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Montana Gun Laws

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


“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.”

Gun Laws Overview

Licensing of Owners No No
Permit to Carry No Yes*
Permit to Purchase No No
Registration of Firearms No No

* A permit to carry concealed is not needed outside the limits of cities or towns (see CARRYING).

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information. We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

RECIPROCITY NOTES: Florida recognizes a Montana permit if the permit-holder is 21 years old or older. Also, non-residents must meet the following criteria to carry a concealed weapon in Montana: the state that issued their permit must require a criminal records background check before issuing a permit; the permit must be in the holder’s possession, and the permit holder must have photo identification: https://dojmt.gov/enforcement/concealed-weapons/

Castle Doctrine Enacted
No-Net Loss No Legislation
Right to Carry Confidentiality Provisions Enacted
Right to Carry in Restaurants Partial Ban
Right To Carry Laws Shall Issue
Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition Conditional Recognition
Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions With Provisions
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Select Map
Click on a State to see the Gun Law Profile


Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


Montana statutes are silent on antique and replica firearms. They are treated as ordinary firearms for possession and carrying purposes.



The open carry of a weapon is generally allowed by any person who is not otherwise prohibited from doing so under federal or state law. A person carrying openly may communicate to another person the fact that the person has a weapon. It is unlawful to carry or bear a concealed handgun without a permit to carry.



Concealed is defined as wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel.   This prohibition on concealed carry does not apply to peace officers, a person who is outside the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camp or who is 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, or the carrying of arms on one’s own premises or at one’s home or place of business.

A county sheriff shall within 60 days after the filing of an application issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon for a term of four years. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, 18 or older, holds a valid picture identification issued by the state, and a resident of the state for at least 6 months. A permit may not be denied unless the applicant is ineligible under Montana or federal law to own, possess, or receive a firearm; has been charged and is awaiting judgment in any state for a state or federal crime that is punishable by incarceration for one year or more; has been convicted in any state or federal court of a crime punishable by more than one year of incarceration or, regardless of the sentence that may be imposed, a crime that includes as an element certain acts, attempted acts, or threats; has been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence or of carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place and the applicant has not been pardoned; was dishonorably discharged from the United States armed forces; has a warrant outstanding for his arrest; has been adjudicated to be an unlawful user of an intoxicating substance and is under a court order of imprisonment or other incarceration, probation, suspended or deferred sentence, treatment or education, or other condition of release or is otherwise under state supervision; or has been adjudicated to be mentally ill, defective, or disabled and is still subject to a disposition order of that court.

A permit may be denied based on a reasonable cause to believe that the applicant is mentally ill, defective, or disabled or otherwise may be a threat to the peace and good order of the community. At the time the permit is denied, the sheriff shall give the applicant a written statement of the reasonable cause upon which the denial is based unless the applicant is the subject of an active criminal investigation. Some persons with a prior felony conviction, whose rights have been restored, may be entitled to the issuance of a concealed weapon permit if they are otherwise eligible.  An applicant must demonstrate familiarity with a firearm by completion of a firearm safety course or possession of a license from another state to carry a firearm that is granted upon completion of a course demonstrating familiarity with a firearm. The permit fee is $50.00; renewal is $25.00. A criminal history record and background check of the applicant shall be conducted with a fee and a $5.00 fee may be charged for fingerprinting. A permit may be revoked or its renewal denied if circumstances arise that would require refusal to grant the permittee an original license. Denials and revocations are subject to appeal to the District Court and then to the Montana Supreme Court. Changes of address notifications must be given within 10 days.

The issuer of a permit is not liable for damages in a civil action by a person or entity claiming death, personal injury, or property damage arising from alleged wrongful or improper grant, renewal, or failure to revoke the permit, except for actions that constitute willful misconduct or gross negligence.

It is unlawful to purposely and knowingly carry a concealed firearm under the influence of an intoxicating substance or in portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted; financial institutions during their normal business hours, but this does not prohibit carrying a concealed weapon while using the institution’s drive-up window, ATM, or unstaffed night depository, or if the branch is in a mall or grocery story or other place unless the person is inside the enclosure used for the institution’s financial services or using its financial services; or a room where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed, and consumed under a license issued for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

A concealed weapon permit from another state is valid in Montana if the person issued the permit has the permit in the person’s immediate possession, the person bearing the permit is also in possession of an official photo identification of the person, and the state that issued the permit requires a criminal records background check for permit applicants prior to issuance.


Machine Guns

A machine gun is defined as a firearm designed to discharge more than one shot by a single function of the trigger.


Possession or use of a machine gun in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence is punishable by not less than 20 years in prison.  Possession or use of a machine gun for an aggressive or offensive purpose is prohibited. A presumption of possession for an aggressive or offensive purpose is raised by possession or use by a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence.

This law does not prohibit or interfere with the possession of a machine gun for scientific purposes, or the possession of a machine gun that is not usable as a weapon and possessed as a curiosity, ornament or keepsake, or the possession of a machine gun for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.


