state knife laws feature

Wisconsin Knife Law

WisconsinWisconsin knife laws are long, wordy, and difficult to understand, even for someone trained in the law. This article takes the law and puts into clear and concise, plain English, so that anyone can understand what is legal and what is not when it comes to owning and carrying knives in the state of Wisconsin.

What is Illegal to Own

Not much as far as we can tell by reviewing all Wisconsin State laws pertaining to restricted weapons.  Knives are not on the list of “dangerous weapons” and so they do not fall under the laws pertaining to dangerous weapons.

Definition of Carry

Carry is defined as going “armed” by Wisconsin statute. Case law has further defined going armed, and in State v. Caprice S.I., the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that “went armed” meant that a weapon was either on a defendant’s person or that the weapon was within the defendant’s reach.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal in Wisconsin to carry a concealed and dangerous weapon (including a knife) by anyone who is PROHIBITED from possessing a firearm.

Further, it is illegal to carry any knife to any school or public building owned by the state.  Otherwise, the restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon are pretty liberal.

Definition of Various Knives

A switchblade is defined as any knife having a blade which opens by pressing a button, spring or other device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or movement. In State v. Krause, the Appellate Court upheld Mr. Krause’s conviction for carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, finding that his knife, which had a blade that was serrated on one side, sharp on the other, and had a point at the end, was a switchblade. The blade was contained in two casings: the serrated blade fit into one of the casings and the cutting edge in the other. The casings were secured by a clasp, that when removed, allowed one casing to fall away from the other by the force of gravity, exposing the blade.

Neither the Wisconsin code nor its case law offers a definition of any other type of knife. When words or terms are not defined by the legislature, in the state code, Court’s use the ‘plain English meaning’ of the word, or that meaning provided in Webster’s dictionary.

What the Law States

941.23. Carrying concealed weapon.941.231. Carrying a concealed knife. Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under s. 941.29 who goes armed with a concealed knife that is a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

However, “knife” has been taken off the list of dangerous weapons, so as long as you haven’t been legally prohibited from possession a gun, you’re golden!

 

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife such as a lipstick or belt buckle
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knives

Definition of Carry

Carry is defined as going “armed” by Wisconsin statute. Case law has further defined going armed, and in State v. Caprice S.I., the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that “went armed” meant that a weapon was either on a defendant’s person or that the weapon was within the defendant’s reach.

Definition of Concealed

In 1993, in State v. Keith, the Court of Appeals for Wisconsin found that there were three elements to carrying a concealed dangerous weapon.

  • a dangerous weapon is on the defendant’s person or within reach
  • the defendant is aware of the weapon’s presence
  • the weapon is hidden

In State v. Walls, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals found that a person was guilty of carrying a concealed dangerous weapon in an automobile where all of the following are true:

  • the weapon was located inside a vehicle and is within the defendant’s reach
  • the defendant was aware of the presence of the weapon
  • the weapon was concealed, or hidden from ordinary view, meaning it was indiscernible from the ordinary observation of a person located outside and within the immediate vicinity of the vehicle

Definition of Dangerous Weapon

(ap) Notwithstanding s. 939.22 (10), “dangerous weapon” does not include a knife.  The definition of a dangerous weapon is outlined below;

939-22(10) “Dangerous weapon” means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm; any ligature or other instrumentality used on the throat, neck, nose, or mouth of another person to impede, partially or completely, breathing or circulation of blood; any electric weapon, as defined in s. 941.295 (1c) (a); or any other device or instrumentality which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm.

Sources

  • Wis. Stat. § 941.24 (2018)
  • Wis. Stat. § 941.23  (2018)
  • State v. Walls, 526 N.W.2d 765 (1994 Wisc. App.)
  • State v. Keith, 498 N.W.2d 865 (Ct. App. 1993)
  • State v. Caprice S.I., 751 N.W.2d 903 (2008 Wisc. App.)
  • State v. Malloy, 698 N.W.2d 133 (2005 Wisc. App.)
  • State v. Krause, 468 N.W.2d 31 (1990 Wisc. App.)
  • State v. Summer, 778 N.W.2d 173 (2009 Wisc. App.)

*updated May 2018

Peter Stec
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Comments

  1. Aus-8 stainless steel
    black oxide blade coating
    aluminum handle
    spring assisted blade release
    single action

    will this be ok to carry in wisconsin??

  2. Hi, I’m a felon in Wisconsin and have always carried a knife Since teen years. Is it legal for me to carry a knife clipped to the outside of my pocket where it’s visible and not hidden? How about in my car as well? Thanks!

  3. Are there any restrictions for minors in the great state of Wisconsin?

  4. How about open carry sheaths ? Sounds like clip on is legal but what about sheaths ? Is a simple sheath with no cover ok ? What about a sheath with the snap button cover like TV character Bo Duke used to wear ? Also Does it have to be in front or side or can it be clipped to back pocket or belt in the back ?

  5. Where do swords fit in? I have 2 scimitars and just wondering where that falls under if sheathed and/or unsheathed. Also does a concealed carry licence play any roll?

