Montana State Seal

Montana

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Carry allowed with my Montana permit?
No
Yes
Yes, Permitless Carry
Yes, Selected State
53k
Permits Issued
44
STATES HONORED
34
RECIPROCATING STATES
1.1M
STATE POPULATION
18
MINIMUM AGE TO CC
4
ATTORNEYS IN USCCA NETWORK
4.82%
PERMIT PERCENTAGE
4
YEARS PERMIT VALID
26
USCCA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Summary of Montana Gun Laws

Montana is a shall-issue state, with concealed weapons permits processed on a local level by the county sheriff’s office.

No permit is needed to purchase a firearm from a private individual, there is no waiting period, and there is no firearms registration in the state. A background check is required for private sales in the city of Missoula only. Background checks are required if you’re purchasing a handgun from a Federal Firearms Dealer, with the exception of Montana Concealed Weapons Permit holders. 

Open carry is legal in Montana for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm with several restrictions. The federal minimum age is 18 years old, although 14-year-olds can handle a firearm under direct supervision of a parent or guardian. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and federal buildings. 

Concealed carry without a permit is legal outside the official boundaries of towns or cities or the confines of logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camps and while engaged in any of the following activities:, fishing, hunting, hiking, farming or backpacking. A permit is required to carry concealed in towns, cities, and logging, mining or railroad camps. Although Montana doesn’t require firearms safety training, an applicant for a Montana Concealed Weapons Permit (MCWP) must demonstrate “familiarity with a firearm.” Montana does not issue permits to non-residents. Local municipalities can prohibit concealed carry at public assemblies, publicly owned buildings and parks under their jurisdiction. As of 10/15/2018, the city of Missoula banned firearms at all polling places, schools, parks, museums, libraries and the city council chambers. In terms of reciprocity, Montana recognizes permits from states that require criminal records background checks.

Montana is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. The law applies in an occupied structure, personal property lawfully in the person’s possession or in the possession of another who is a member of the person’s immediate family or household or of a person whose property the person has a legal duty to protect. A person who is lawfully in a place or location and who is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life has no duty to retreat from a threat or to summon law enforcement assistance prior to using force.

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Montana Gun Laws at a Glance

Open Carry/ Concealed Carry Basics

Constitutional Carry?

Does Montana allow constitutional carry?

No. Montana does not allow constitutional carry.

Open Carry Permitted?

Is open carry permitted in Montana?

Yes, open carry is allowed without a permit. Any person who is at least 18 years old and who is legally entitled to carry a firearm can open carry.

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-3-111]

Gun Permit Licensure?

If Montana requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?

Montana is a shall-issue state.

Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?

What is the minimum age in Montana to get a concealed carry permit?

You must be at least 18 years old to get a concealed carry permit in Montana.

Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Montana with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?

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.

[Montana code § 45-8-315]

Tasers or Stun Guns?

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Montana?

Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit in Montana.

Non-Resident Permitting?

Does Montana issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?

No. Montana does not issue concealed carry permits to non-residents.

Public Access to Concealed Carry Registry?

Does Montana allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No. The public cannot access concealed carry registry information through public records law in the state of Montana.

Carry Locations

Carry in Vehicle?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle in Montana?

Yes, anywhere with a valid concealed carry permit or outside of cities or towns without a permit. Open carry is legal without a permit.

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-317]

Carry at Roadside Rest Areas?

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Montana?

Yes. Carrying a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas is allowed in Montana.

Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in Montana?

Yes, concealed carry is permitted in these areas in Montana with a valid concealed carry permit.

[Admin. Rules Mont § 12.8.202]

[DNRC use on State Lands

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol?

Can you carry a firearm in restaurants that serve alcohol in Montana?

No for concealed carry. Yes for open carry (however, you must not be under the influence).

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-328]

Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?

Does Montana have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot is not addressed in Montana state law.

Additional Related State Laws

Must Notify Officer You're Carrying?

Are you required to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Montana?

No, but out-of-state permit holders must be carrying permit and ID.

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-329]

Magazine Limits for Handguns?

Does Montana have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No, Montana does not limit magazine capacity for handguns.

Ammunition Restrictions?

Does Montana have ammunition restrictions?

No. Montana does not place restrictions on ammunition.

"No Weapons Allowed" Signs Enforced?

Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Montana? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No. "No Weapons Allowed" signs are not enforced in Montana.

Preemption?

Does Montana have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes.

The authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state. A city or town may:

  • Adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within its boundaries, under most circumstances;
  • Regulate the discharge of rifles, shotguns and handguns;
  • Prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction, or school; and
  • Prevent and suppress the possession of firearms by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens and minors.

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-351]

Red-Flag Law?

Does Montana have a red-flag law?

No. Montana does not have a red-flag law.

Carry While Using Alcohol or Prescription Medication in Montana?

Does Montana have laws regarding carrying a firearm while using alcohol or prescription medication?

Yes, but not while under the influence in Montana.

[Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-327]

As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgment, slow your reaction times or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.

Handgun Purchase & Possession

Purchase Permits?

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Montana?

No, a permit is not required to purchase a handgun in Montana.

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Montana?

No. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.

Waiting Period?

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Montana?

A person possessing a concealed weapon permit is considered to have a permit constituting completion of the background check required by 18 U.S.C. 921 through 925A and is exempt from that Act's 5-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun.

Handgun Registration?

Do handguns need to be registered in Montana?

No, handgun registration is not required in Montana.

Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Montana?

14 years old. It is unlawful for a parent, guardian or other person having charge or custody of a minor child under the age of 14 years to permit the minor child to carry or use in public any firearms, except when the child is accompanied by a person having charge or custody of the child or under the supervision of a qualified firearms safety instructor or an adult who has been authorized by the parent or guardian.

[MCA § 45-8-344]

Carry While Hunting

Carry While Gun Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Montana?

Yes. You may carry a concealed weapon without a CWP while lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, or other outdoor activity in which weapons are often carried for recreation or protection.

[Dept of Justice FAQ]

Carry While Bow Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while bowhunting in Montana?

Yes.

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State Constitutional Provision
The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons."
ARTICLE 2, § 12

Montana Concealed Carry Reciprocity With Other States

Which states' permits does Montana honor?

Montana recognizes concealed weapons permits from some other states. A non-resident must meet the following criteria to carry a concealed weapon in Montana:

  • The state that issued his or her permit must require a criminal records background check before issuing a permit.
  • The permit must be in the holder’s possession.
  • The permit holder must have photo identification.

People who hold permits from the following states may not carry concealed weapons in Montana because their state laws do not expressly require background checks of permit applicants: Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.


Other States' Reciprocity With Montana

Which states honor permits from Montana?

Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.


States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with Montana

Colorado (at least 21 years old)
Florida (at least 21 years old)
Georgia (at least 21 years old)
Idaho (at least 21 years old)
Iowa (at least 21 years old)
Louisiana (at least 21 years old)
Michigan (at least 21 years old)
Nebraska (at least 21 years old)
Nevada (at least 21 years old)
North Carolina (at least 21 years old)
Ohio (at least 21 years old)
Oklahoma (at least 21 years old)
Pennsylvania (at least 21 years old)
Tennessee (at least 21 years old)
Texas (at least 21 years old)
Utah (at least 21 years old)
Virginia (at least 21 years old)
Wisconsin (at least 21 years old)
Wyoming (at least 21 years old)

Permitless Carry States

Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.

Arizona (if at least 21 years old)
Alaska (if at least 21 years old)
Arkansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kentucky (at least 21 years old)
Maine (if at least 21 years old)
Mississippi (if at least 21 years old)
Missouri (if at least 19 years old)
New Hampshire (if at least 18 years old)
South Dakota (if at least 18 years old)
Vermont (if at least 18 years old)
West Virginia (if at least 21 years old)

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Montana Concealed Carry Permit Information

Requirements:

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Have been a Montana resident for 6 months;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a firearm;
  • Have a valid form of photo ID issued by the state, such as a driver's license; and
  • Must meet federal law requirements.
Fees:

Initial Permit  $60

Renewals  $25

Valid For:

4 years

Processing Time:

60 days

Application:

Check online for your county sheriff’s office. Some have them available for download.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permits:

Montana doesn’t issue permits to non-residents.

Name/Address Changes:

A permittee who changes his or her county of residence shall, within 10 days of the change, inform the sheriffs of both the old and new counties of residence. If the person's residence changes either from or to a city or town with a police force, the person shall also inform the chief of police.

Contact the sheriff's office in your county for information on name changes.

Lost/Stolen Permits:

Lost permits are treated as renewals, and each county establishes its own guidelines. Contact the sheriff's office in your county for information.


Montana Concealed Carry Permit Application Process

How to Apply for a Montana Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

Complete a firearms training course, if required.

Step 2:

Download the application online or pick up from your local sheriff's office.

Step 3:

Take your application to your local sheriff's office. You will need the following:

  • Three completed and signed reference forms;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Certificate from firearms course

You will be fingerprinted.

