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Montana Gun Laws

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
Current as of Jan 2021

I found this format from another state forum and liked the summary of information. I decided to copy it and adjust it to Montana laws. I'll expand it as time allows.

All information contained in this post and all linked documents are to be used ONLY as a starting point to the laws and not as legal advice. It is impossible to cite every law that we, as responsible citizens who carry firearms, may need to know. Always check everything found on the internet for correctness and always check Federal, State, and Local laws.

Montana state's constitution protects the "right of any person to keep and bear arms"[+]. Montana has a statewide preemptive law against local regulations of firearms, so ALL of Montana's gun laws should be the same. Local governments can, however, regulate the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction or school[+].

CARRY/OWN

[..] Permit to own: No

[+]45-8-321 Permit to carry: Not openly

[+]45-8-344 Minimum age to OC: 14

[..] Loaded Carry: Yes. "Loaded" is not defined in Montana code. "Loaded" is never referenced in Montana code either.

[..] Minimum age to own a firearm: 18

[..] Registration of firearms: No

[..] Person to Person sale: Legal as long as they can legally own the firearm AND it is an instate sale (MT citizen selling to a MT citizen in MT). Background check is not required.

[..] Transport: Rifle - Unloaded. Pistol - Loaded or unloaded. In plain view or in any compartment.

[+]45-3-103 Castle Law: Yes

[+]45-3-110 Duty to retreat: No

[..] Must inform: No

[+]45-8-213 Record police: Yes, one party consent with notification (c)(iii). Notification may not be required for public officials (c)(i).

[+]45-8-328 Carrying in a bar: Yes, openly carried only.

[+]45-8-328 Restaurant carry (as opposed to a bar): Yes. Openly carried only if the establishment serves alcohol.

[+]45-6-201 Signs having weight of law: No. You may be asked to leave and be trespassed if you do not leave.

[..] Able to keep firearms at work: Not statutorily prohibited or protected. Check your employee handbook or policies.

[+]45-8-361 Firearms at school(k-12): Outside of school buildings.

[+]45-8-360 Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act Exemption: Yes, individual licensure for individuals who is lawfully able to own or to possess a firearm under the Montana constitution.

[+]45-8-351 Restriction on local government regulation of firearms/State Preemption: Yes. Local government can only regulate the discharge the firearms and prevent or suppress the carrying of unpermitted concealed weapons or the carrying of unconcealed weapons to a publicly owned and occupied building under its jurisdiction.

CONCEAL CARRY

[+]45-8-321 Permit to carry concealed: Yes, within city limits. No, permit required outside of city limits.

[+]45-8-317 Constitutional Carry: No, within city limits. Yes, outside of city limits.

[..] Does the permit cover more than just guns: Yes, knives over 4 inches, dirks, daggers, etc. See Legal to carry below.

[+]45-8-321 Minimum age to apply for a CWP: 18

[+]45-8-317 Legal to carry concealed: Any dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife having a blade 4 inches long or longer, razor or other deadly weapon.

[+]45-8-315 Can I conceal in a briefcase, purse, backpack or glove box: Yes, without a permit. Concealed is defined as "wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel".

[..] Must inform: No

[+]45-8-329 Other state conceal permits: Accepted if permit in immediate possession AND photo identification is provided. State must require background check prior to issuance.

[+]MT DOJ States that MT honor: AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IL, IO, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NK, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

[..] Printing: Not statutorily prohibited.

[..] Transport: With a permit you can have it anywhere in the vehicle, including on your person concealed.

[+]45-8-328 Places you cannot legally conceal: Public buildings used for state or local government offices. Bank, Credit Union or similar institution (Not including branch offices in shared areas such as a store or mall). A room in which alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed. [+] A Train.

[+]45-8-317 Required to provide CWP to LEO: Not statutorily required. Only required to be issued a permit for the exception to apply.

Misc Notes

[+] 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.

[..] National Parks in Montana are governed by Montana state laws with regard to concealed or open carry of weapons. You still can not carry into federal buildings (visitor stations, ranger stations, etc.).

Misc Laws

[+]45-7-302 Obstructing: A person commits the offense of obstructing a peace officer or public servant if the person knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the enforcement of the criminal law, the preservation of the peace, or the performance of a governmental function, including service of process.

