MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Today's the day Wisconsin becomes the 49th state to let law-abiding residents carry concealed weapons.
But the first state permits won't be issued for a few weeks. If you're caught carrying a hidden weapon before then, police say you could face a criminal misdemeanor charge.
Milwaukee Police say they won't hesitate to arrest those packing hidden heat without permits. Police Chief Ed Flynn wanted that to be a felony, but he couldn't convince lawmakers to go that far. He says criminals already carry concealed weapons without permits, and the new penalties won't stop them.
The only ones who can carry hidden weapons legally today are those who live in 26 states who have valid concealed carry permits. Wisconsin residents with permits in other states will have to get a permit here as well.
An overflow crowd attended a meeting in Milwaukee Monday night to get answers about the new law. But District Attorney John Chisholm said many questions won't be answered until the law's in place for awhile. He says it will take time to sort out all the issues involved.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin senators will be able to carry hidden guns when they meet -- but those who watch them cannot. The Senate's leadership panel voted 3-2 Monday to ban guns from the gallery of the chamber.