Law Enforcement Directory

Former Law Enforcement Officers and Concealed Carry

On November 1, 2011, 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 became law. This law provides a route for Wisconsin residents to legally carry a concealed weapon and clarifies the process for former officers who are eligible to carry a concealed handgun under the Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act (HR218). More information on 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 is available here.

Wisconsin residents who are former law enforcement officers may be eligible to carry a concealed weapon in two ways.

  1. Obtain the concealed carry license available to the general public.
  2. Obtain a "HR218" certification card available to qualified former law enforcement officers.

Former law enforcement officers may decide to obtain a concealed carry license, a HR218 certification card, or both. There are several differences between the two options. For example, the HR218 certification card is valid in all 50 states but a Wisconsin license is not recognized in many states. The HR218 certification is only valid for handguns and requires annual qualification and re-issue, while the Wisconsin license is valid for 5 years, does not require shooting, and includes electric weapons and billy clubs.

Option One: Wisconsin CCW License

Current and former law enforcement officers living in Wisconsin may apply for a regular Wisconsin concealed carry license. This license merely requires proof of law enforcement training (or another firearms safety or training course such as hunter's safety, etc.). If you need proof of your Wisconsin law enforcement firearms training for this resident permit, click here for information on how to request it.

Option Two: HR218 / LEOSA Certification Card

If the former Wisconsin officer meets requirements, he or she may request his or her former law enforcement employer to issue a certification card which permits the former officer to carry a concealed handgun. (This certification card must be issued by the former agency--there is no statutory authority for firearms instructors to issue certification cards.) Former federal officers, and former officers of out-of-state agencies, residing in Wisconsin, may request a certification card through the WisDOJ.

  • The requirements and process for all former officers is shown here (updated 11/17/2015).
  • The LESB Handgun Qualification Standard can be found here (updated 06/05/2018).

On September 5, 2012, the Law Enforcement Standards Board approved a statewide handgun qualification standard. As a state standard, this course serves as the required qualification course for former Wisconsin officers requesting a certification card pursuant to s. 175.49(2)(a)2, or former federal and out-of-state officers requesting a certification card pursuant to s. 175.49(3)(a)2. Adoption of this standard means a retired officer living across the state from their former agency can now complete the qualification process locally rather than returning to their agency to qualify.

  • 2012 letter to Chiefs and Sheriffs explaining the Handgun Qualification standard: letter.
  • This FAQ explains why former officers must meet active duty firearm standards.