On June 21, 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill that would limit a company’s ability to prohibit weapons on its property. The bill, commonly referred to as the “concealed-carry bill,” would amend existing laws to allow licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the state, with few exceptions. Those weapons include handguns, electric weapons, knives (other than a switch blade), and billy clubs. Governor Walker is expected to sign the law.
There are two provisions of this law that would specifically apply to employers:
First, the law allows employers to prohibit employees from carrying a concealed weapon during any part of the course of their employment. However, employees have wide latitude to keep weapons and ammunition in their cars. An employer may not prohibit employees from storing weapons or ammunition in their vehicles, including when the vehicle is:
- Used in the course of the employment
- Parked or driven on the property used by the employer
Second, the law creates a “posting” exception, which allows certain property owners and occupants to prohibit guns and ammunition from being brought onto non-residential property. Thus, an owner of a nonresidential building, grounds of a nonresidential building, or land (if the property has not been leased to another person), or the occupant who leases a nonresidential building, grounds of a nonresidential building, or land, may prohibit an individual from entering or remaining on the owned or leased property with a firearm by providing that individual with notice. However, the owner or occupant cannot prohibit an individual from storing a firearm in a vehicle driven or parked in a parking facility to the building, grounds, or land.
The posting requirements are very specific. To provide notice that carrying a firearm into a nonresidential building is prohibited, the owner or occupant must post a sign in a prominent place (a) near each entrance to the area of the building to which the restriction applies, and (b) where it can be reasonably expected that individuals entering the building will see the sign. The sign must be five inches by seven inches in size or larger. The requirements to provide notice of a firearm prohibition on nonresidential grounds or land are essentially the same as those outlined above, except rather than posting the notices at building entrances, they must be posted near all possible access points to the grounds or land where the restriction applies. A person who disregards the notices is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000.
If the bill becomes law, it will take effect on the first day of the fourth month after its publication. Thus, this law could go into effect as early as November 2011. Click here for a copy of the bill.