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Thread: Montana State Law Summary

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    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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/3/45-3-111.htm

    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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-351.htm

    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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-344.htm (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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-316.htm 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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-317.htm

    The Montana Attorney General’s Web Site states the following: Montana has no prohibitions against carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle. http://doj.mt.gov/enforcement/concealed-weapons/

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

    MCA 45-8-328 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-328.htm 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 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-361.htm states that even with a CCW you may not carry concealed in school building (LEOs exempt)

    MCA 45-8-339 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-339.htm 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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    Campaign Veteran slapmonkay's Avatar
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    Looks pretty good. I would put the definition of consealed further up (seems to be one of the last conceal items you mention). Also, we all know drinking and guns are bad but in MT there are teeth, http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-327.htm

    I am also thinking you should call out the FEDERAL under 18 carry statue for 14 to 18. One of the main things is they are required to have a written note by a parent in there immediate possession. I call out the statue in another thread.

    BTW, happy new year.
    Last edited by slapmonkay; 01-01-2012 at 12:22 PM.
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

    It's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it. - George Carlin

    I carry a spare tire, in case I have a flat. I carry life insurance, in case I die. I carry a gun, in case I need it.

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    Thanks for the feedback. That is good info. I have updated my reference notes as follows:

    You only need to be 14 years old to open carry according to Montana state law. If a minor less than 14 wishes to open carry they must be accompanied by an adult who is the child’s guardian or who has been authorized by the child’s guardian to supervise the child. MCA 45-8-344 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-344.htm Nevertheless, Federal law still applies and states that possession of handguns by Juveniles (anyone less than 18 years of age) is generally unlawful. Juveniles generally may only receive and possess handguns with the written permission of a parent or guardian for limited purposes, such as ranching, farming, target practice or hunting. 18 U.S.C. 922(x)

    MCA 45-8-327. http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-327.htm States carrying concealed weapon while under the influence of an intoxicating substance is a misdemeanor.

    And happy new year to you as well.

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up

    I'm so glad you posted this and that it's a sticky post. We see so many questions on these issues here in the Montana forum, and this will save the effort of repeating it so many times!

    Thanks!

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    Please add citation

    Hello MT Fisherman,

    Please add a citation to this paragraph:

    "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.)"

    Here is the citation: http://www.nps.gov/policy/section512.pdf

    This is a really good thread, thanks.

    I spent about two hours searching MCA (Montana Code Annotated) searching for the answers you have here. I should have come here first!

    I will be in Glacier NP and on the Flathead NF next July.

    thanks,

    markm

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    I don't agree with your opnion on this point!

    Hello MT Fisherman,

    You wrote:

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


    The term "...wearing apparel..." means purse or handbag, in my opinion. Do you know of Montana case law that proves otherwise? If so, please cite.

    I am hazarding a guess that a brief case would not be covered under "...wearing apparel.."

    thanks,

    markm

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    Campaign Veteran slapmonkay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBofRAdvocate View Post
    Hello MT Fisherman,

    You wrote:

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


    The term "...wearing apparel..." means purse or handbag, in my opinion. Do you know of Montana case law that proves otherwise? If so, please cite.

    I am hazarding a guess that a brief case would not be covered under "...wearing apparel.."

    thanks,

    markm
    I had looked this up at one point, ill see if I can't find my notes.

    The legal definition from United States Code clearly only includes clothes, costumes or other fabric for wearing purpose.

    In my opinion this definition does not include purse. If I remember correctly, MT law sees a purse or briefcase as luggage.

    http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/art...aring-apparel/
    Last edited by slapmonkay; 03-26-2012 at 10:25 PM.
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

    It's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it. - George Carlin

    I carry a spare tire, in case I have a flat. I carry life insurance, in case I die. I carry a gun, in case I need it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapmonkay View Post
    I had looked this up at one point, ill see if I can't find my notes.