  6. hi i carry a gerber downward propel knife i recently moved from nenbraska to wisconsin so if carry it on my side pocket or cliped on my side on belt is it leagally to carry in wisconsin

  7. Hey I’m 15 and I was wondering if its legal to carry a short sword publicly in Wisconsin.

  8. I am 17, is it legal for me to carry a non serrated and spring assisted 3.5 inch knife on the inside of my waist band?

  9. I am under the age of eighteen, and live in the city. Is it legal under updated/current laws for me to carry a folding & locking blade knife, folding serrated/saw blade knife under 3 inches long with a pointed tip, in my pocket?

  10. Hi I’m 14 and was wondering it I am able to carry a non folding knive with a 4 inche blade

  11. Your information for Wisconsin is way outdated, we now have concealed carry and switchblade’s along with tazors are now legal to own and carry by ccl’s holders here.

  12. This really needs to be updated. All knives are now legal and you can carry whatever knife you want so long as you aren’t a felon.

  13. They need to update this website. It’s been legal to carry any knife regardless of opening mechanism for a few years now. Switch blades, butterfly knifes all legal.

  14. This page is outdated. See https://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/wisconsin/

    “In February of 2016, Wisconsin liberalized its laws pertaining to knives, concealed carry, and statewide preemption of local ordinances.

    Wisconsin removed switchblade knives from the definition of “weapon,” which is limited to handguns, electric weapons, and billy clubs. AB 142, Act 149, Section 5. The definition of “weapon” does not contain any restriction on the dimensions of a knife, blade design, or the mechanism for opening a folding knife. Also, knives are excluded from the definition “dangerous weapon”.

    Moreover, Wisconsin law allows a person to carry a concealed knife and other weapon.”

  15. When Governor Scott Walker signed 2015 Assembly Bill 142 into law on February 6th 2016, a number of important changes went into effect impacting the legal status of knives in Wisconsin.

    Signing AB 142 into law removed all restrictions on concealed carry of ALL knives from Wisconsin Statutes. This includes switchblades, sometimes called automatic knives. Switchblades had been criminalized under Wisconsin Statute 941.24 and the new act repeals this statute outright. One exception is an individual prohibited by state law from possessing a firearm—they are still prohibited from carrying a concealed knife under certain circumstances.

    The dropping of knives from the concealed carry law does not apply if you are otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm under Wisconsin Statute 941.29, 941.231.
    Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under s. 941.29 who goes armed with a concealed knife that is a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

    Next, Wisconsin’s “preemption law” has now been expanded to include knives. What does this mean? It means that counties, cities, villages, and towns can no longer pass knife ordinances that are stricter than what we see at the state level. In other words: they are “preempted” by state law.

  16. This information is false. Wisconsin updated its laws (at least 2 years ago) to remove criminal definitions of ANY knife and law abiding citizens are not restricted from carrying any knife/blade, including any of those “oh, Dear!” knives. Wisconsin is knife friendly. On Wisconsin! Please update your out of date information.

  17. This is outdated information, these laws were changed in 2016 by the “Wisconsin Knife Law Reform Bill”

  18. On a folding knife, how is the blade length determined? Is it the length from the tip to the bolster, or is it the length from the tip to the end of the sharpened portion of the blade?

  19. You People need to update your Website all this stuff is inaccurate, Governor Walker signed a bill, (Bill 142) which became law, but I am not going to get into this, you just need to update your information, plain and simple!!!

  20. Wisconsin knife laws have been changed for the better in 2016. Please update your site.

  21. You guys should update this. There is a lot of false information since Wisconsin passed a bill in 2016 changing a lot of the laws on knives.

  22. AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.” Knife Law Preemption means that all laws more restrictive than the new state law will be voided and knife law will be consistent throughout the state.

  23. Please check Juneau co. And Sauk co. and Columbia co. All 3 counties intersect there. I think Juneau is 2.5inches. Sucks ! Gang bangers & drug dealers in the cheap motels on the wknd selling their poison. BRING THE BIGGEST SHARPEST BLADE YOU TRUST! keep open, visable. Always check local laws!

  24. As of AB142 in Wisconsin, it is now legal to own and carry any switchblade knife, this article is outdated.

  25. I have read that governor scott walker signed a bill in February 2016 allowing the position of automatic knives has this changed?

  26. Update you’re site with the new information from AB 142.

    “AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.” Knife Law Preemption means that all laws more restrictive than the new state law will be voided and knife law will be consistent throughout the state”

  27. This is all wrong. Walker signed a bill in 2015 removing restrictions on switchblade knives.

  28. Is it illegal to have a karambit knife? I’ll be visiting Wisconsin for a month period.

  29. Where are you reading this butterfly knife stuff? They arent illegal in Wisconsin, never have been. Link to it?

  30. I do believe Gov. Walker has made switch blades legal shortly after open carry firearms became the law of the land.

  31. I’m guessing this website is defunct. WI Governor singed the switchblade law in 2016 making them legal.

  32. your info for wi is outdated

    AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.”Apr 14, 2015

  33. This page is almost fully out if date since Governor Walker removed this statute in 2015. I can legally carry 10 switchblades, 10 butterfly knives, and 50 6inch blades all at once. All of them concealed even without any special permit. Check these current facts for yourself. Just want to keep the WI residents and visitors aware.

