Concealed Carry Law, an Overview
On November 1, 2011, Wisconsin residents with a concealed carry license and non-residents with a license recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be able to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin. Weapons are not limited to handguns. Weapons also include knives (but not switchblades), billy clubs, and electronic weapons (e.g., taser). Whether you allow individuals to carry concealed weapons on your business property or allow your employees to carry concealed weapons is up to you. This newsletter provides basic information for making and implementing a decision.
If you decide to allow individuals to carry concealed weapons on your business property then no additional action is required. If you allow individuals to carry concealed weapons, the Wisconsin Statutes grant immunity as to liability arising from your decision. However, there is much debate as to the scope of the statutory immunity. It is unclear if any exceptions will apply. For instance, your duty to keep others safe while they are on your property is still applicable. It is not perfectly clear how that duty interacts with this immunity. As a result, it is recommended that employers incorporate training on workplace violence and implement procedures to reduce workplace violence.
If you decide to prohibit concealed weapons on your business property, then you must post signs alerting all those who enter your business property of the prohibition. In order to achieve proper notice of the concealed carry prohibition these signs must meet the following requirements.
• The signs must be at least five inches by seven inches in size.
• The signs must state that weapons are prohibited and state where the prohibition applies.
• For areas within non-residential buildings where the prohibition applies, the signs must be prominently placed near all entrances of the areas so that any individual entering the area can be reasonably expected to see the signs.
• For grounds of non-residential properties where the prohibition applies, the signs must be prominently placed near all probable access points to the grounds so that any individual entering the grounds can be reasonably expected to see the signs.
Employers who prohibit their employees from carrying concealed weapons are advised to design a workplace policy that expressly states the concealed carry prohibition, clearly states the consequences of violating the employee prohibition, and incorporates workplace violence training and implements procedures to reduce workplace violence.
Weapons in Vehicles, the Exception to the Prohibition
Although business property owners can prohibit weapons from their buildings and grounds, the prohibition does not apply to those who legally carry concealed weapons in their vehicles that are parked in a parking facility. Similarly, employers cannot prohibit employees with a concealed carry license from storing a weapon in the employee’s vehicle, even if the employee’s vehicle is used in the course of employment.
Whether you prohibit individuals from carrying a concealed weapon depends upon what you think is best for your situation. Menn Law Firm, Ltd. regularly advises clients on issues of property rights and employment law matters and can assist you in making this decision. For further information on how the Concealed Carry Law affects your business, employees, or your workplace policies, please contact Attorney Bob Duimstra by email at Robert-Duimstra@mennlaw.com or by phone at 920-731-6631 or Attorney Brennan Haworth by email at Brennan-Haworth@mennlaw.com or by phone at 920-833-6844. Visit www.mennlaw.com to determine other areas where our attorneys could assist you.