mullaney, von Briesen Roper Law Firm, Milwaukee, Litigation Law Attorney

Peter Mullaney is a Shareholder in the Litigation and Risk Management Practice Group, specializing in personal injury litigation, business disputes, and insurance coverage contests. Before entering private practice in 1989, Peter served as law clerk for the Hon. John L. Coffey in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Hon. J. P. Stadtmueller in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and the Hon. R. James Groh in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. For the past 25 years, Peter...

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