  34. In light of the growing threat to the population from those who ignore the law and have the intent of violent actions against everyday citizens, the laws in Wisconsin currently favor the Criminal element of the society. These laws also provide criminals, and now terrorist groups, to understand that the population in general is not allowed to defend their own against aggression from these type of groups, but provides these individuals or groups with the assurance that they will encounter no resistance to their violent acts.

    Considering that Wisconsin also prohibits the use of non-lethal types of defense items, such as perrer sprays that leave a visible residue for identification purposes, and almost every other type of defense a young woman would need to defend against an attacker, I am left to believe that the intent of the Wisconsin legislature is to totally dissarm the populace of any defensive protections that may save their lives and other violence against them.

    I see no efforts to remove weapons from Street Gangs and those with criminal backgrounds across Wisconsin, or to even enforce Federal Laws that alow for self protection. This is something that needs to be changed especially in light of the evolving threat to citizens who are merely going about their lives without any intent of violence to others. I also see no real effort to reduce the illegal transfer of weapons, or to curb the growing threat of undocumented non-citizens in Wisconsin.

    To register to vote, transfer a vehicle title, purchase license plates, obtain a Wisconsin photo ID etc. you have to provide proof of citizenship, verification of your Social Security number, verification of your address and more. But you cannot defend your life, limb, family or property without serious consequences to your self, including potential fines and jail time.

    These laws need to be changed. I would assume they would be if one or more of the legislature fell victum to a life threatening situation and realized they were not allowed to defend themselves or their families, and that if they had alowed to carry some sort of defensive product could have either persueded the perpetrator to move along and look for an easier victum, or not suffered the injuries or loss of life of one of their loved ones.

    Time for a change. We need to have the rights given us by the US Constitution: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happyness – without the worry of not being alowed to defend these rights. The police are working hard, but they cannot be everywhere, or even always in time if a person has the time to call, no matter how hard they try.

    If we were allowed to hold a criminal at bay until the police were able to arive would be a benefir for our own protection, and a great help for the hard working men and women in our police departments. It would most likely remove a larger portion of violent criminals from our streets and neighborhoods.

  35. You .Right want to update your site. It is 100% legal to own posses and sell switch blade knives in wisconsin. And if you have a CCW you can also conceal carry said knife
    January 21, 2016: Knife Rights’ Wisconsin Knife Law Reform Bill including Knife Law Preemption, AB 142, passed!

    AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.” Knife Law Preemption means that all laws more restrictive than the new state law will be voided and knife law will be consistent throughout the state.

  36. Please update this article when possible. Switchblade/Balisongs were made legal in 2016 when they were removed from AB 142, Act 149, Section 5. You guys are the 1st result on Google – updating your results would help a lot of fellow or soon-to-be bali flippers. Cheers!

  37. This is no longer true under AB142, as of February 2016. This article is no longer a legitimate source

  38. I have a CCW permit is it legal to carry a Bowie knife in plain sight or 2 inch blade tomahawk in the state of Wisconsin

  39. I was wondering if it’s illegal for felons to carry knives in Wisconsin?

  40. YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION ASAP. WHENEVER THE LAW CHANGES YOU HAVE TO UPDATE. IT IS NOW LEGAL TO CARRY ANY KNIFE SWITCHBLADE, CONCEALED OR IN THE OPEN AS LONG AS YOU ARE ALLOWED AND NOT PROHIBITED TO CARRY A WEAPON. AS IN A FELON OR A PERSON WHO HAS PROBATION AND/OR HAS BEEN RESTRICTED FROM ANY WEAPONS. SO NOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR SELF. YOU ALSO CAN OPEN CARRY A HANDGUN. IF YOU CAN!! AND ALSO OPEN CARRY OR CONCEALED CARRY A KNIFE, SWITCHBLADE, WHATEVER!! AND AS FAR AS I HAVE SEEN NO BLADE RESTRICTIONS. BUT THERE MAY BE. OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER RULES!

  41. As of 2015 you can concealed carry just about anything. I’m unsure about gravity and butterfly knives, but Assembly Bill 142 repealed the ban on switchblades and possibly the others formerly listed, as well as any local ordinances. It was done so to not confuse people passing through who may live elsewhere or have been somewhere else(in state) where something is legal. The only problem you could have is if there reason that carrying would be illegal for you, of which I imagine one example would be convicted felon.

  42. I’m not sure this is up to date. I just recently read an article refer to a bill Governor Walker signed in January of 2016 that made it legal to own switchblades and I believe concealed carry any knife. Am I wrong? Was this not true?

  43. If I have my knife strapped on my belt or clipped to my pocket with the it visible am I still eligible for a misdemeanor?

