History: 1977 c. 173
Endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon. 941.20(1)(1)
Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:
Endangers another's safety by the negligent operation or handling of a dangerous weapon; or
Operates or goes armed with a firearm while he or she is under the influence of an intoxicant; or
Operates or goes armed with a firearm while he or she has a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood. A defendant has a defense to any action under this paragraph that is based on the defendant allegedly having a detectable amount of methamphetamine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in his or her blood, if he or she proves by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the incident or occurrence he or she had a valid prescription for methamphetamine or one of its metabolic precursors, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
Except as provided in sub. (1m)
, intentionally points a firearm at or toward another.
While on the lands of another discharges a firearm within 100 yards of any building devoted to human occupancy situated on and attached to the lands of another without the express permission of the owner or occupant of the building. "Building" as used in this paragraph does not include any tent, bus, truck, vehicle or similar portable unit.
Whoever intentionally points a firearm at or towards a law enforcement officer, a fire fighter, an emergency medical technician, a first responder, an ambulance driver, or a commission warden who is acting in an official capacity and who the person knows or has reason to know is a law enforcement officer, a fire fighter, an emergency medical technician, a first responder, an ambulance driver, or a commission warden is guilty of a Class H felony.
Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class G felony:
Intentionally discharges a firearm into a vehicle or building under circumstances in which he or she should realize there might be a human being present therein; or
Whoever intentionally discharges a firearm from a vehicle while on a highway, as defined in s. 340.01 (22)
, or on a vehicle parking lot that is open to the public under any of the following circumstances is guilty of a Class F felony:
The person discharges the firearm at or toward another.
The person discharges the firearm at or toward any building or other vehicle.
941.20(3)(b)1.1. Paragraph (a)
does not apply to any of the following who, in the line of duty, discharges a firearm from a vehicle:
A peace officer, except for a commission warden who is not a state-certified commission warden.
The state does not have to negate any exception under par. (b)
. Any party that claims that an exception under par. (b)
is applicable has the burden of proving the exception by a preponderance of the evidence.
The driver of the vehicle may be charged and convicted for a violation of par. (a)
according to the criteria under s. 939.05
A person under par. (a)
has a defense of privilege of self-defense or defense of others in accordance with s. 939.48
Judicial Council Note, 1988: The mental element of the offense under sub. (1) (a) is changed from reckless conduct to criminal negligence. See s. 939.25. If the defendant acts recklessly, the conduct is prohibited by s. 941.30. [Bill 191-S]
Pointing a firearm is not a lesser included offense of armed robbery and a defendant can be convicted of both. State v. Smith, 55 Wis. 2d 304
, 198 N.W.2d 630
A jury instruction that shooting "into" a building under sub. (2) (a) occurs when a bullet penetrates the building however slightly, conformed with common usage of the word and was not improper. State v. Grady, 175 Wis. 2d 553
, 499 N.W.2d 285
(Ct. App. 1993).
Police officers do not have an absolute right to point their weapons, but privilege may be asserted as an affirmative defense. State v. Trentadue, 180 Wis. 2d 670
, 510 N.W.2d 727
(Ct. App. 1993).
Although intentionally pointing a firearm at another constitutes a violation of this section, under s. 939.48 (1) a person is privileged to point a gun at another person in self-defense if the person reasonably believes that the threat of force is necessary to prevent or terminate what he or she reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference. State v. Watkins, 2002 WI 101, 255 Wis. 2d 265
, 647 N.W.2d 244
Disarming a peace officer.
Whoever intentionally disarms a peace officer who is acting in his or her official capacity by taking a dangerous weapon or a device or container described under s. 941.26 (1) (b)
or (4) (a)
from the officer without his or her consent is guilty of a Class H felony. This section applies to any dangerous weapon or any device or container described under s. 941.26 (1) (b)
or (4) (a)
that the officer is carrying or that is in an area within the officer's immediate presence.
Carrying concealed weapon.
Any person except a peace officer who goes armed with a concealed and dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Notwithstanding s. 939.22 (22)
, for purposes of this section, peace officer does not include a commission warden who is not a state-certified commission warden.
The burden is on the defendant to prove that he or she is a peace officer and within the exception. State v. Williamson, 58 Wis. 2d 514
, 206 N.W.2d 613
A defendant was properly convicted under this section for driving a vehicle with a gun locked in a glove compartment. State v. Fry, 131 Wis. 2d 153
, 388 N.W.2d 565
To "go armed" does not require going anywhere. The elements for a violation of s. 941.23 are: 1) a dangerous weapon is on the defendant's person or within reach; 2) the defendant is aware of the weapon's presence; and 3) the weapon is hidden. State v. Keith, 175 Wis. 2d 75
, 498 N.W.2d 865
(Ct. App. 1993).
