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home : news : news May 24, 2016

12/2/2011 8:55:00 AM
Wisconsin citizens can now own and carry Tasers and stun guns
Language embodied in new concealed carry law
Tasers (lower left) are now allowed to be carried as a concealed weapons by Wisconsin citizens because of the legislation signed into law this past June by Gov. Scott Walker.Carel Schmidlkofer photograph
Tasers (lower left) are now allowed to be carried as a concealed weapons by Wisconsin citizens because of the legislation signed into law this past June by Gov. Scott Walker.

Carel Schmidlkofer photograph

Richard Moore
Investigative Reporter


It is a nightmare for many in law enforcement, but most Wisconsin citizens can now own and carry Tasers and stun guns to protect themselves.

There's only one catch: Those wishing to do so must apply for and received a state concealed carry permit.

While most public attention has focused almost laser-like on the merits of the ability to carry a concealed firearm - not to mention on the training requirements for receiving a concealed carry permit - many people did not realize that the concealed carry law passed this year legalized Tasers and other electric weapons under the law.

Until Nov. 1, it was a felony for anyone to possess a Taser or stun gun, with the exception of law enforcement officers, military personnel and a few select others. Wisconsin had been one of only seven states not to allow citizens to possess electric weapons, or what law enforcement calls a nonlethal weapon.

That all changed when Gov. Scott Walker signed the concealed carry legislation in June, and when the law became effective on Nov. 1.

Previously, Wisconsin law stated that whoever sells, transports, manufactures, possesses or goes armed with any electric weapon was guilty of a Class E felony. "Electric weapon" means any device which is designed, redesigned, used or intended to be used, offensively or defensively, to immobilize or incapacitate persons by the use of an electric current.

That includes Tasers, which shoot probes that deliver an electric shock, and stun guns, which are typically held against the body of the victim.



Law enforcement opposition

In the past, efforts to allow citizens to use electric weapons had been met with vociferous and successful law enforcement opposition.

Advocates for citizen possession of the weapons say the measure simply gives citizens one more weapon with which to defend themselves, and a nonlethal one at that. People uncomfortable with carrying a gun might well opt for an electric weapon.

Then, too, advocates say, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, meaning if law enforcement can have them, why not their citizen bosses?

But many in law enforcement say there are good reasons to prohibit their use by the general public. For one thing, they say, because they are considered nonlethal, people might be tempted to treat them like toys, and that could lead to careless practices and needless injuries, as well as more use by children.

Opponents also say the weapons can be used for torture and might be more readily applied in domestic abuse situations.

Nonetheless, while police vigorously opposed stand-alone measures to legalize public use of electric weapons in the past, this year their opposition was muted, in part because they had other concerns about the concealed carry law.

Meanwhile, the citizen use of Tasers has been increasing in 43 other states, apparently without dire consequences, and in 2007 Taser International launched a model of Taser designed specifically for citizen consumers, a relatively inexpensive weapon small enough to carry in a purse, and strong enough to deliver a 30-second pulse. It retails for just under $400 and comes in various colors.

Police use

Despite increased availability to the public, police account for most Taser use by far, and the weapon's controversial deployment among police departments continues to be controversial, both concerning the death rate after someone is tasered and its inappropriate use.

According to Amnesty International, 351 people died after being tasered in the United States between 2001 and 2008, a rate of more than four deaths a month. Since then, the blog Electronic Village has added 158 to the count, for an unofficial total of 509 Taser-related deaths.

Often enough students and the disabled are targeted, as well as those suffering from alcohol or drug intoxication.

In August, for example, in Kaukauna, a man died after being tasered as police attempted to detain him, NBC reported. Police reported that the man was naked and running near the downtown area, and possibly suffering from a drug overdose. When an ambulance arrived, officials said, the man tried to run away, and officers used the Taser.

State guidelines urge police not to taser individuals who might be suffering from "excited delirium" because of intoxication.

In September, in the village of Howard, WTMJ reported that a sheriff's deputy used a stun gun on a 17-year-old boy who acted aggressively and then tried to escape. Police say the boy threatened an officer, who deployed the stun gun.

The Brown County sheriff's department determined the use of the weapon to be justifiable.

Also in September, ABC reported, Hartland police tasered a nonverbal autistic student after a situation on a school bus. Reports say the boy pushed the bus driver from the bus and charged the officer. The officer reportedly fired the Taser three times.

Not all Taser use is by police. In October, according to a NBC report, a eighth-grade student purchased a Taser online and took it to Muskego's homecoming game, where he tasered three of his friends. The police report said all three agreed to be shocked.

Richard Moore can be reached at richardmoore.gov@gmail.com.



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Article comment by: Patricia herlinger

I just started a new job a few weeks ago and two nights ago I found out that one of the girls I work with now posses a taser. I am not sure if her age but, she is between 17 and 18. Is it legal for her to posses a taser without a conceal and carry license?

Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Article comment by: Dennis Prah

I have read this 3 year old article. It seems to me that all the nay Sayers and hand wringers have been wrong. Wisconsin hasn't become the wild west. People aren't being gunned down in the streets (at least by concealed carry holders). Violent crime is down. We need less concealed regulation and the facts prove that out.

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014
Article comment by: Joe Thompson

I've always used the Open Carry law to my advantage. It's Constitutional. It's worked out just fine so far.

No need for all the bureaucracy around protecting yourself.


Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Article comment by: Angela Wilkerson

Joe, I believe you made a great point when you stated..." people makes mistakes" Lawmakers will give weapon to a person with anger problems, mental health issues, alcoholism etc. Who's most likely on some type of disability due to the fact their not able to make sound decisions or not able to whole steady employment. But nevertheless lawmakers Believing these people must and should have the right to protect their families, homes and their person. But if you have a felony only 1 on you record that is nonviolent - that is 15YEAR-OLDS you shouldn't have the right to serve, to live, too protect your family and yourself sleep comfortably at night telling themselves job well done

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011
Article comment by: Joe Toth

Iím all for our right to have arms. Iíve been doing it most of my life in the form of home protection. I keep a pistol grip Mossberg 12 gauge behind the headboard of my bed, and another one behind my refrigerator. This is because I live alone in a bad neighborhood, dreading the day my door gets kicked in by someone involved in criminal activity. Iíve been doing this for decades and never had to reach for them other to clean them every few months and change the loads every year. Hopefully Iíll be able to go a few more decades without having to need them in an incident, but if I would need them, they are there and ready.

As Americans, we have this right to protect our homes and possess guns to go hunting.

As much as Iím for this right, I must say Iím against the new carry law. Sure, Iím all for the right to have guns, but I donít think itís right to strap one on as part of your wardrobe in the morning and parade around Main Street U.S.A. as a armed citizen.

This isnít the old days where the nearest lawman is on horseback about 30 miles away. Now you can have a small army of police at your location in a matter of minutes with one simple phone call, if you need help in public places.

Another thing is, the backgrounds of the people who want to carry concealed. Sure, a person may pass a criminal background check, but whoís to say there arenít people that shouldnít carry because of mental health issues, temper problems, anger management issues, alcoholism, or any other concern that may affect ones proper judgment.

Like I said, Iím all for defending one's home after a forced entry is made. Iím also a person who sees hunting as a good use of firearms.

However, Öthis concealed carry law brings me images of Ďchildren playing cowboys, or cops and robbersí. Very juvenile, and actually a step backward for the civilized society weíre trying to be.

Iím sure in Wisconsin there are a lot of people that are getting their carry permits because they have no criminal record. However, as with anything else in life, there will be a percentage of these people that will make a mistake or have an accident in one way or another, and then theyíll have something they didnít have before they got their permit, ĎA CRIMINAL RECORDí.

This is just human nature. Mistakes are possible and can happen. Use driving as a great example. To drive, you must have a license. When you get out of bed in the morning, you donít say to yourself ďI know for a fact Iím not going to get a ticket for running a stop sign, or getting in an accident todayĒ. You canít predict things like this. The same holds true for carry concealed. If you choose to carry, you are open to all the extra possibilities that come with the responsibility.


Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011
Article comment by: Joe Toth

Iím all for our right to have arms. Iíve been doing it most of my life in the form of home protection. I keep a pistol grip Mossberg 12 gauge behind the headboard of my bed, and another one behind my refrigerator. This is because I live alone in a bad neighborhood, dredding the day my door gets kicked in by someone involved in criminal activity. Iíve been doing this for decades and never had to reach for them other to clean them every few months and change the loads every year. Hopefully Iíll be able to go a few more decades without having to need them in an incident, but if I would need them, they are there and ready.

As Americans, we have this right to protect our homes and possess guns to go hunting.

As much as Iím for this right, I must say Iím against the new carry law. Sure, Iím all for the right to have guns, but I donít think itís right to strap one on as part of your wardrobe in the morning and parade around Main Street U.S.A. as a armed citizen.

This isnít the old days where the nearest lawman is on horseback about 30 miles away. Now you can have a small army of police at your location in a matter of minutes with one simple phone call, if you need help in public places.

Another thing is, the backgrounds of the people who want to carry concealed. Sure, a person may pass a criminal background check, but whoís to say there arenít people that shouldnít carry because of mental health issues, temper problems, anger management issues, alcoholism, or any other concern that may affect ones proper judgment.

Like I said, Iím all for defending ones home after a forced entry is made. Iím also a person who sees hunting as a good use of firearms.

However, Öthis concealed carry law brings me images of Ďchildren playing cowboys, or cops and robbersí. Very juvenile, and actually a step backwards for the civilized society weíre trying to be.

Iím sure in Wisconsin there are a lot of people that are getting their carry permits because they have no criminal record. However, as with anything else in life, there will be a percentage of these people that will make a mistake or have an accident in one way or another, and then theyíll have something they didnít have before they got their permit, ĎA CRIMINAL RECORDí.

This is just human nature. Mistakes are possible and can happen. Use driving as a great example. To drive, you must have a license. When you get out of bed in the morning, you donít say to yourself ďI know for a fact Iím not going to get a ticket for running a stop sign, or getting in an accident todayĒ. You canít predict things like this. The same holds true for carry concealed. If you choose to carry, you are open to all the extra possibilities that come with the responsibility.


Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011
Article comment by: James Kimmons

OH MY GOD! Heaven forbid the average citizen have the ability to protect themselves, when each citizen is issued a personal police person to accompany them 24/7...oops, I don't think that's the way it works yet.

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011
Article comment by: kyle battis

I was visiting Wisconson when the law passed and I think it is a good thing to have responsiblyarmed citizens - kudos to the guys at www.howtocarryconcealed.com. I think they have some good info. Kyle



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