With a ton of amazing attractions, beautiful scenery, and fun things to do, Wisconsin is a hidden gem.
People from around the world visit Wisconsin for its peaceful atmosphere, incredible food, and a chance to experience the outdoors.
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Wisconsin is hunting and shooting. And there are plenty of places to enjoy shooting in Wisconsin. But with recent changes in Wisconsin gun transport laws, outdoor enthusiasts need to be careful they don’t break the law.
In this article, we’ll go over Wisconsin gun transport laws and some basic definitions to help you stay within the law and enjoy your time in this great state.
Important Definitions to Know
Before we dive into the gun transport laws in Wisconsin, we need to go over some basic definitions.
These will help you understand the laws without issue. There are three things you should know before learning Wisconsin’s gun laws: what counts as a long gun, what counts as a handgun, and what counts as an unloaded weapon.
Long guns are typically used for hunting and home defense.
Long guns include shotguns, rifles, or black powder rifles. It doesn’t matter if they are semi-automatic, pump-action, or bolt action. Any firearm with a stock that is designed to be fired from the shoulder is a long gun.
A handgun is any type of firearm that lacks a stock, is concealable, and can be fired without bracing against the shoulder.
This includes firearms like pistols and revolvers.
The laws surrounding the use of handguns are typically more strict and stringent with harsher penalties and more regulation.
An unloaded weapon might seem like a simple concept.
But with the different ways firearms can be loaded, that term might be confusing.
An unloaded firearm is a firearm that is completely free of ammunition, including the chamber and magazine.
For example, some people might consider a handgun unloaded if there is a magazine in it, but a round isn’t in the chamber. However, that is technically a loaded gun.
The same goes for rifles and shotguns that hold multiple rounds.
No rounds may be in the gun at all for it to be considered unloaded. For a weapon to be encased, it must be in a hard case that latches closed.
Wisconsin Gun Transport Laws
In Wisconsin, there are different transport laws for handguns and long guns that change depending on the vehicle, the location of the vehicle, and whether the person has a concealed carry permit.
Follow these laws carefully, because transporting a firearm illegally can carry serious penalties.
Long Gun Transport Laws
Wisconsin gun laws used to require that all long guns be carried unloaded and inside a case when inside a vehicle.
However, this law made it inconvenient for hunters. Hunters frequently drive from location to location while hunting. Having to take their guns in and out of a case every time they hopped in the car was a pain, so they changed the law to make it more convenient.
Long guns are typically used for hunting and home defense. That’s why there is no logical reason why someone would have it loaded while transporting it.
Wisconsin adopts this same idea for its long gun transport laws. Wisconsin gun laws state that you cannot have a loaded long gun in your vehicle, including automobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
The only exception to this rule is when the vehicle is stationary. If the vehicle is stopped, you can have a loaded gun on the top or exterior of the car. But you still cannot load the gun or have a loaded long gun inside the vehicle.
In regards to boats, you cannot have a loaded long gun on board unless the motor is not running. The boat may be drifting, but cannot have the motor running.
If you transport a long gun on an aircraft, it must be unloaded and in a case.
Handgun Transport Laws
The handgun transport laws in Wisconsin have recently been at the center of hot debate.
The law states that you cannot carry a loaded firearm in your vehicle unless it is a handgun. This law drew controversy after a man was arrested for carrying a loaded pistol in his glove box without a concealed carry permit.
If you have a loaded handgun in your car that isn’t in plain view, it is considered to be a concealed weapon. That requires a concealed carry permit, which allows you to carry a concealed pistol on your person and in your vehicle.
If you do not have a concealed carry permit, you must have your loaded handgun in plain sight and not concealed in any way.
Plain sight is defined as having the firearm above the window line and not concealed by any furniture or debris. You can also load and carry your pistol in your car, as long as it is in plain sight.
Having a concealed carry permit will allow you to carry a loaded pistol to many places in Wisconsin that would otherwise be off-limits.
However, there are still places where you cannot possess a concealed firearm. This includes places such as schools, courthouses, police stations, and other government buildings or facilities.
You also cannot carry a handgun onto an aircraft without it being unloaded and cased.
Follow the Laws and Have A Blast in Wisconsin
Now that you know a little more about Wisconsin gun transport laws, you can enjoy the incredible outdoors of Wisconsin and protect yourself while obeying the law.
Make sure to review these gun laws before planning your next trip or purchasing a new firearm. And if you need more information, keep scrolling our blog.