A handgun on the seat of a car that was indiscernible from ordinary observation by a person outside, and within the immediate vicinity, of the vehicle was hidden from view for purposes of determining whether the gun was a concealed weapon under this section. State v. Walls, 190 Wis. 2d 65
, 526 N.W.2d 765
(Ct. App. 1994).
There is no statutory or common law privilege for the crime of carrying a concealed weapon under s. 941.23. State Dundon, 226 Wis. 2d 654
, 594 N.W.2d 780
Under the facts of the case, the privilege of of self-defense was inapplicable to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. State v. Nollie, 2002 WI 4, 249 Wis. 2d 538
, 638 N.W.2d 280
The concealed weapons statute is a restriction on the manner in which firearms are possessed and used. It is constitutional under Art. I, s. 25. Only if the public benefit in the exercise of the police power is substantially outweighed by an individual's need to conceal a weapon in the exercise of the right to bear arms will an otherwise valid restriction on that right be unconstitutional, as applied. The right to keep and bear arms for security, as a general matter, must permit a person to possess, carry, and sometimes conceal arms to maintain the security of a private residence or privately operated business, and to safely move and store weapons within those premises. State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433
, 665 N.W.2d 785
. See also State v. Cole, 2003 WI 112, 264 Wis. 2d 520
, 665 N.W.2d 328
A challenge on constitutional grounds of a prosecution for carrying a concealed weapon requires affirmative answers to the following before the defendant may raise the constitutional defense: 1) under the circumstances, did the defendant's interest in concealing the weapon to facilitate exercise of his or her right to keep and bear arms substantially outweigh the state's interest in enforcing the concealed weapons statute? and 2) did the defendant conceal his or her weapon because concealment was the only reasonable means under the circumstances to exercise his or her right to bear arms? State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433
, 665 N.W.2d 785
This section is constitutional as applied in this case. The defendant's interest in exercising his right to keep and bear arms for purposes of security by carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle does not substantially outweigh the state's interest in prohibiting him from carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle. State v. Fisher, 2006 WI 44, 290 Wis. 2d 121
, 714 N.W.2d 495
Judges are not peace officers authorized to carry concealed weapons. 69 Atty. Gen. 66.
Carrying firearm in public building. 941.235(1)
Any person who goes armed with a firearm in any building owned or leased by the state or any political subdivision of the state is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
This section does not apply to peace officers or armed forces or military personnel who go armed in the line of duty or to any person duly authorized by the chief of police of any city, village or town, the chief of the capitol police, or the sheriff of any county to possess a firearm in any building under sub. (1)
. Notwithstanding s. 939.22 (22)
, for purposes of this subsection, peace officer does not include a commission warden who is not a state-certified commission warden.
Carrying handgun where alcohol beverages may be sold and consumed. 941.237(1)(b)
"Correctional officer" means any person employed by the state or any political subdivision as a guard or officer whose principal duties are the supervision and discipline of inmates.
"Firearms dealer" means any person engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing or dealing in firearms and having a license as an importer, manufacturer or dealer issued by the U.S. department of the treasury.
Notwithstanding s. 939.22 (22)
, "peace officer" does not include a commission warden who is not a state-certified commission warden.
"Target range" means any area where persons are allowed to use a handgun to fire shots at targets.
"Tavern" means an establishment, other than a private club or fraternal organization, in which alcohol beverages are sold for consumption on the premises.
Having no shell or cartridge in the chamber of a handgun or in the magazine attached to a handgun.
In the case of a caplock muzzle-loading handgun, having the cap removed.
In the case of a flintlock muzzle-loading handgun, having the flashpan cleaned of powder.
Whoever intentionally goes armed with a handgun on any premises for which a Class "B" or "Class B" license or permit has been issued under ch. 125
is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(3) Subsection (2)
does not apply to any of the following:
A correctional officer while going armed in the line of duty.
A member of the U.S. armed forces or national guard while going armed in the line of duty.
A private security person meeting all of the following criteria:
The private security person is going armed in the line of duty.
The private security person is acting with the consent of the person specified in par. (d)
The licensee, owner, or manager of the premises, or any employee or agent authorized to possess a handgun by the licensee, owner, or manager of the premises.
The possession of a handgun that is unloaded and encased in a vehicle in any parking lot area.
The possession or use of a handgun at a public or private gun or sportsmen's range or club.
The possession or use of a handgun on the premises if authorized for a specific event of limited duration by the owner or manager of the premises who is issued the Class "B" or "Class B" license or permit under ch. 125
for the premises.
The possession of any handgun that is used for decoration if the handgun is encased, inoperable or secured in a locked condition.
The possession of a handgun in any portion of a hotel other than the portion of the hotel that is a tavern.
The possession of a handgun in any portion of a combination tavern and store devoted to other business if the store is owned or operated by a firearms dealer, the other business includes the sale of handguns and the handgun is possessed in a place other than a tavern.