  44. In February of 2016 the laws regarding knives of many types, and their carry, concealed or otherwise, were changed. You guys should read up, the update your website.

  45. There has been major changes since this was written. Please update.

  46. I would appreciate a review of the information in this page. In 2015 a bill was signed in to permit the carry and ownership of switchblades, and I don’t know about butterfly knives. Either way, the information is several years out of date. 🙂

  47. Scott Walker has changed many laws. All knives are legal. Update your site.

  48. this information is in dire need of updating. As of feb 2016 switchblades and other various knives are legal to possess and carry concealed without a permit

  49. The law in Wisconsin has changed and it is now legal to own an auto-open knife. Don’t know about carry, but it has always been legal to carry a tactical type knife if you have a concealed carry license.

  50. This page is outdated and wrong! Wisconsin law changed to allow much, if not all, of what this page states is unlawful.

  51. This really needs an update. switchblades are legal now in Wisconsin.

  52. Your information is outdated for Wisconsin knife laws. 2015 Wisconsin Act 149 which took effect in February 2016 legalized the possession of switch blade and gravity knives in Wisconsin. Not only did it make all knives legal to possess, it made it legal to carry a concealed knife without a concealed carry license in Wisconsin. The only exception is that someone who cannot legally possess a firearm may not carry a knife that is designed as a weapon concealed.

  53. Not true anymore. There was a bill passed which removed all restrictions. You can carry switchblades and others as well as conceal them (as long as you’re not prohibited from owning a firearm).

  54. Read more: https://www.ammoland.com/2016/02/knife-rights-wisconsin-knife-law-reform-bill-signed/#ixzz4gmVmBKaz
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
    Follow us: @Ammoland on Twitter | Ammoland on Facebook

    AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades (automatic) knives and concealed carry of all knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may also not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.”

  55. Make sure your blade legnth is 2″ or less, unless you have a Wisconsin concealed carry permit.

  56. This is out dated. The switchblade law has been shot and buried. It’s now legal to own and/or carry any type of blade in WI. Non felons can conceil carry without a permit. One of the few things Walker done right. ????

  57. You need to update this article. Wisconsin passed ab142 last February to allow the carry of switch blades.

  58. Wisconsin law has changed. Swithcblades are allowed after a house bill passed last year. I stopped reading when there was such a drastic inaccuracy in the first few lines.

  59. AB 142, signed into law on Feb 6 2016, removes the restrictions to ownership and carry of knives, including switchblades, for those not prohibited by law from owning a firearm. Please review the bill and update this article. It is a great resource, especially if kept up to date.

  60. Law changed February 8, 2016 IN Wisconsin. Switchblade are now legal

  61. How about swords? I do see that it is legal to carry a dagger but what if you have something larger?

  62. it’s time to review this law. it’s now legal to own a switchblade in Wisconsin.

  63. Time to update Wisconsin knife laws. Recent changes made automatic knives and others legal to own and carry.

  64. But what about swords? If I had it in plain view, would it be legal for me to carry one in public?

  65. Signing AB 142 into law removed all restrictions on concealed carry of ALL knives from Wisconsin Statutes. This includes switchblades, sometimes called automatic knives. Switchblades had been criminalized under Wisconsin Statute 941.24 and the new act repeals this statute outright. One exception is an individual prohibited by state law from possessing a firearm—they are still prohibited from carrying a concealed knife under certain circumstances.

  66. This is old, please fix, gov. walker passed a law that overrides old laws, and now there are no restrictions on switchblades and who can have one.

  67. Is it legal to go armed with a legal knife (such as a Bowie knife or kabar) as long as the knife is not concealed, even if you’re a convicted felon? (Nonviolent crime.)

  68. You may want to update this site.. it is completely legal to carry a switchbade in WI..

  69. This needs to be updated. Switchblades and butterfly knives are now legal to buy, sale, and own in Wisconsin now.

  70. What about the length of knives? I have a Ka- bar with a 6 or 7 inch blade if I remember right. Is that legal to carry if not concealed? Overall length is just under 12 inches.

  71. As of February 8th, 2016, per AB 142, it’s now legal to own “automatic” or assisted knives in Wisconsin. Only restriction is that someone who is legally restricted from owning a firearm cannot own an automatic/assisted knife. As far as my understanding of the law goes, this means that Balisong (Butterfly), switchblades, and gravity knives are now legally available for anyone living in or traveling through Wisconsin. If possible you guys should update the article when you have the chance as you’re sitting high up in the search rankings on Google.

  72. Page needs to be updated law was changed in early 2016. You can now own, purchas, & carry concealed auto knife in the stated of WI.

  73. I believe that WI Act 142 signed into law in February 2016 made switchblades legal.

  74. As of February 2016, Governor Walker signed AB 142, which “removes all restrictions on switchblades (automatic) knives and concealed carry of all knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may also not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.”

  75. This page is terribly wrong. Wisconsin law changed early in 2016 and now permits carrying basically any kind of knife with very few restrictions. For accurate information, go elsewhere.

