By Steve Jagler Special to Published Oct 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Wisconsin's new concealed carry law will take effect on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Wisconsin businesses that take no action will by default allow concealed weapons to be carried by their employees, vendors and customers on their premises.

If business owners choose to prohibit concealed weapons, they must post a conspicuous notice (at least 5 inches by 7 inches) near the entrances to the building, stating that carrying concealed weapons is prohibited.

Employers also will need to expressly inform their employees in writing that weapons are prohibited.

Except for military or law enforcement personnel, an individual is only authorized to carry a concealed weapon if he or she obtains a "CCW license" by completing an application through the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The law was written with a legal incentive to encourage businesses to allow concealed weapons to be carried. Businesses that impose restrictions on weapons will forfeit the state's legal shield of immunity from the consequences of that decision. A business that does not prohibit an individual from carrying a concealed weapon on premises is immune from any liability arising from that decision.

An employer can prohibit employees from carrying concealed weapons on the job (whether on or off the employer's premises), but may not prohibit the employee with a CCW license from carrying or storing a weapon or ammunition in the employee's own vehicle, even if the vehicle is used in the course of employment or is parked on the employer's property.

Meanwhile, the issue of concealed carry in the capitol building in Madison is still being sorted out by the very lawmakers who enacted the law.

A hodgepodge of restrictions is emerging in the Capitol. The assembly, led by Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), plans to allow concealed weapons to be carried on the assembly floor and in the assembly viewing galleries. The assembly is waiting today for an overall Capitol policy from Gov. Scott Walker's Department of Administration.

In the senate, Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) had hoped to prohibit weapons from being carried in the parts of the building controlled by the senate. However, he apparently has bowed to pressure from Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). The senate now expects to allow senators to carry concealed weapons on the floor of the senate, but people in the senate viewing gallery would be restricted from carrying weapons.

Ellis said he had wanted a "touchdown," but he settled for a "field goal."

The Fitzgerald brothers are the sons of former Dodge County Sheriff Steve Fitzgerald, who has been appointed by Walker to be the superintendent of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The Democrats who voted against concealed carry from the very beginning will simply have to live with the rules imposed by the Republicans in power.

"I am deeply disturbed by the proposed plan from Gov. Walker to allow concealed carry in most parts of the Capitol. Even more outrageous is the fact that Republican leadership in the legislature has proposed that concealed carry be permitted in the assembly viewing galleries and on the assembly floor," said Rep. Frederick Kessler (D-Milwaukee).

If the plans go through as proposed today, guns will be allowed everywhere in the assembly, but cameras, recorders and signs will not.

"Last Thursday, Republicans justified the removal of peaceful, silent citizens from the gallery because they feared for their safety. However, it was not because those citizens were carrying loaded handguns. These citizens were ejected for holding a sign or having a small piece of paper affixed to their clothing. I fail to see how infringing on First Amendment rights and allowing guns into the gallery makes this building the least bit safer," Kessler said.

Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at