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Thread: MT DoJ Open Carry Info email

  1. #1
    Regular Member Emmeric's Avatar
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    Here in Butte, we have several restaurants that also serve alcohol. According to the Concealed Carry laws, you cannot concealed carry in such an establishment.

    But being that Montana is also an "Open Carry" state, I wondered if I could simply unconceal my firearm and be within the law. So I wrote an email to the Montana Department of Justice.

    Here is my email:

    Hi:

    I understand that Montana is an open carry state where a loaded firearm can be legally carried exposed. My wife and I currently have a Concealed Carry License.

    When entering restaurants in Butte where most restaurants have attached bars, I have been leaving my firearm in the car while my wife carries hers in her purse (luggage law).

    According to Montana state law, I could simply remove my jacket and open-carry instead of removing my firearm (concealed) and leaving it in the car? I also understand this is dependent upon the permission of the establishment. But do I have the intent of the law correct?

    Thank you for your time.
    I received a response this morning as follows:

    -----Original Message----- From: Anders, Jennifer Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:13 AM To: Contact DOJ Subject: RE: Open Carry Law State of Montana

    Dear Sir:

    It may be considered a violation of state law for your wife to carry a weapon concealed in her purse. I am not sure what you mean by "luggage law." If the purse were construed as part of "clothing" or "wearing apparel," it would be considered concealed and a violation of 45-8-315. If you have specific questions about this, you should discuss with your local county attorney who would be in a position to prosecute this offense.

    As you note, many establishments that serve alcohol do not allow weapons on the premises as a courtesy to other customers. I ran a bar for many years and always asked patrons to deliver their weapons at the door -- a rule which they voluntarily complied with and, in my opinion, prevented a number of incidents. Otherwise, your interpretation of the law is correct.

    Jennifer Anders Assistant Attorney General
    The "luggage law" I was referring to which I did not specify was: 45-8-315 which she correctly identified. In Gary Marbut's book "Gun Laws of Montana," he cites purses as being predominantly not considered "clothing or wearing apparel" by Montana prosecutors - and Gary Marbut of the MSSA is the gentleman who wrote the concealed carry laws - thus making purses fall under the "luggage" category and legal to carry in that fashion.

    Note: Mr Marbut, who wrote the laws, warns that there has not been a precedent-setting case, yet, as to whether purses shall be considered luggage or clothing. Only that most prosecutors don't consider purses to be clothing.

    SO, open carry in Montana into restaurants is legal and protected. However, if ANY employee asks you to remove the firearm, you must comply. If you Concealed Carry, you must either remove your concealment and expose the firearm, or remove it entirely when entering a restaurant that serves alcohol.



  2. #2
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    Hey, great job, great first post and welcome to OCDO! I see you're jumping right in! Seems like Montana has the same OC policy as Virginia....have to OC in restaurants or clubs that serve alcohol, unless asked to leave.



  3. #3
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    Taken from an article that appeared in a number of papers around Montana in early February of this year. http://www.mtstandard.com/articles/2...jhjfjjeggf.txt

    The county attorneys of Yellowstone, Missoula and Lewis and Clark counties have said that purses are luggage, not apparel, and guns in purses are therefore legal without a permit.

    (The Lewis and Clark County attorney who made that announcement was Mike McGrath, now the state’s attorney general and a candidate for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court.) Concealed weapons: Who’s got ’em?
    Whether or not that would be legal, as it is concealed, is the question. From the way that I understand it, that would be the case.

    -MTCZ

  4. #4
    Regular Member MT GUNNY's Avatar
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    If you could supply us with a email address for the justic department,

    I would like to know about banks and OC vs CC?

  5. #5
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    So if a ladies purse is considered 'luggage', then is a fanny pack also considered 'luggage', as that is it's main purpose?

    We travel to MT and surrounding states regularly and disarming just to eat at 'XYZ' restaurant just because they serve adult beverages is not something I am interested in, so we tend to avoid those places. Further, surrendering my sidearm to a barkeep ain't my idea of good fieldcraft either. Who has access to it? Is it locked up so as to prevent unauthorized use or simply being stolen? Possibly MORE risky than simply entering in a disarmed fashion.

    This MT law simply seems rather silly to me, as we live in and travel in states that DO allow CC in bars and restaurants that serve adult beverages (i.e. Applebee's, Max & Irmas) and know of no problems as a result. I would think that CC'g in an establishment that is primarily a bar might well be preferable as it would avoid the drunk contingent making leading/antagonizing remarks about an openly carried sidearm? I simply wouldn't want to put myself or S.O. in that kind of a position.

    [Yes, I do OC on a selected basis, as I find it a convenient way to carry, especially in the warm months. OC'g into a location that I think would be antagonistic to my OC would be poor judgement, IMHO, as I don't go looking for conflict or trouble, especially with those under the influence.]

    In small burgs as are normally found in the lightly populated West, many times the only places that sell brews are actual bars, so if we want to replenish our stock, we have to go into an actual 'bar' to purchase brews. No problem, I'm just not enamored with the idea of being disarmed. Maybe I send the S.O. in with her properly prepared purse?

    Thoughts, opinions? - Particularly on the Fanny Pack question.

    Is the 'No CC in locations where consumable adult beverages are sold' law something that could be changed in MT? Or is it just an accepted INTRUSION into a citizens self-defense.

  6. #6
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    The rules surrounding CC here are strange, considering that OC is ok for those same places. I believe that the CC rules are a holdover from the "wild west" days, or at least that mentality. I would like to see them changed, but I don't see that happening in the near future.

    I *believe* that a fannypack would be considered luggage, as would a backpack. However, a fannypack here is not common, unless you are one of the eco tourist crowd, which means you would stand out already in your dress.

    -MTCZ

  7. #7
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    Unfortunetly fanny packs are considered "wearing apparel"are not covered under ie "luggage law" because it is worn on your person. It isdifferant for womenwhere their purses are strapped over their shoulder.

    I guess one could unbelt your fanny pack and carryit in your hand. But back when I was an LEO, if I found you in citylimits wearing a fanny pack it had better not of contained a concealedfirearm w/o a permit to carry. I am no longer an LEO here in Montana, and am just advising here on the matter.

    I know it don't sound fair, but that is the way the law is written until it is changed.

    What is considered concealed here in Montana:

    http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-315.htm

    45-8-315. Definition. "Concealed weapon" means any weapon mentioned in 45-8-316 through 45-8-318 and 45-8-321 through 45-8-328 that is wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon, except that for purposes of 45-8-321 through 45-8-328, concealed weapon means a handgun or a knife with a blade 4 or more inches in length that is wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon.


  8. #8
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    THanks for the response guys. Since I have an IN LTCH and reciprocity with MT, carrying CC or OC is simply a choice. I was most interested in understanding more about the tolerance of what constitutes OC with respect to entering a food establishment that serves alcohol. I'll either OC or just get a 'man purse':what: (maxpedition). Ha, ha. I'd never hear the end of it from my better half. Besides, I suspect the Maxpedition would stand out as I don't ever recall seeing anyone with one, except once in Yellowstone... and I'm to tight to spring for one...

  9. #9
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    Actually, in Helena or Great Falls, a Maxpedition would not be common, but not uncommon either. Both have fairly active NG, so there are a lot of guys with that gear around.

    Yes, the laws here can be weird..

    -CZ

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