"No county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit may prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer (including delay in purchase, sale, or other transfer), ownership, possession, transportation, use, or unconcealed carrying of any weapon, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, or concealed handgun."

MONT. CODE ANNO. § 45-8-351  Restriction on local government regulation of firearms.  
   (1)  Except as provided in subsection (2), no county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit may prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer (including delay in purchase, sale, or other transfer), ownership, possession, transportation, use, or unconcealed carrying of any weapon, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, or concealed handgun.
(2) (a)  For public safety purposes, a city or town may regulate the discharge of rifles, shotguns, and handguns. 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, and the possession of firearms by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors.
(b)  Nothing contained herein shall allow any government to prohibit the legitimate display of firearms at shows or other public occasions by collectors and others, nor shall anything contained herein prohibit the legitimate transportation of firearms through any jurisdiction, whether in airports or otherwise.  

No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun.


It is unlawful for a parent or a guardian to permit a minor under 14 years of age to carry or use a firearm in public unless the minor is accompanied by the parent or guardian or under supervision of a qualified firearms safety instructor who has been authorized by the parent or guardian.

It is unlawful to purposely and knowingly possess, carry or store a firearm in a school building, or for a parent to permit a minor to do so.



No state permit is required for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun.

Range Protection

The legislature generally seeks investment and the preservation of shooting ranges.


MONT. CODE ANN. § 76-9-101. Policy

It is the policy of the state of Montana to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state by promoting the safety and enjoyment of the shooting sports among the citizens of the state and by protecting the locations of and investment in shooting ranges for shotgun, archery, rifle, and pistol shooting.


MONT. CODE ANN § 45-8-111 Public Nuisance

(5) Noises resulting from the shooting activities at a shooting range during established hours of operation are not considered a public nuisance.


If a firearm is possessed by a law enforcement agency that was not purchased for agency use is legal for any law-abiding individual to own, or if the lawful owner cannot be located, then the agency must not destroy the firearm but sell it to a licensed firearms dealer.


The right to sue a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer for abatement, injunctive relief, or tort damages resulting from or relating to the design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition sold to the public is reserved exclusively to the state and may not be exercised by a local government.  The state may sue on its own behalf or on behalf of a local government unit, or both.

No unit of local government may prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the transfer, delay in transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, use, or carrying of firearms. Local governments may regulate the discharge of firearms and may prevent the carrying of firearms to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park, school, and the possession of firearms by minors and other prohibited persons.

It is unlawful to shoot a firearm within the limits of any town or city or a private enclosure that contains a dwelling house.

It is unlawful to shoot game from any self-propelled or drawn vehicle or on or from a public highway.

It is unlawful to shoot a firearm from or across the right-of-way of a highway.

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm from or upon a snowmobile.

It is unlawful to remove or otherwise obscure the manufacturer’s serial number on any firearm with the purpose of concealing, misrepresenting or transferring the firearm.

Montana NEWS

Associated Press  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Montana: Missoula judge denies AG Fox's motion to reopen gun lawsuit

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s latest bid to challenge the city of Missoula’s gun regulations has been denied.

Montana Public Radio  

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Montana: Missoula Passes Amended Emergency Gun Ban In Public Places

The Missoula City Council passed two ordinances banning firearms in public places.Both ordinances, passed Monday, ban firearms at ...

Associated Press  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Montana: AG asks judge to reconsider Missoula gun ordinance case

Montana's attorney general is asking a state judge to reconsider a ruling that upholds Missoula's right to enforce ...


Friday, October 12, 2018

Montana: Judge rules in favor of Missoula ordinance that criminalizes private gun transfers

"The state respectfully disagrees with the court's ruling and maintains that Montana law does not allow cities to ...

Washington Times  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sen. Jon Tester earns 'D' rating from NRA despite 'shooting hundreds of cows and hogs'

Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, saw his National Rifle Association rating downgraded Tuesday to a “D,” even though ...


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jon Tester, Great at Shooting Cows, Terrible at Supporting Pro-Gun Judicial Nominees

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is great at shooting cows on his Montana land but terrible at supporting pro-gun ...

NRA Downgrades Sen. Tester's Rating to a D


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

NRA Downgrades Sen. Tester's Rating to a D

NRA downgraded Sen. Jon Tester’s rating to “D” after he voted against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. ...

Fox News  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Montana Sen. Tester campaigns on hunting, hasn't had license in 6 years

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a red state Democrat running for re-election in one of the closest Senate contests ...

NRA Announces Six-Figure Ad Campaign Against Sen. Tester


Thursday, September 6, 2018

NRA Announces Six-Figure Ad Campaign Against Sen. Tester

NRA six-figure TV ad campaign highlighting that Sen. Jon Tester cannot be trusted to support the rights of ...

Associated Press  

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Montana governor stands by semiautomatic weapons ban comment

Montana's governor is standing by his recent comments that he'd support a ban on some semiautomatic weapons, saying ...


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.