[+]45-8-101 Disorderly Conduct: A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if the person knowingly disturbs the peace by:
(a) quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting;
(b) making loud or unusual noises;
(c) using threatening, profane, or abusive language;
(d) rendering vehicular or pedestrian traffic impassable;
(e) rendering the free ingress or egress to public or private places impassable;
(f) disturbing or disrupting any lawful assembly or public meeting;
(g) transmitting a false report or warning of a fire or other catastrophe in a place where its occurrence would endanger human life;
(h) creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose; or
(i) transmitting a false report or warning of an impending explosion in a place where its occurrence would endanger human life.

[+]45-6-203 Criminal Trespass: A person commits the offense of criminal trespass to property if the person knowingly:
(a) enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure; or
(b) enters or remains unlawfully in or upon the premises of another.

Court Cases / Opinions

Investigating.

Documents

Currently None.

Common acronyms

CC- Concealed Carry
CWP- Concealed Weapon Permit
DC- Disorderly Conduct
LAC- Law abiding Citizen
LEA- Law Enforcement Agency
LEO- Law Enforcement Officer
FGFSZA- Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act
LR- Long Rifle
NFA-National Firearm Act
OC- Open Carry
OCDO- opencarry.org (Open Carry Dot Org)
P2P- Person to Person
RAS-Reasonable Articulable Suspicion
RKBA- Right to Keep and Bear Arms
SHTF- Sh!t Hit the fan


Please post something if I missed it, or if I have incorrect information/cites.
 
Last edited:

mikeyb

Regular Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
554
Location
Bothell
This is a great synopsis of Montana law. You did good Slap.

Being as this was a 2015 post, has anything changed?

What timing MSG. As I'm heading out for Big Sky Country soon, I've been checking laws, but I haven't found anything that's changed. Sadly the MT gov'r hasn't passed any gun-friendly legislation over the past few years.
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
Post is current.

Unfortunately, no new expansion of rights in the last 2 legislative sessions due to governor[D] veto's.
 

Tucker6900

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
1,276
Location
Iowa, USA
Howdy folks,
A friend and I will be headed to Glacier in June 2020. After reading through the laws here, it doesn't say anything about non resident carry. Is it safe to assume that the state laws apply the same to non residents? Thanks in advanced.
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
Howdy folks,
A friend and I will be headed to Glacier in June 2020. After reading through the laws here, it doesn't say anything about non resident carry. Is it safe to assume that the state laws apply the same to non residents? Thanks in advanced.
Non-resident carry is the same. However, MT will not issue non-resident concealed weapons permits.

I have carried in Glacier many times, no issue. Just be aware that it's a federal park and areas such as staffed visitor centers and historic buildings/lodges are considered federal buildings and are off limits. In Glacier, the doors are posted as required by federal law.

-slap
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
Updated with changes regarding LR-130. Restriction on local government regulation of firearms/State Preemption.

I will be updating again once HB102 is signed by the governor and asking John to update the opencarry.org site details for Montana (Permitless carry maps and other applicable changes related to HB102 and LR-130).
 

solus

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
9,174
Location
here nc
Updated with changes regarding LR-130. Restriction on local government regulation of firearms/State Preemption.

I will be updating again once HB102 is signed by the governor and asking John to update the opencarry.org site details for Montana (Permitless carry maps and other applicable changes related to HB102 and LR-130).

updated...whats being updated Slapmonkey?

[to review so forum members are on the same sheet of legislature, quote:
LR-130 removed local governments’ power to regulate the carrying of permitted concealed weapons. The ballot measure continued to allow local governments to regulate unpermitted concealed weapons and unconcealed weapons in public occupied buildings. LR-130 also removed local governments’ power to regulate the possession of firearms by “convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors.” As of 2020, state law provides that local governments can regulate concealed or unconcealed weapons in public buildings, parks, and schools. The amendment took effect January 1, 2021. unquote.]

[getting popcorn and adult beverage while awaiting to see the changes to any of the OCDO maps]
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
LR-130 removed certain specific abilities of local governments from regulating carry within their jurisdictions. They used to be able to regulate carry at parks, schools, public assemblies and public buildings. Now as of Jan 1 2021, local governments may only regulate carry within publicly owned and occupied buildings within their jurisdictions.

