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Wisconsin gun law terminology: Terms you should know

In the state of Wisconsin, if you're a gun owner, it's important that you understand the legal distinction between various terms, like "carry" and "possession," for example. Understanding the meaning of these and other gun law terminology is important for deciding whether a particular defendant has broken Wisconsin gun laws.

Here are some important terms you should know:

Carry: The terms "carry" and "carrying" in the context of firearms in Wisconsin means "to go armed with," which -- in turn -- means that the firearm is on the person's body, being carried by the person or within his or her reach. It also means that the person is aware that the firearm is there.

Possession: In many cases, courts generally will not deem that a person is "carrying" a firearm if it is unloaded and encased. In these situations, the person is usually in "possession" of the firearm. The term "possession" describes someone who has a firearm -- and it could be on his or her person -- but the person is not "going armed with" the weapon.

Open Carry: Open carry refers to the carrying of a weapon that is out in the open or not concealed.

Concealed Carry: Concealed carry means that someone is hiding the weapon from easy view. Perhaps someone has a firearm under his or her jacket or inside a purse or bag and it's not visible, for example.

Knowing these terms will help you navigate various gun rules and regulations. It will also help you understand what defense strategies you may want to employ if you have been accused of violating weapons laws in Wisconsin.

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