  76. Wow! Wisconsin law is pretty bad for hunters and fisherman. You can open carry but it can not be within your reach from what I read, How are you going to skin that deer or for that matter cut it’s throat or its testicles off for that matter all hunters and farmers know that if you don’t get both of those in a reasonable time the meat will lay and go rancid if you don’t gut the animal and drain the blood, the meat will get though and have a more gamey taste of you don’t take off the testicles quickly. Your law sucks compared to Michigan’s law on knives which are very vague to be honest. In Michigan you can carry most knives (so long as you don’t intend to use it on someone whether intentionally or in defense) especially hunting knives you can carry, so long as you don’t intend to use it illegally lol. In Wisconsin what do you have to do get a stick and a rock and sharpen make one to go hunting or fishing, oh technically that would be illegal too. Sounds to me these States should make new laws to simplify the ones in existence.

  77. Why is it that a butterfly knife is illegal to own, yet it is ok to own a ballistic knife? This really confuses me, ban a knife that opens with gravity, but don’t ban a knife that literally shoots it’s blade.

  78. Correction: it is legal to carry a concealed switchblade with appropriate ccw license.

  79. Update: it is now legal, according to my ccw instructor, to carry a concealed switchblade. Gravity knives and butterfly knives are still illegal, though.

  80. You need to review your Wisconsin laws, This is not correct and the law has been changed for long enough for this to be corrected.

    The fact is switchblades are in fact legal in Wisconsin if your are eligible to hold a CCW.

    Came here to check another states laws – kind of hard to believe any of it now.

  81. WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT THROWING KNIVES AND STARS AND SUCH? ARE THOSE ALLOWED TO BE CARRIED? ALSO IS THERE ANY LAWS ABOUT HOW LONG THE BLADE IS ABLE TO BE WITHOUT BEING ILLEGAL?

  82. This article does not reflect new laws passed by Governor Walker in 2016. Please update.

  83. This is out of date.

    February 8, 2016: Knife Rights’ Wisconsin Knife Law Reform Bill including Knife Law Preemption, AB 142, was signed on February 6th by Governor Scott Walker. AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades (automatic) knives and concealed carry of all knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may also not go armed with a concealed knife that is considered a “dangerous weapon.”

    941.231 Carrying a concealed knife. Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under s. 941.29 who goes armed with a concealed knife that is a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

    However, Wisconsin statutes fail to define “dangerous weapon”. The question of whether any particular knife calls into the category of a dangerous weapon is one for the jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the Judge.

    In Milwaukee County, knives with a blade length of 3 inches or more are considered dangerous weapons and routinely face weapons type charges for possession and carry. I couldn’t find another county that specified this, but read that “other counties have adopted this.”

    It is legal to own a bowie knife
    It is legal to own a disguised knife such as a lipstick or belt buckle
    It is legal to own a ballistic knife
    It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
    You can carry any of these knives openly totally legally.

    Wisconsin’s “preemption law” has now been expanded to include knives. So, counties, cities, villages, and towns can no longer pass knife ordinances that are stricter than what we see at the state level. In other words: they are “preempted” by state law. Wisconsin Statute 66.0409(2).

    I read that there are additional charges if you’re carrying a concealed knife and are charged with Disorderly Conduct.

  84. All of the bullet points at the top of this article (about what is illegal) are inaccurate.

    WI Law AB 142 signed into law on February 8, 2016 removes all restrictions on “type of knife” and adds preemption to prevent smaller municipalities from applying their own laws. Knives are no longer considered weapons for concealed carry (thus, the CCL allows, guns, billy clubs and electric weapons) and no longer considered weapons for non-CCL carry.

    So, and ordinary non-CCL holder can buy, then carry a full on switchblade in their pocket legally.

  85. AB 142 removes knives from any conceal carry restrictions, and this includes any automatic (switch blades). So unless you are legally banded from carrying a firearm, you can have your knife here in Wisconsin. Enjoy your freedom here in Wisconsin

  86. So, say you were in the military and received a commemorative butterfly knife from the military of an ally as a gift for an extensive training exercise on new equipment that they had just purchased from the US. Would you have to get rid of it or would it be ok as long as you didn’t take it outside the home?

  87. Greetings. My name is Tyler and I am a citizen of Wisconsin. This year, knife law reforms have been passed and enacted in Wisconsin, and I am writing to inquire about the accuracy of the information on this page.

    As per AB142 enacted on February 7, 2016 “removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a ‘dangerous weapon’.”

    Therefor, I believe this page is citing dated information. I am simply looking for clarity on the topic; I am under the impression that switchblades (or automatic knives) are now legal to both carry and conceal. Likewise, I am under the impression that concealed carry of any fixed blade knife is also legal.

    Please let me know if I am incorrect, and if this page contains up-to-date information regarding Wisconsin knife laws.

  88. Please review and update this page. Wisconsin AB142 passed last February and completely changed the laws regarding knives in Wisconsin. It is now legal to own and carry switchblades and gravity knives. There is no restriction on concealed carry of a knife unless you are a prohibited person for firearm ownership.