    The legal definition from United States Code clearly only includes clothes, costumes or other fabric for wearing purpose.

    In my opinion this definition does not include purse. If I remember correctly, MT law sees a purse or briefcase as luggage.

    http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/art...aring-apparel/
    I would imagine that a fanny pack would be considered as worn so would be a form of concealed carry.
    Do you read it that way too?
    Lets Unite and REMIND our Government that WE are the source of their authority and that WE demand our Rights be returned, Unabridged, Non-infringed, without denial or disparagement. The faults of a few, reflect badly on many, I will not Support WAC H&K USP .40

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    Quote Originally Posted by LkWd_Don View Post
    I would imagine that a fanny pack would be considered as worn so would be a form of concealed carry.
    Do you read it that way too?
    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    I agree that a fanny pack would be considered worn and as such any weapon inside would be considered concealed. I can't see how a briefcase or purse carried in the hand could be construed as being worn. Perhaps if the purse was slung across the shoulder someone could make the case that it is being worn.

    As far as case law on the "wearing apparel" debate, I am not aware of any. However there are some statements by County Attorneys in Montana that support my position. The following is an excerpt from an article in the local Billings paper:

    "There's been some debate surrounding guns in a woman's purse. Is a purse luggage? Or is it "wearing apparel"? If a purse is luggage, then a gun concealed inside would seem to be legal, he said. But if a purse is considered "wearing apparel," then hiding a gun in one would be against the law. The issue is unresolved, but three county attorneys in the state have weighed in on the debate. 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 is Mike McGrath, now the state's attorney general and a candidate for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court.)"

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/stat...464d52afc.html

    Also Gary Marbut who is the author of a book on Montana gun laws http://www.mtpublish.com/mp/#abtauth and the author of many of Montana's firearm laws has stated CC in a backpack or briefcases is lawful in MT . Mr. Marbut has been appointed to the Governor's Concealed Weapon Advisory Council by two different governors.

    Even though none of that stuff I just mentioned constitutes case law, I would feel confident in saying that carrying a weapon in a briefcase inside the limits of a Montana city without a CCW would be considered lawful by the Montana legal system. (not that I am an attorney, just my interpretation from what I have researched)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBofRAdvocate View Post
    Hello MT Fisherman,

    Please add a citation to this paragraph:

    "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.)"

    Here is the citation: http://www.nps.gov/policy/section512.pdf

    This is a really good thread, thanks.

    I spent about two hours searching MCA (Montana Code Annotated) searching for the answers you have here. I should have come here first!

    I will be in Glacier NP and on the Flathead NF next July.

    thanks,

    markm

    Thanks I will add that to my notes.

    Enjoy Glacier and the Flathead!

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    Regular Member LkWd_Don's Avatar
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    I am thankful to everyone who has posted such good info here. My wife and I are in the process of buying a 40 acre parcel outside of Miles City and will be moving there as soon as we can, So any and all info is appreciated.
    Thank you again,
    Don
    Last edited by LkWd_Don; 04-15-2012 at 10:38 PM.
    Lets Unite and REMIND our Government that WE are the source of their authority and that WE demand our Rights be returned, Unabridged, Non-infringed, without denial or disparagement. The faults of a few, reflect badly on many, I will not Support WAC H&K USP .40

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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Fisherman View Post
    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    I agree that a fanny pack would be considered worn and as such any weapon inside would be considered concealed. I can't see how a briefcase or purse carried in the hand could be construed as being worn. Perhaps if the purse was slung across the shoulder someone could make the case that it is being worn.

    As far as case law on the "wearing apparel" debate, I am not aware of any. However there are some statements by County Attorneys in Montana that support my position. The following is an excerpt from an article in the local Billings paper:

    "There's been some debate surrounding guns in a woman's purse. Is a purse luggage? Or is it "wearing apparel"? If a purse is luggage, then a gun concealed inside would seem to be legal, he said. But if a purse is considered "wearing apparel," then hiding a gun in one would be against the law. The issue is unresolved, but three county attorneys in the state have weighed in on the debate. 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 is Mike McGrath, now the state's attorney general and a candidate for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court.)"

