Can people bring guns to the Capitol for an armed protest? MPD, Capitol police state the rules around this

MADISON, Wis.– As police agencies prepare for potential armed protests in the coming days, they shared what the laws are when it comes to bringing guns to the State Capitol.

According to Capitol Police, an individual may carry a concealed weapon in any space within the State Capitol, unless that person is prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon such as a convicted felon. Firearms are not allowed in the offices of the Wisconsin State Capitol police or in the Supreme Court. Legislative officers throughout the Capitol can choose whether to post a sign on their door to signify that firearms are not allowed in their offices.

Illegal firearms or openly carried firearms are not allowed in any part of the Capitol building as well as “any other items law enforcement deem a hazard to public safety and building.”

Madison Interim Police Chief Vic Wahl said MPD is working with State Capitol police to put together a staffing and security plan for Sunday and the early part of next week. Wahl said there will be a unified command post where all agencies involved will be in the same room and will be able to respond effectively and efficiently to any potential threats.

“We certainly encourage people who want to come to a protest or engage in an expressive activity to leave the guns at home,” Wahl said. “I think it makes it much more difficult for the officers policing these events when you have people that are armed or people that are openly carrying firearms.”

Wahl said in the state of Wisconsin, you can generally carry a firearm openly “as long as you aren’t threatening someone with it or using it in an illegal fashion.”

Wahl said there will be plans in place to try to help protect surrounding businesses and buildings near the Capitol during any potential protests in the coming days.

“We base our decisions and our response on the behavior of the person,” Wahl said. “If they were pointing the weapon at someone that would be inappropriate. That would be illegal and that might be a situation where we would take some action. If they were verbally threatening someone and connecting that to the use of a firearm, that might be a time where we would intervene.”