Regardless of state, knife laws can sometimes be hard to comprehend. Terms like “concealed carry” and “open carry” can overwhelm the reader who’s simply trying to distinguish what’s legal from what isn’t.
If you reside in Wisconsin and aren’t sure whether or not you should own or carry a particular type of knife, this post is for you. We’re going to shed light on what’s legal and what’s illegal to own in the state of Wisconsin.
What Knives Are Legal to Own in Wisconsin?
If you’re pretty fond of knives, like a hunter, angler, or outdoor enthusiast, you have nothing to worry about with regard to owning a knife in Wisconsin. Knives aren’t included in the state’s list of dangerous weapons, so it’s perfectly fine to own a tactical or non-tactical knife in Wisconsin.
For instance, you can own a bowie knife in Wisconsin without any problems. You can also own a ballistic knife. Other types of stabbing knives, including daggers and dirks, are also legal in Wisconsin.
It’s also worth noting that disguised knives, such as belt buckle knives, combs, pens, and so forth, are legal in the state of Wisconsin. Simply put, if you love knives, you’re going to love Wisconsin knife laws.
What Knives Are Illegal to Own in Wisconsin?
As far as Wisconsin laws are concerned, knives don’t belong to the category of dangerous weapons. With that being said, residents of the state are free to own tactical and non-tactical knives, regardless of type.
You might be wondering, what’s considered a dangerous weapon in Wisconsin? The term ‘dangerous weapon’ refers to firearms (loaded and unloaded), devices that can result in great bodily harm or death, electric weapons, and ligatures that can impede breathing or blood circulation.
Please keep in mind that, so far, we’ve merely talked about owning knives. We haven’t shed light on the state’s definition of the term ‘carry’ just yet. We also haven’t discussed concealed and open carry.
Making Sense of All the Jargon
Now that you have an understanding of legal and illegal knives in the state of Wisconsin, let’s talk about terms like ‘carry’ and ‘concealed.’
Definition of ‘Carry’ According to Wisconsin Statute
In the state of Wisconsin, the term ‘carry’ is legally translated as being armed or going armed. Therefore, when a defendant goes armed, it means that they either have a weapon on them or they have a weapon within reach.
Having defined the term ‘carry,’ we must note that it’s illegal in Wisconsin to carry a dangerous and concealed weapon, including a knife if you’re someone who’s prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Only licensed individuals are allowed to carry a concealed firearm or knife in public. If you aren’t a licensed individual, you’re allowed to carry a concealed knife in your place of dwelling or place of business and on land that you own, lease, or legally occupy.
What’s more, in Wisconsin, it’s illegal to carry a knife to a school, athletic field, recreation area, or a public building owned by the state. Aside from these stipulations, Wisconsin is pretty liberal about carrying a knife.
Definition of ‘Concealed’ According to Wisconsin Statute
According to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, there are three elements or scenarios for carrying a concealed dangerous weapon. The three elements are:
- The concealed dangerous weapon is on the defendant’s person
- The concealed dangerous weapon is within the defendant’s reach
- The defendant is aware of the hazardous weapon’s presence
Furthermore, according to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, an individual is found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle if any of the following scenarios are true:
- The concealed dangerous weapon is within the defendant’s reach inside a vehicle
- The weapon is hidden inside the vehicle, indiscernible from within the vehicle’s vicinity
- The defendant is aware of the presence of a dangerous weapon inside their vehicle
To sum up, you can own whichever type of knife you want in Wisconsin, as there are no restricted or prohibited types of knives in Wisconsin. Accordingly, you can own a bowie knife, ballistic knife, stabbing knife (like a dagger or dirk), or a disguised knife like a belt buckle, pen, comb, and the likes.
Carry is generally not an issue in Wisconsin as far as knives. You can carry a knife openly or concealed. However, the place in which you may carry the knife will differ depending on whether or not you’re licensed.
Moreover, licensed individuals are allowed to carry concealed weapons in public, including knives. Otherwise, those who aren’t licensed can carry a concealed knife in their place of dwelling or place of business and on land that they own, lease, or legally occupy.
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