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  1. #1
    Regular Member
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    Dec 2011

    Montana State Law Summary

    I decided to make myself some notes summarizing the weapons laws of Montana. I put this into a text doc that I keep on my phone in case I may wish to refer to it while I am out and about. I would be grateful to get any feedback on my notes. Also please let me know if I have misinterpreted any of the laws below. Thanks.

    Montana Gun Laws Reference Notes

    Open Carry

    Montana is an open carry state. That means that most anyone who can legally own a firearm can carry it unconcealed anywhere in Montana with only a few exceptions like schools and federal buildings. Montana expressly permits drawing or presenting a weapon to an aggressor threatening bodily harm. MCA 45-3-111

    Localities are substantially preempted, but have limited power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction, or schools. MCA 45-8-351

    You only need to be 14 years old to open carry in Montana. If a minor under 14 wishes to open carry they must be accompanied by an adult who is the child’s parent or guardian or who has been authorized by the child’s guardian to supervise the child. MCA 45-8-344 (Federal law still applies)

    Concealed Carry

    The restriction on concealed carry in Montana only applies when you are within a city or town’s limits. Anyone can carry concealed in Montana without a permit when outside city or town limits, on their property or at their place of business.

    MCA 45-8-316 through 45-8-317 states it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon in Montana. Unless you are outside of a city or town limits, you are an LEO, you have a CCW permit or you are at your home or place of business. Also anyone who is lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, and certain other outdoor activities may carry concealed weapons. MCA 45-8-317

    The Montana Attorney General’s Web Site states the following: Montana has no prohibitions against carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle.

    You can carry a loaded handgun or other weapon inside your vehicle, (including in the glove box or console) without any type of permit or license within cities and towns and it is not considered concealed.

    You can carry a weapon in a briefcase or purse while in the cities and towns in Montana and it is not considered concealed. This is because the definition of concealed in Montana state law is: wholly or partially covered by clothing or wearing apparel MCA 45-8-315

    MCA 45-8-328 states that even with a CCW you may not carry concealed in a federal, state or local government office, in a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol or inside a bank . There is no LEO exception but LEOSA overrides this statue for qualified officers and allows them to carry concealed firearms in banks and restaurants. (However anyone is allowed to open carry in banks and bars in Montana.)

    MCA 45-8-361 states that even with a CCW you may not carry concealed in school building (LEOs exempt)

    MCA 45-8-339 states that even with a CCW you may not carry concealed on a train. (LEOs exempt)

    National Parks in Montana are now governed by Montana state laws with regard to concealed or open carriage of weapons. However you still can not carry into federal buildings (visitor stations, ranger stations, etc. in the parks.)

    There is no requirement in Montana to inform an officer who stops you that you are carrying a concealed weapon.
    Knives and Other

    Knives 4 inches in length or longer are considered weapons by Montana state law. Having a 4 inch folding knife in your pocket with the clip on the outside of the pocket would be considered carrying a concealed weapon. (LEOs exempt)

    The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) only authorizes carrying "a concealed firearm" not knives or other weapons.

    Montana has no laws whatsoever restricting chemical agents (OC) or electronic control devices (Taser).
    Last edited by MT Fisherman; 12-31-2011 at 10:33 PM.

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