  89. Hi,

    Just to let you guys know that as of February 8th, 2016, auto knives are legal in Wisc. Governor Scott Walker signed the new law (AB 142) on that date, making Wisconsin the 11th state (at that time) in which the organization Knife Rights has successfully fought to repeal auto knife bans.

    Thanks,

    C.Morfe

  90. This info needs to be updated. As of Feburary this year switchblades are legal in Wisconsin with the stipulation that you are able to pass a firearms background check.

    1. Also, if you have a CCW butterfly knives can not only be legally owned you can also carry them

  91. Can i carry my folding knife? Im from canada and ill be in wisconsin dells for the weekend.

    1. You can carry a folding knife. I do believe that the blade cannot exceed six inches and it cannot be a butterfly knife or “gravity knife”. Assisted opening is ok.

    2. FYI, January 21, 2016: Knife Rights’ Wisconsin Knife Law Reform Bill including Knife Law Preemption, AB 142, passed unanimously by voice vote yesterday evening in the Senate and is off to Governor Scott Walker for his signature!

      AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades and concealed carry of knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.” Knife Law Preemption means that all laws more restrictive than the new state law will be voided and knife law will be consistent throughout the state.

    3. this article doesn`t mention it but i think there is a length restriction on knives you can carry.
      it doesn`t mention when this article was written either.

    4. Article is out of date. All automatic knives are legal in Wisconsin

    5. AB 142 removes all restrictions on switchblades (automatic) knives and concealed carry of all knives from Wisconsin statutes with the single exception that a person who is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm may also not go armed with a concealed knife that is a “dangerous weapon.”Apr 14, 2015

  92. May I Ask If I Want A Balisong Trainer Will I Get In Trouble for anyway? Or will it get destroyed in customs? Im new and not fully correct on this. Also Are They Illegal In Janesville,Wisconsin

    1. Also Who Is Jacob Kerlin May I Ask?

  93. hey guys, what about a karambit that is 2.5 inches on school property. At my school (in WI), dangerous weapons are prohibited. Dangerous weapons include knives that are above 2.5 inches. If my reasoning is correct, I can carry and conceal a 2.5 inch self-defense karambit on campus. Am I correct???

  94. What about a sap or blackjack? I have a weapons permit and can carry a gun or knife but I am interested in any laws regarding a sap. My dad was a career LEO and considered his sap a great less lethal option. With a little practice and technique anyone can learn to turn an attackers brain off with one strike. But is it legal to carry?

  95. Please update this page re: WI Act 142 signed into law by Gov. Walker February 2016.

    Thanks

  96. I would assume that for all intended purposes, that “swards” or Japanese style Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto would all fall under the “dangerous weapons” clause? And if so, if I chose to carry one, or all types, I would probably have to got a concealed carry permit, and find a way to “hide” them.

    At what point does a blade become a weapon? A Bowie knife, and other more tactical knives can be up to 12 inches long, and seem to be OK to carry now concealed or not, at any time. A tanto style can be shorter then these, so does that make it legal? The law still seems vague on where the line is between a “knife” and a “weapon”.

    Also, the open carry law, as I understand it, states that weapons can be carried openly as long as they are two steps away from being used, does this apply to blades such as the ones I am talking about here? If I open carry a Wakizashi, that is two steps away from actually being used, am I legal? Or does that only apply to firearms?

    I understand the opinion of “it would be better not to because some one will call the cops and it will cause a hassle”, but that, to me, is a small price to pay for personal safety.

    Thank you in advance for your interpretation of the law, and advise.

  97. Can anyone tell me if this applies to spring assisted opening knives? I’m hesitant on buying one at the moment after reading over the WI knife laws but I’m still slighlty confused if spring assisted knives would count as “button using” or whatever.

    1. It went into effect as soon as Walker signed it. All knives are now legal to carry or conceal anywhere in the state.

    2. Wisconsin, like most states, has a procedure for laws to become effective. In Wisconsin, the law must be published, then it goes into effect the next day. Act 149 was signed on the 6th, published on the 7th, and went into effect on the 8th. I did not think public servants would act so fast, but they did!

    3. Ah, that explains why I didn’t get notified by the legislature’s automated system until two days after he signed it. Thanks for the clarification. B)

    4. “Anywhere” is an overstatement as Act 149 does not seem to allow knives in schools. It also does allow a political subdivision to ban carry of knives in buildings owned by the political subdivision. Still, a lot better than I expected to pass.

    5. You’re correct ─ you probably still won’t be able to bring a blade into most city halls and county court buildings.

      I see nothing explicitly prohibiting knives in schools at this point. Wis. Stat. § 948.61(1)(a) deals with that sort of thing, going by the “dangerous weapon” designation in § 939.22(10). Neither of them mention knives, though the latter does include “any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm.”

      With the changes Act 149 makes to § 175.60(1)(j), there does not seem to be any place left in Wisconsin law where knives in general are considered to be weapons. § 941.23(1)(ap) even specifically excludes knives from § 939.22(10)’s definition of “weapon” for concealed carry purposes.