Additionally, HB102 of the current legislative session has passed both the state house and state senate and will be working its way to the governor who has already signaled his acceptance of the bill. This bill does some of the following:

  1. Officially makes Montana a 100% permitless carry state (constitutional carry). Previously, MT was permitless only outside of an incorporated city.
  2. Enables Campus Carry. Restricts the board of regents of the university system from restricting 2nd amendment rights with exceptions. Previously, while there were no state statutory restrictions on campus carry, the board of regents could and did enact rules and policies restricting 2nd amendment rights.
  3. Enables concealed carry in many locations that were already permitted for open carry but were explicitly restricted for conceal carry. (Such as restaurant and bar carry)
  4. Repeals a MCA section regarding carrying on trains
  5. Adds a section regarding remedy for violations of deprivations of rights against any governmental entity.

I am currently working on updated documentation regarding HB102 for the sticky and opencarry.org, so that its ready for when the governor signs the bill. The new documentation will have information regarding Open Carry, Conceal Carry with permit and Conceal Carry without permit.
 

color of law

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
5,725
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
"A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction,or school."

As long as you allow your government to regulate your rights on public property you have no rights.
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
"A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction,or school."

As long as you allow your government to regulate your rights on public property you have no rights.


That is the old language before LR-130.


New:
A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of unpermitted concealed weapons or the carrying of unconcealed weapons to a publicly owned and occupied building under its jurisdiction.
 

OC for ME

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
12,453
Location
White Oak Plantation
A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of unpermitted concealed weapons or the carrying of unconcealed weapons to a publicly owned and occupied building under its jurisdiction.
...prevent and suppress? How will this be enforced...

...to a? What does this mean. Not "in to a"..."to a"...

Can the government prevent and suppress you from leaving your property when OCing?

Can the government prevent and suppress you from leaving your property if they receive a "anonymous tip" that you are engaged in unpermitted CC...you have the possibility of going to a government building that is occupied?

If we consider the plain meaning of existing...the implications are too...well, can the government confiscate your firearms...to prevent them from existing...by you?...to suppress the possibility of a unspecified future criminal act?

The language permits a local cop to use "reasonable force" to prevent the exercise of your 2A in MT.
Definition of prevent | transitive verb : 1 : to keep from happening or existing

The language permits a local cop to use "reasonable force" to suppress the exercise of your 2A in MT.
Definition of suppress | transitive verb : 1 : to put down by authority or force

It seems that my kudos may have been premature...
 

solus

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
9,174
Location
here nc
Oc for me forgive but i didn't do a comparison against your post and the final version of house/senate bill passed, allegedly awaiting the Governor's signature official version listed here: https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billpdf/HB0102.pdf

major thrust i saw was towards carry on university...

confused over the excitement of HB 102 since the passed ballot LC-130 eff 1 Jan 2021, states: "The ballot measure continued to allow local governments to regulate unpermitted concealed weapons and unconcealed weapons in public occupied buildings.

hummmm local government can regulate PUBLIC "occupied" buildings, uh is that bars, restaurants, theaters, lowes, walmart/sam's, etc., type public? As public means to this member - retail private property [not governmental controlled property] enterprises who are open to serve the citizens of the community!
So we're all pleased and calling this "constitutional carry" as the citizens passed a ballot measure allowing their local overseers to "REGULATE" the citizens carry, OC/CC, within the communities' public establishments.

what am i missing in the celebration?
 

slapmonkay

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
1,309
Location
Montana
Oc for me forgive but i didn't do a comparison against your post and the final version of house/senate bill passed, allegedly awaiting the Governor's signature official version listed here: https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billpdf/HB0102.pdf

major thrust i saw was towards carry on university...

confused over the excitement of HB 102 since the passed ballot LC-130 eff 1 Jan 2021, states: "The ballot measure continued to allow local governments to regulate unpermitted concealed weapons and unconcealed weapons in public occupied buildings.

hummmm local government can regulate PUBLIC "occupied" buildings, uh is that bars, restaurants, theaters, lowes, walmart/sam's, etc., type public? As public means to this member - retail private property [not governmental controlled property] enterprises who are open to serve the citizens of the community!
So we're all pleased and calling this "constitutional carry" as the citizens passed a ballot measure allowing their local overseers to "REGULATE" the citizens carry, OC/CC, within the communities' public establishments.

what am i missing in the celebration?

The text you pasted above from LR-130 is incorrect. The actual language states:
a publicly owned and occupied building under its jurisdiction.
MCA 45-8-351 Link

Therefore, its not 'public occupied buildings', its restricted to publicly 'owned and occupied'. A bar, restaurant or theater is not typically publicly owned but privately owned.
 
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