The Wisconsin laws regarding knives have been liberalized as of February 2016. Starting with this date, switchblade knives ceased being considered “weapons“, this category being restricted to Billy clubs, electric guns, and handguns.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 5.

Knives shall be excluded from the definition of “weapon” and of “dangerous weapon” regardless their dimensions, their blade size and design, and their opening and folding mechanism.

In addition, Wisconsin laws permit residents to carry a concealed knife, as well as other types of weapons:

Any person carrying or loading a firearm or a knife is not in violation of this section of the law. This applies to individuals who don’t show a malicious or criminal intent. It makes no difference if the firearm is loaded or not or the knife is openly carried or concealed.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 11.

Anyone who is prohibited from firearm possession in Wisconsin is also prohibited from carrying a gun or a knife, be it hidden or visible.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 9.

Taking into consideration that the state has local regulations preemption rights, political divisions aren’t allowed to enact or enforce any ordinance that regulates the ownership, sale, possession, transfer, transportation, carrying, registration and licensing of knives. If the ordinance is more stringent than a state statute, exceptions apply.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 2.

In addition, the Wisconsin law offers protection to individuals openly carrying a hidden knife from their local regulations:

Individuals can’t be charged with a violation of this section for loading a firearm or for carrying a firearm or a knife, without regard to whether the knife is openly carried or concealed or the firearm is loaded or not. This isn’t valid if a criminal or malicious intent is suspected or detected. It is forbidden to enforce any ordinance in violation of this subsection.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 4.

Even though the state has the preemption right, local governments have the freedom to forbid the possession of knives in a building or a part of a building which is owned, leased or controlled by the political subdivision.

AB 142, Act 149, Section 4.

The law mentions the term “building” rather than “real estate”, this meaning knife owners who carry their knives inside amusement parks and other recreational areas are protected. Even though knives are now excluded from the definition of “weapon” in the state of Wisconsin, the statute doesn’t mention the prohibition of knives on school property, since that section refers only to “dangerous weapons” as defined by the law.

Minors are prohibited from carrying or possessing dangerous weapons. Transfers of such weapons to a minor are also prohibited under Wisconsin law. W.S.A. 948.60.

It is forbidden to possess dangerous weapons other than firearms on school premises. W.S.A. 948.60.

Critical Dimensions:
There aren’t any to be mentioned.

This is not a problem.

Statewide Preemption:
Yes, effective February 2016

This information that is presented as a brief description of the laws and not as any kind of legal advice. aStraightArrow will not and cannot be a legal service provider. The use of the site does not create any sort of client/lawyer relationship. The knife laws are interpreted differently by prosecuting attorneys, enforcement officers, and judges. aStraightArrow suggests you consult legal counsel for further guidance.