      I guess what it comes down to is that under § 939.22(10) it would usually depend on the design of the knife. If it’s just a swiss army knife or other typical pocketknife, it would be hard to argue that it was “designed as a weapon,” but a Bowie knife or big military tanto would be hard to defend.

      Hunting knives and machetes would probably be challenged under a different standard, as while they are not designed as weapons, carrying one into a school may easily be construed as evidence of malicious intent under § 66.0409(6), unless you have some other valid reason for doing so.

      https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/948.61(1)(a)
      https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/939.22(10)
      https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/175.60(1)(j)
      https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/941.23(1)(ap)
      https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/66.0409(6)

    6. You may be right, but given the hysteria over weapons and schools, I’d rather not be found carrying a knife of any kind in a school. I hope that we keep moving in the right direction on this — I remember carrying pocket knives all through high school without any risk of trouble. ‘Course, even that doesn’t compare with my father’s high school experiences. He and his buddies would go duck hunting after school. During school they kept their shotguns in their lockers.

    7. Nope. Just make sure to stay away from schools with them. As Dean points out below, the Justice Department is still treating them as weapons if they’re on school property.

      We might not agree with them, but that won’t stop them from arresting and prosecuting us if we defy them, and with an unprecedented amount of school violence going on right now a jury is much more likely to see things their way than ours.

      But yeah, everywhere else aside from a local governement building that’s banned it—you’re in the clear. ⦂B)

  98. What about a 599 fox karmabit trainer knife? It’s more of an impact knife that can’t stab or slash.

    1. Yes, a karambit is legal to own in WI. Training knife included.

    2. No length restrictions on any knife. All knives are now legal to own, carry and even conceal.

    3. Yes, legal to carry. Regular Karambits are also legal to carry

  99. The way this reads even a person carrying a standard jack knife in their pocket that can be used for a multitude of things could be considered a weapon if some one really presses the issue of a person having one on them.

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly why knife law reform was pushed through. All done now. You can do what you want here. シ

  100. This needs to be updated the law has changed since Wisconsin passed concealed carry and the castle law

    1. Yes, assisted opening knives are legal to carry as long as the blade is 3 inches or shorter. If you have a concealed weapons permit, there is no blade length restriction.

    2. Go read Act 149 — there is no blade length restriction without a permit.

  101. Is it OK for me to were a knife on my belt that has a blade length of 4 inches or over.

    1. As long as it is in the open and not concealed. However, this may cause problems for you because people will probably call the police if they see you.

  102. Last winter I ordered a 28 inch Foreign Legion Machete and was taking it from my friend’s house to my house, walking of course. I was stopped by an officer who drove me home, it wasn’t particularly cold, I wasn’t particularly far from home, but he still stopped me and drove me home after I showed him my ID. He never explained to me whether what I did was illegal or he was just feeling charitable. The handle was sticking out of my bag, he didn’t search me or call in my name or anything. Thoughts?

  103. My KA-BAR is also stamped USMC, as is the leather sheath. It is: 7 & 1/16″ from blade tip to hilt, one pound, full tang, and black coated metal. It’s also very sharp and I bought it at Gander Mt. in Baraboo, WI. Does that description mean it is not a Bowie?

    1. I think that you should be wary of carrying it around, since it is a combat knife (USMC being the United States Marine Corps), but you should be able to explain yourself out of a situation where someone calls you out for it. Getting a leather handle wrap instead of the black handle might help, too, unless you got the wood handled version, in which case I would just leave it.

    2. Haha it is not illegal. You can open carry it, however I would recommend against it. People are likely to call the cops over it. Depends what kind of area you live in. It will cause more trouble than its worth. I would recommend getting your concealed carry permit and getting a knife that you can conceal. There is no blade length restriction if you have a concealed weapons permit. Otherwise, the largest blade you can carry concealed must be 3 inches or shorter.

    3. Ka-Bars are technically a push tang design. Not quite a full tang. Well sort of, but usually a full tang involves the handle being of similar width to the blade and then having slabs or “scales” fastened to the sides. The Ka-Bar is designed the way it is for the best point of balance. If it was a traditional full tang design, it would be way too back heavy. I love how the Ka-Bar design has stayed the same for so long. This means it was just done right the first time! I’ve owned my USMC Ka-Bar for quite a while now, and I’ve used it for just about everything. Too bad the company is owned by Cut-Co now.

  104. Its sad to me that the balisong (butterfly knife) is not legal in wisconsin, i believe i should be able to at least OWN anything i want weather i can carry it in public i dont care, ive been flipping for years and its a great pass time it just disappoints me that we cant get past a stigma created by media and movies that makes this knife look so much more dangerous than many others.

    1. You can own one, just not carry it. You won’t get in trouble for owning one. I’ve bought at least 15 Balisongs since living in WI.

  105. same, i carry my knife just so I feel safe when I’m alone.
    And yes I am very skilled with a knife, I have learned six marcail arts I probebly spelled that wrong.

