Wisconsin Gun Laws

Gun Control Laws in Wisconsin

The gun laws in Wisconsin dictate how citizens can use, sell, purchase and transfer ownership of firearms in the state. Wisconsin’s Constitution protects the rights of residents to bear arms for any legal purpose. The state retains the rights to all gun laws and forbids counties from making their own gun laws that would override state ordinances. Wisconsin is a “Shall Issue” state for concealed carry. As long as you are at least 18 years old, open carry is permitted in Wisconsin. Wisconsin also honors the “Castle Doctrine” which states that a man’s home is his castle and he has the legal right to protect it and his family with force if necessary. You can carry handguns openly or concealed on boats. However, when on a boat long guns must be unloaded. You cannot carry on aircraft unless it is your own, on your own property. A background check is not required when selling privately. As long as you register it with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE), you can own a machine gun in Wisconsin. There are currently 328,907 gun permits in Wisconsin.

State CCW Quick Facts

  • Shall Issue State gun policy
  • Yes Open Carry Permitted
  • No Constitutional Carry
  • Yes Carry In Restaurants
  • Yes Carry In Vehicle
  • Residents License issued to
  • 328,907 Number of Active CCW Permits
  • 29 # of states that honor Wisconsin license
  • 42 # of state licenses that Wisconsin honors
  • 5 Years license is valid
  • 40 $ cost of the license
  • 21 Minimum age for license permit

Wisconsin’s policy is Shall Issue in practice and its license is issued to residents. You can carry a handgun in: state parks, state and national forests, road side rest areas, vehicle, all areas of the state not listed as forbidden.

Wisconsin CCW Reciprocity Map

Reciprocity agreements between states make it easier for gun owners to travel with their firearms across state borders. These twenty-nine states honor a Wisconsin gun permit

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Wisconsin honors these forty-two state’s gun permits

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These twenty states will not honor a Wisconsin gun license, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

Wisconsin Concealed Carry Permit and Laws

The Wisconsin Department of Justice issues concealed carry permits to residents only. Wisconsin is a “Shall Issue” state. Open carry is legal for anyone 18 or older. You are not legally able to carry in any sheriff’s office, police station, mental health center, courthouse, airport, municipal building, resource center or any school grounds or buses. You can, however, carry in state parks, wildlife preserves, your vehicle and rest areas. You do have to have a permit to carry concealed in your vehicle, as of April 2018. You do not need to notify an officer if you are carrying, but you must honor all “no weapons” signs. You do have the legal right to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. Wisconsin does not issue licenses to non-residents.

CCW Eligibility: Qualify or Pre-Qualify?

When applying for a concealed carry permit, you must be 21 years old and prove that you have taken an approved firearms training course. You must show you are a resident and have a valid driver’s license. You must not be legally restricted to own a firearm. You cannot be convicted of any felonies. The permit costs $40 and lasts for five years. You can file your application by mail or online.

Wisconsin Gun Background Check

Wisconsin is a “point of contact” but only for handgun purchases and licensed dealers must contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for a background check when selling handguns. Long guns are subject to federal law, and the dealer must contact the FBI and use NCIS for a full background check. Private sales are not subject to a background check. There is a 48-hour waiting period to buy guns in Wisconsin.

  • Permits
  • Handguns
  • Long Guns
  • Total

WI CCW and Pistol Permit Information

State Concealed Carry Requirements

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Applicant can provide adequate proof of training
  • Applicant is not prohibited by a court order from possessing a firearm
  • Applicant is a Wisconsin resident as indicated by a current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card or is active military stationed in Wisconsin.
  • You have not been convicted of a felony in Wisconsin
  • You have not been convicted of a crime elsewhere that would be a felony if convicted in Wisconsin.
  • You have not been adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that if committed by an adult in this state would be a felony.
  • You have not been committed to treatment and ordered not to possess a firearm.
  • You have not 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.
  • You have not been adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that if committed by an adult in this state would be a felony.
  • Federal law requirements

Gun CCW Permit Application

  1. Complete your firearm training course if required.
  2. Decide if you are going to file your application online or by mail.
  3. For mail applications download the application under the FORMS tab.
  4. You will need the following documents; The completed application form (pages 2- 4) containing: Three (3) required original signatures, no photo copies Current Wisconsin residential mailing address Current and valid Wisconsin driver license or identification card number Acceptable proof of training Payment of $40 fee
  5. Mail the application to; Wisconsin Department of Justice Attn: Firearms Unit PO Box 7130 Madison, WI, 53707-7130 You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.

CCW Renewal

  • Concealed weapons licenses can be renewed within 120 days before the expiry date;
  • Or up to 90 days after the expiry date.
  • Although you can renew a license for up to 90 days after the expiration date this does not authorize you to carry a concealed handgun after your license has expired. Once the expiry date is reached you are then violating the law if you continue to carry a concealed handgun.
  • Usually at around 90 days before the license expires a renewal notice will be mailed to the licensee.
  • The notice will contain a unique ID number that allows the licensee to access the online renewal system.

WI Concealed Carry License Fee information

Permit typeFees when getting a new permitRenewalCurrent license amendmentFingerprint scan feeFee for firearm classesAdditional state fees
Carrying concealed weapon license$30.00$12.00$60 - $65$10 criminal history record check fee

Places Where You Can & Can’t Carry a Gun in Wisconsin

State parksPolice station, sheriff’s office, state patrol station
State and national forestsPrison, jail, house of correction, or secured correctional facility
Road side rest areasSecure mental health facility for sexually violent Persons
VehicleWisconsin Resource Center
All areas of the state not listed as ForbiddenSecured unit of a mental health institute, including a facility designated as the Maximum Security Facility at Mendota Mental Health Institute
County, state, or federal courthouse
Municipal courtroom if court is in session
Beyond a security checkpoint in an airport
School grounds or within 1000 feet of a school
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law

Wisconsin CCW Contact

Wisconsin Bureau of Firearms


Monday – Friday:9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Address:Wisconsin Department of Justice
17 W. Main St.
City:Madison, WI 53703
Phone:(608) 266-1221

CCW Licensing Offices in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Justice

Office Address
Physical Address: 17 W. Main St. Madison, WI 53703 Mailing Address: Wisconsin Department of Justice P.O. Box 7857 Madison, WI 53707

(608) 266-1221

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Reference Links

Counties in Wisconsin