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. Background checks are not required for private sales. 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 without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm. The federal minimum age is 18 years old, although state law allows 14-year-olds to carry or use a firearm in public under direct supervision of a parent, guardian, qualified firearms safety instructor or an adult who has been authorized by the parent or guardian. Some areas are off-limits, including federal buildings. It should be noted that concealed is defined as a handgun that is wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon.
Concealed carry is legal without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm in most locations. A permit is required to carry concealed in portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted. HB-102 was signed into law on February 18, 2021, and goes into effect immediately. It eliminated many of the prior gun-free zones in the state. See the Location Restrictions section for details. 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 unpermitted concealed carry in publicly owned and occupied buildings. 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 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.
Use of Force in Defense of Person A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary for self-defense or the defense of another against the other person’s imminent use of unlawful force.
However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily harm to the person or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
Use of Force In Defense of Occupied Structure A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the use of force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry into or attack upon an occupied structure.
A person is justified in the use of deadly force only if:
The entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault upon the person or another then in the occupied structure; or
The person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.
Use of Force In Defense of Other Property A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another to prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property, other than an occupied structure, or 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.
However, the 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.
“Forcible felony” means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
Yes. As of February 18, 2021, HB-102 was signed into law making it legal to concealed carry without a permit except in government buildings, offices and restricted locations.
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, however, local municipalities may prohibit open carry in publicly owned and occupied buildings.
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.
Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Montana?
Yes. There is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of pepper spray in Montana.
MAGAZINE LIMITS FOR HANDGUNS?
Does Montana have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
No, Montana does not limit magazine capacity for handguns.
Does Montana have ammunition restrictions?
Yes. Montana mandates a sentence enhancement for any conviction for a crime in which bodily injury was inflicted, attempted, or threatened by someone who knowingly used or carried a handgun loaded with armor-piercing ammunition.
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 without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm 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, backpacking, farming, ranching, or other outdoor activity in which weapons are often carried for recreation or protection.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Montana?
A landlord or operator of a hotel or motel may not, by contract or otherwise, prevent a tenant or a guest of a tenant from possessing on the premises a firearm that it is legal for the tenant or guest to possess. See theHandguns at Hotels page for additional information
No definition of brandishing was found in Montana law. However, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he or she creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
A person commits the offense of assault with a weapon if the person purposefully or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a weapon or reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury in another by use of a weapon or what reasonably appears to be a weapon.
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.
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.
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. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.
Montana Permit Exempts from Background Check?
Does my current Montana concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
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.
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.
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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."
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.
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
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.
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 permits are treated as renewals, and each county establishes its own guidelines. Contact the sheriff's office in your county for information.
Moving to Montana and interested in applying for a resident permit? How soon can you apply? Montana issues permits to residents only. You can apply for your permit with the sheriff of your county once you have been a Montana resident for six months.
Moving from Montana and have a Montana resident permit? Does that permit transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Montana permit remains valid? If a person with a Montana pistol permit establishes residency in another state, the pistol permit expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.
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.
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.
Download the application, if available for your county, or pick up from your local sheriff's office.
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
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
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.
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? Not in the bar area or while under the influence of an intoxicating substance for concealed carry, but open carry is legal in bars provided you are not under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
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?
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Montana, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
There is no known statute in Montana making it illegal to wear a COVID mask while carrying concealed. In addition, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter confirmed that it is not illegal.
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.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” 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.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta Defense Customer Engagement Team.
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