  106. Spring assisted knives are not illegal in WI ok so maybe a bitcy cop would just get on your case about it but a “Switchblade” wether out of the front versions or side flip, it has to have a button or other leavers on the HANDLE OF THE KNIFE.
    THE MECHANISM THAT OPENS IT IS NOT ATTACHED TO THE KNIFE AND THEREFORE ILLEGAL. I carry a new type of spting assisted knife that shoots out of the front. It falls under the spring assisted category because you must push a knob ON THE SIDE OF THE KNIFE THAT IS DIRECTLY ATTACHED TO THE BLADE AND IF YOU PUSH WITH A LITTLE AMONT OF PRESSURE IT MOVES THE KNIFE OUT OF THE LOCKED POSITION ACTIVATING THE SPRING AND COMING OUT. Now like I said before technically it is close to a switchblade but that’s the law there is a difference. I have owned both illegal switchblades ( that I didnt carry around) and legal spring assisted knives. I have never had a problem spring assisted knives were made for fast easy and fun use for a practical reason. They are great for the disabled and can be opened with one hand with no problem. I just suggest like sith anything else don’t go flashing it around and don’t use it in an illegal matter. Women are especially people to avoid with any kind of knife or and thing sharp or dangerous. Case closed

  107. Is there a certain age for open carry? I’m used to Illinois laws where anyone can carry 3 inch or under knives.

    1. I believe it’s 4 and under on your blade length anand I to want to know the age limits

    2. 16 is the age at which you can legally carry a pocket knife.

  108. Well put Brian im with you on that.I carry one everyday not just for selfdefense but feel more comfortable knowing that if the situation arises I will not hesitate to defend myself and family.

  109. Hello,

    I am a firm believer in defending yourself and/ or others. I carry a survival/bowie knife strapped on my side just about everywhere I go and I know how to use a knife very very well.

    Prior to carrying, I researched the knife laws and blade length laws for WI. Trust me when I say.that if someone attempts to rob me or my wife or if I see it about to happen to others, or let’s say someone threatens me or mine or anyone near me with bodily harm, I’m not going to sit idly by and watch it happen and then wait for an hour for a sissy little Barney Fife-looking cop with a bullet in his pocket to show up. No Sir!

    But what I will do in defending me, mine, or those near me, is I will yank out tht big sharp blade I have on my side. And I will definitely filet me some criminal/ robber/ bully!! And that is No Joke!!! I do Not believe in the BS philosophy of, “if it happens, then it was meant to happen…nothing we can do about it!” That is a crock statement made up by pittiful bleeding hearts that have sympathy for the criminals!!

    And I am sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and is just sick and tired of crazed gunmen and loser coward bullies. It’s time for us innocent, peace-loving people to get a little “crazec” too…and Fight Back!! Thanks for reading!!

  110. Assisted open knifes ARE leagl to carry with weapons permit in the State of Wi. Assisted Open knifes are NOT considered” switch blades” go to kniferights.com

    1. Too many prosecutors do not believe in self defense( vigilante), be a victim and wait for the cops to make a report over your dead body. Notice the worst anti-self defense liberals have police protection or personal body guards.

  111. According to Wisconsin state statues there is no difference between a knife that is 1/2 inch and a knife that is 6 inches.

    According to Langston v. State, 61 Wis. 2d 288, 212 N.W.2d 113 (1973) even a plastic soft drink bottle can be considered a weapon actual injury from the victim is not required.
    An unloaded pellet gun qualified as a “dangerous weapon” under sub. (10) in that
    it was designed as a weapon and, when used as a bludgeon, was capable of producing
    great bodily harm. State v. Antes, 74 Wis. 2d 317, 246 N.W.2d 671 (1976).

  112. is it illegal to carry a folding knife[blade2andahalfinch]clipped on your pocket?

  113. It’s legal to open carry a knife in wisconsin how does wisconsin law define open carry?

  114. Jordan, spring-assisted knives fall into the switch blade category lol. ik from getting charged for having one i think it was around a $600 or $700 don’t quite remember

  115. What about spring-assisted knives? There is no button or movement that opens the knife. Could those be classified as switch blades?

  116. Wisconsin now allows concealed carry permits for firearm, edge weapon, and baton.

  117. IS THERE A SIZE RESTRICTION ON THE SIZE OF FOLDING KNIFE THAT WE ARE ALLOWED TO CARRY WITHOUT A CCW, OR DOES THE CCW COVER ALL KNIVES EXCEPT THE SITCHBLADES, BUTTERFLY?

  118. Just a correction to what you have stated. In the state of Wisconsin you may carry a concealed knife, either on your person or in your vehicle, if you possess a valid CCW permit. While going through the training and paying the fee may seem a bit much if you intend to only carry a concealed knife and not a concealed firearm, a CCW allows you to carry a knife other than those illegal by type (switchblade, etc.), firearm, billy club, or electric weapon.

    http://www.doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/dles/ccw/ccw-faq.pdf

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