Montana State Concealed Carry Guide
Montana concealed carry laws were once again the subject of debate early in 2017 when Governor Steve Bullock vetoed a bill allowing for concealed carry without a permit. Despite requiring a permit, Montana concealed carry laws don’t have many restrictions.
Learning how to legally carry in this state is a matter of understanding the application process, the restrictions and what to expect if traveling to the state with a firearm.
How to get a Montana concealed carry permit
The Montana concealed carry permit, and its application, is provided by the applicant’s respective county sheriff. It will take 60 days for the sheriff to process the application and the permit will expire after four years from the issuing date.
The state technically only has three requirements to qualify for the permit, according to MCA 45-8-321 (1). The applicant must be:
- 18 years old with a valid form of identification
- A Montana resident for 6 months
- A U.S. citizen
There are more disqualifiers for getting ahold of that permit, though. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, some of those disqualifiers under MCA 45-8-321 (1) (a) - (h) and MCA 45-8-321 (2) are:
- Mental illness, disorder or disability
- Inability to own or possess a firearm under state or Federal law
- Conviction of a crime that resulted in at least one year incarceration
- Conviction of a crime related to an act, attempted act or threat of intentional homicide, serious bodily harm, unlawful restraint, sexual abuse or sexual intercourse/contact without consent
- A warrant for arrest
- Adjudication of being mentally ill or being an unlawful user of an intoxicating substance
- Dishonorable discharge
One may have their rights restored from a felony conviction, except for those related to the fourth item on the previous list, under Article II, section 28, of the Montana constitution and be qualified for a permit.
To be given a concealed weapon permit, the applicant must demonstrate familiarity with a firearm by completing a hunter education course, firearms safety course taught by an approved entity, law enforcement education firearms course or military qualification to operate handguns. A permit from another state that includes a similar training requirement may satisfy this section as well.
The initial application fee is $50, and it’s $25 for renewal.
If the application is denied, one may appeal to a district court and then to the state supreme court if the sheriff continues to deny an application without legal reason.
If one moves residences between counties and has a concealed weapons permit, they should alert both respective sheriffs within ten days.
Current and retired law enforcement officers are recognized under the Law Enforcement Officers Security Act of 2004 and may circumvent Montana’s concealed weapons statute with the appropriate identification.
Once received, a permit can only do so much, however. It doesn’t allow concealed carry everywhere in the state, and conversely one may not even need to obtain a permit under certain circumstances.
The freedoms and restrictions of Montana gun laws
Montana gun laws prohibit weapons in a few key locations throughout the state, as well as allow certain organizations to prohibit firearms on their premises.
According to the Department of Justice, firearms are prohibited at these locations:
- State or government offices and buildings
- Credit unions
- Savings and loan institutions
- Rooms where alcohol is sold
- On trains
University campuses may prohibit firearms on location. Local governments may regulate carrying firearms in areas like public assemblies, public buildings, parks and schools.
It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon while intoxicated in Montana.
But, while there are restrictions, there are also times when a permit isn’t even necessary. The state allows carrying a concealed weapon without a permit while lawfully engaged in:
According to MCA 45-8-317 (i), a concealed weapon may be carried without a permit outside the official boundaries of a city, town or confines of a logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camp. As this isn’t formal legal advice, be sure to contact a county sheriff or a legal representative before doing so, as there may be specific restrictions as per local laws.
Businesses may prohibit firearms on location.
Native American reservations should be contacted about their specific regulations if one is visiting with a firearm any of the seven within the state.
Similarly, one doesn’t need a permit if carrying in their home or business, unless there are specific location prohibitions on that land or area. Montana also doesn’t regulate how weapons are carried in vehicles, so traveling to the state and leaving the firearm in a vehicle is acceptable, but be certain to check with other states if traveling interstate.
No matter how one is traveling in Montana with firearms, it’s good to keep reciprocity in mind.
Montana concealed carry reciprocity
Montana concealed carry reciprocity recognizes certain out-of-state permits — about 43, to be exact.
However, as states shift to permitless carry or the requirements to receive a permit either intensify or relax, there will be changes in the number of states’ permits Montana recognizes and vice versa.
Non-residents visiting Montana will have their permit legally recognized if their respective state conducts background checks on permits, if the permit holder has photo ID and the permit is in their possession.
More than 30 other states recognize Montana’s permit. Be sure to stay up to date with a Concealed carry reciprocity map.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.