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/stat...464d52afc.html

    Also Gary Marbut who is the author of a book on Montana gun laws http://www.mtpublish.com/mp/#abtauth and the author of many of Montana's firearm laws has stated CC in a backpack or briefcases is lawful in MT . Mr. Marbut has been appointed to the Governor's Concealed Weapon Advisory Council by two different governors.

    Even though none of that stuff I just mentioned constitutes case law, I would feel confident in saying that carrying a weapon in a briefcase inside the limits of a Montana city without a CCW would be considered lawful by the Montana legal system. (not that I am an attorney, just my interpretation from what I have researched)
    Hello MT Fisherman,

    Thank you for your response. You have backed-up your opinion with good citations. I am now confidently leaning towards your opinion (case law would remove all caution on my part). Case law is the best assurrance; however, lacking case law, your citations are the best we will get.

    thanks,

    markm

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    Quote Originally Posted by LkWd_Don View Post
    I am thankful to everyone who has posted such good info here. My wife and I are in the process of buying a 40 acre parcel outside of Miles City and will be moving there as soon as we can, So any and all info is appreciated.
    Thank you again,
    Don

    Hello Don,

    I am very jealous of you. My wife and I are planning our escape from the collectivist state of Kalifornia--where individual rights are sacrificed for the greater good of the collective.

    Living under a bureaucratic tyranny is horrible.

    We can't wait to move to a state where private property rights and individual civil liberties are strongly supported. Montana Rocks!

    markm

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBofRAdvocate View Post
    Hello Don,

    I am very jealous of you. My wife and I are planning our escape from the collectivist state of Kalifornia--where individual rights are sacrificed for the greater good of the collective.

    Living under a bureaucratic tyranny is horrible.

    We can't wait to move to a state where private property rights and individual civil liberties are strongly supported. Montana Rocks!

    markm
    LOL Hey now.. you are putting down the country of my birth er.. I mean place of my birth.. LOL No, really.. I was born and raised in California and still consider California to be a good place to be from... Far away from.. LOL

    If you think that 40 acres of fairly flat open-range type property for $30K is too expensive for you. Then my Wife and I will wish you the best and pray that the division of California into that which is liberal and that which is conservatively progressive becomes a reality. At least then there will not be 55 electoral votes all for one candidate.
    Lets Unite and REMIND our Government that WE are the source of their authority and that WE demand our Rights be returned, Unabridged, Non-infringed, without denial or disparagement. The faults of a few, reflect badly on many, I will not Support WAC H&K USP .40

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBofRAdvocate View Post
    Hello MT Fisherman,

    You wrote:

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


    The term "...wearing apparel..." means purse or handbag, in my opinion. Do you know of Montana case law that proves otherwise? If so, please cite.

    I am hazarding a guess that a brief case would not be covered under "...wearing apparel.."

    thanks,

    markm
    I'm coming into this subject a ways into it and a bit late, but according to the Montana Attorney General's office, if you talk to a gentleman by the name of C. Mark Fowler, purses, handbags, fanny packs, backpacks and the like are considered 'luggage' and do not constitute wearing apparel. Therefore they do not fall under the necessity for a concealed weapons permit!

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    open carry bars banks

    MCA 45-8-328 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-328.htm 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.)

    Where did you find the part (However anyone is allowed to open carry in banks and bars in Montana.) i would really like to know becues if so i would do it all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kc2jmn View Post
    MCA 45-8-328 http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/8/45-8-328.htm 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.)

    Where did you find the part (However anyone is allowed to open carry in banks and bars in Montana.) i would really like to know becues if so i would do it all the time.
    MCA 45-8-328 is titled Carrying concealed weapon in prohibited place. This section is specifically related to the act of carrying concealed. There is not A duplicate law in regards to open carry. Therefore, since there is no law prohibiting the OPEN carry of firearms into these areas, they are legal.