Step 4:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Firearms Training Requirements in Montana

One of the following is required in order to demonstrate “familiarity with a firearm:”

  • Completion of a hunter education or safety course approved or conducted by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) or a similar agency of another state;
  • Completion of a firearms safety or training course approved or conducted by the FWP, a similar agency of another state, a national firearms association, a law enforcement agency, an institution of higher education or an organization that uses instructors certified by a national firearms association;
  • Completion of a law enforcement firearms safety or training course offered to or required of public or private law enforcement personnel and conducted or approved by a law enforcement agency;
  • Possession of a license from another state to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise, that is granted by that state upon completion of a course that is the same as one of the above;
  • Evidence that the applicant, during military service, was found to be qualified to operate firearms, including handguns; or
  • Passage of a physical test in which the applicant demonstrates his or her familiarity with a firearm.

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Find a Shooting Range in Montana


Montana Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process

How to Renew a Montana Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

An application to renew a Concealed Weapon Permit can be made up to 90 days prior to the permit's expiration date. Applicants with expired permits must reapply and will be charged the new application fee, plus an additional $5.00 finger printing fee.

Step 2:

Download the application, if available for your county, or pick up from your local sheriff's office.

Step 3:

Take your application to your local sheriff's office. You will need the following:

  • Contact information for three references who are not relatives or employers; and
  • Photo ID.
Step 4:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Law Enforcement Officers (LEO)/Retired LEOs

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified RLEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.

According to the Montana Department of Justice, Criminal Investigation Division, because the federal legislation (LEOSA) contained no funding to create state or local programs for qualifying retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed weapon under this provision, there are few agencies offering such programs. While some smaller local agencies may qualify their retirees, such programs are not generally available in Montana, and few retired officers here are able to carry concealed weapons under federal legislation.


Montana Location Restrictions

Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Montana?
  • Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol? No for concealed, but open carry is legal (provided you are not under the influence).
  • Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? No for concealed, but open carry is legal.
  • Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes, you can carry in roadside rest areas.
  • Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs? Yes, you can carry in state/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs in Montana.
  • Carry when traveling by train? No. Prior to boarding, all firearms and ammunition must be given to the operator of the train.
  • Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship in Montana. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Montana?

Places off-limits even with a permit/license

  • No weapons, concealed or otherwise, are allowed in school buildings in Montana;
  • Buildings owned or leased by the federal, state or local government financial institutions;
  • Inside any bank, credit union, savings and loan institution, or similar institution;
  • Any room in which alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed;
  • Anywhere while under the influence of an intoxicating substance; 
  • State game preserves, unless in possession of a permit issued by the Director of Fish, Wildlife and Parks;
  • Trains;
  • All polling places, schools, parks, museums, libraries and the city council chambers in Missoula;
  • All public assemblies, city parks and publicly owned buildings in Helena;
  • Portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted; and
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

FAQ: Montana Concealed Carry Questions

What Are the Knife Laws in Montana?

Montana allows residents to possess and open carry any type of knife. Montana statutes fail to define any type of knives, so it may be difficult to tell if a specific knife may be carried concealed.


Montana Gun Laws Updates:

Date Details
2019-09-06

Added Carry While Hunting info to At A Glance table

2019-08-13

Added anchor links to various sections below the Summary

2019-08-12

Updated that background checks are not required for MT concealed weapons permit holders and carry outside of incorporated areas info in the Summary & banks added to Location Restrictions section

2019-07-25

Added minimum age to possess and transport a handgun to At A Glance table

2019-05-24

Added stun gun/Taser info to At A Glance table

2019-05-02

Added permit renewal and name/address change info

2019-04-30

Updated FAQ re: knives based on the passage of HB 155

2019-04-19

Links checked

2019-03-29

Added info on state implementation of Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA)

2019-02-15

Added pages for Federal Gun Laws, Traveling with Firearms & Terminology

2019-02-09

Added ammunition restrictions to At A Glance table

2019-02-06

Added red flag law info to At A Glance table

2019-01-25

Added church info to location restrictions section

2019-01-24

Added FAQ about alcohol or prescription medication

2019-01-10

Mag limit added to At A Glance table

2018-12-13

Added preemption info to At A Glance table

2018-11-30

Added parking lot info to At A Glance table

2018-11-28

Updated preemption details/train carry/self defense laws/newly banned places in Missoula/Helena

2018-11-08

Added link

2018-10-22

Added initial CCW law and reciprocity information for Montana

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Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2018.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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