Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Where, when, how exactly can you pack heat?

by Lisa Seiser

November 03, 2011

Wisconsin's new concealed carry law, Act 35, which allows residents to carry concealed weapons with a permit, officially went into effect Tuesday.

But it appears as though many questions remain. Some are saying the law "is loaded" with rules while others say the law has "broad new freedoms."

Many of the questions regarding the implementation are answered in a 56-page document I found on the Wisconsin Towns website. There is plenty of other information all over the Internet. Whether this is a good law will be determined in the future.

But for now, I am not sure what the implications will be in Wisconsin. Prior to this law going into effect, people were allowed open carry in Wisconsin and the fact is concealed carry has been allowed in most other states for years with seemingly little affect.

The arguments for it are people with weapons can deter criminals with weapons. However, the opposite side states that more people with weapons make everything more dangerous and that criminals can take and use the upstanding citizen's weapon against them. This is a disagreement that always will exist.

For those of you looking for some answers regarding the Wisconsin law, here are a few.

Q: What weapons can be carried?

A: A weapon is defined as a handgun, an electric weapons, such as a stun gun or a Taser, a billy club or a knife (that is not a switchblade).

Q: What weapons cannot be carried?

A: Weapons that cannot be carried include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and switchblade knives.

Q: Where is it illegal to carry an open firearm or concealed weapon?

A: Prohibited locations include law enforcement facilities, courthouses, schools and certain areas in airports.

Q: What are the eligibilities to obtain a concealed carry license?

A: The applicant must be 21 years old and a Wisconsin resident, not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal law, not have been ordered as a condition of bail or release in criminal case from possessing a dangerous weapon, and must provide proof of firearms training.

Q: What is required to apply for a license?

A: All that is needed include a completed application form, a license fee, fee for a background check and proof of training.

Q: What are the training requirements?

A: There are a number of training programs that can be used for firearm training. Those include the hunter education program established by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a firearm safety or training course conducted by the national or state organization that certifies firearms instructors, a firearms safety or training course offered by a law enforcement agency and a course taught by an instructor who is certified by the state or nation or by the Department of Justice that is available to the public and offered at local schools or colleges. Also, documentation that the individual completed military, law enforcement or security training that gave the person experience with firearms that is substantially equivalent to a course as described above.

Q: How much does it cost to apply?

A: A maximum of $50; up to $37 to cover application process and $13 for a criminal background check fee.

Q: What information is included on the license?

A: Everything that is on driver's license is on a concealed carry license, including name, birth date, address, physical description, date of issuance and expiration, an identification number and the name of the state.

Q: How long is the license valid?

A: Five years.

The Lake Geneva City Council has decided to not allow weapons into City Hall and other city buildings, including the Lake Geneva Public Library and the Riviera. Already, a number of businesses, including the Regional News, have posted signs restricting weapons on the premises. Banks, jewelry stores and other businesses also have chosen the direction to prohibit weapons in their businesses.

I honestly can say I don't know what type of impact this will have on the state and our daily lives. Only time will tell.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.