    I open carry in to banks and restaurants all the time in MT. I have open carried into a bar once also, I typically don't because firearms and alcohol do not mix. Keep in mind, MT does have a law regarding alcohol consumption and firearm possession.

    Quote Originally Posted by MCA 45-8-327
    45-8-327. Carrying concealed weapon while under influence. A person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence if the person purposely or knowingly carries a concealed weapon while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. It is not a defense that the person had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. A person convicted of the offense shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or be fined an amount not to exceed $500, or both.
    Last edited by slapmonkay; 07-25-2012 at 06:22 PM.
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

    It's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it. - George Carlin

    I carry a spare tire, in case I have a flat. I carry life insurance, in case I die. I carry a gun, in case I need it.

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    thanks for an excellent thread.

    I'm pretty sure my NV ccw is valid in Montana, right? and that carrying in nat forest is ok both CC and OC?

    I may be going to Montana next yr for a large hippie campout called "The Rainbow Tribal Gathering" - not sure where exactly yet but they're always held in national forest. I am thinking about trying to organize some OC & other gun folk to attend - A lot of New York'ers and californians attend and they need to see people exercising their rights.
    Some of them think that they can prohibit people from carrying, but it would make for interesting conversations if they tried telling westerners where they can and cant carry in the woods!
    Last edited by chrsjhnsn; 08-06-2012 at 10:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrsjhnsn View Post
    I'm pretty sure my NV ccw is valid in Montana, right? and that carrying in nat forest is ok both CC and OC?
    a) MT does honor NV permits (cite: handgunlaw.us)
    b) State and Nat Forest Carry is OK (cite: handgunlaw.us)
    c) Permit is only required to conceal a firearm when concealed within a city limits or town, other exceptions available (Cite: MCA 45-8-317). Concealed is defined only as clothing or wearing apearl (cite: MCA 45-8-315.
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

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    Does MT honor a NH pistol/revolver license?

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    Quote Originally Posted by doobie View Post
    Does MT honor a NH pistol/revolver license?
    No, MT does not have agreement for repository with NH.
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

    It's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it. - George Carlin

    I carry a spare tire, in case I have a flat. I carry life insurance, in case I die. I carry a gun, in case I need it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapmonkay View Post
    No, MT does not have agreement for repository with NH.
    Yuck, I was hoping it did.... I am going to be heading to glacier national park....but it sounds like I can have it in the car or a backpack; just not covered by clothing or within town/cities?

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    Quote Originally Posted by doobie View Post
    Yuck, I was hoping it did.... I am going to be heading to glacier national park....but it sounds like I can have it in the car or a backpack; just not covered by clothing or within town/cities?
    You will only need the concealed license/permit if you plan on concealing on your person with wearing apearl. And then so, only while within a city or town limits. In this scenario, you could OC. Car/glovebox carry does not require a concealed license/permit.
    Last edited by slapmonkay; 09-25-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca Patriot View Post
    how long is the waiting period for gun purchases in montana ?
    MT state does not impose a waiting period however federal imposed waiting period does apply (18 U.S.C. 921 through 925A).

    You are exempt from the waiting period if you have a concealed weapons permit. MCA 45-8-330
    I Am Not A Lawyer, verify all facts presented independently.

    It's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it. - George Carlin

    I carry a spare tire, in case I have a flat. I carry life insurance, in case I die. I carry a gun, in case I need it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca Patriot View Post
    how long is the waiting period for gun purchases in montana ?
    I am going to assume that you are asking if it is similar to the California 3 day wait? In Montana, you go in, fill out the form, wait for the form to be processed, and if there are no problems, walk out with your weapon of choice. If you have a Montana CCW, they do no do the NICS check. Normal time for me is 40 minutes or so from the time I walk in till I leave.

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