Montana Firearm law

The laws governing the legal use, storage and carrying of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the State of Montana as of 4/20/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to the State of Montana legislation at data.opi.mt.gov. Another great resource is the Montana Department of Justice.

45-8-315. Definition.
"Concealed weapon" means any weapon mentioned in 45-8-316 through 45-8-318 and 45-8-321 through 45-8-328 that is wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon, except that for purposes of 45-8-321 through 45-8-328, 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.

45-8-316. Carrying concealed weapons.
(1) A person who carries or bears concealed upon the individual's person a 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, not including a safety razor, or other deadly weapon shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.
(2) A person who has previously been convicted of an offense, committed on a different occasion than the offense under this section, in this state or any other jurisdiction for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of 1 year could have been imposed and who carries or bears concealed upon the individual's person any of the weapons described in subsection (1) shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for a period not exceeding 5 years, or both.

45-8-321. Permit to carry concealed weapon.
(1) A county sheriff shall, within 60 days after the filing of an application, issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon to the applicant. The permit is valid for 4 years from the date of issuance. An applicant must be a United States citizen who is 18 years of age or older and who holds a valid Montana driver's license or other form of identification issued by the state that has a picture of the person identified. An applicant must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months. Except as provided in subsection (2), this privilege may not be denied an applicant unless the applicant:
(a) is ineligible under Montana or federal law to own, possess, or receive a firearm;
(b) has been charged and is awaiting judgment in any state of a state or federal crime that is punishable by incarceration for 1 year or more;
(c) subject to the provisions of subsection (6), has been convicted in any state or federal court of:
(i) a crime punishable by more than 1 year of incarceration; or
(ii) regardless of the sentence that may be imposed, a crime that includes as an element of the crime an act, attempted act, or threat of intentional homicide, serious bodily harm, unlawful restraint, sexual abuse, or sexual intercourse or contact without consent;
(d) has been convicted under 45-8-327 or 45-8-328, unless the applicant has been pardoned or 5 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction;
(e) has a warrant of any state or the federal government out for the applicant's arrest;
(f) has been adjudicated in a criminal or civil proceeding in any state or federal court to be an unlawful user of an intoxicating substance and is under a court order of imprisonment or other incarceration, probation, suspended or deferred imposition of sentence, treatment or education, or other conditions of release or is otherwise under state supervision;
(g) has been adjudicated in a criminal or civil proceeding in any state or federal court to be mentally ill, mentally defective, or mentally disabled and is still subject to a disposition order of that court; or
(h) was dishonorably discharged from the United States armed forces.
(2) The sheriff may deny an applicant a permit to carry a concealed weapon if the sheriff has reasonable cause to believe that the applicant is mentally ill, mentally defective, or mentally disabled or otherwise may be a threat to the peace and good order of the community to the extent that the applicant should not be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. At the time an application is denied, the sheriff shall, unless the applicant is the subject of an active criminal investigation, give the applicant a written statement of the reasonable cause upon which the denial is based.

TRAINING REQUIREMENT
(3) An applicant for a permit under this section must, as a condition to issuance of the permit, be required by the sheriff to demonstrate familiarity with a firearm by:
(a) completion of a hunter education or safety course approved or conducted by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks or a similar agency of another state;
(b) completion of a firearms safety or training course approved or conducted by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks, 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;
(c) 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;
(d) 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 described in subsections (3)(a) through (3)(c); or
(e) evidence that the applicant, during military service, was found to be qualified to operate firearms, including handguns.
(4) A photocopy of a certificate of completion of a course described in subsection (3), an affidavit from the entity or instructor that conducted the course attesting to completion of the course, or a copy of any other document that attests to completion of the course and can be verified through contact with the entity or instructor that conducted the course creates a presumption that the applicant has completed a course described in subsection (3).
(5) If the sheriff and applicant agree, the requirement in subsection (3) of demonstrating familiarity with a firearm may be satisfied by the applicant's passing, to the satisfaction of the sheriff or of any person or entity to which the sheriff delegates authority to give the test, a physical test in which the applicant demonstrates the applicant's familiarity with a firearm.
(6) A person, except a person referred to in subsection (1)(c)(ii), who has been convicted of a felony and whose rights have been restored pursuant to Article II, section 28, of the Montana constitution is entitled to issuance of a concealed weapons permit if otherwise eligible.

45-8-317. Exceptions. (1) Section 45-8-316 does not apply to:
(a) any peace officer of the state of Montana or of another state who has the power to make arrests;
(b) any officer of the United States government authorized to carry a concealed weapon;
(c) a person in actual service as a member of the national guard;
(d) a person summoned to the aid of any of the persons named in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(c);
(e) a civil officer or the officer's deputy engaged in the discharge of official business;
(f) a probation and parole officer authorized to carry a firearm under 46-23-1002;
(g) a person issued a permit under 45-8-321 or a person with a permit recognized under 45-8-329;
(h) an agent of the department of justice or a criminal investigator in a county attorney's office;
(i) 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;
(j) the carrying of arms on one's own premises or at one's home or place of business; or
(k) the carrying of a concealed weapon in the state capitol by a legislative security officer who has been issued a permit under 45-8-321 or with a permit recognized under 45-8-329.
(2) With regard to a person issued a permit under 45-8-321, the provisions of 45-8-328 do not apply to this section.

45-8-322. Application, renewal, permit, and fees.
(1) The application form must be readily available at the sheriff's office and must read as follows:

CONCEALED WEAPON PERMIT APPLICATION

     To be completed by each person making application:
     RESIDENT OF MONTANA AT LEAST 6 MONTHS ( ) Yes ( ) No
     CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES ( ) Yes ( ) No
     18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER ( ) Yes ( ) No
     PLEASE TYPE OR PRINT
     Full name: ..........................................................
     Last First Middle
     Alias/Maiden/Nickname: .........................................
     Address: Home: ................ Zip .............
     Employer: .................... Zip ................
     Phone: ................../ ..................../ .............
     Home Employer Message
     Place of birth:.................... Date of birth: ..................
     Driver's license #:.............. Issuing state: ........................
     Social Security #:.........................................
     Sex ........ Ht. ........ Wt. ........ Eyes .......... Hair .......
     LIST EACH FORMER EMPLOYER OR BUSINESS ENGAGED IN FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS:
     Employer or
     business name Address Dates of employment 1. .............. .......................... ............
     2. .............. .......................... .............
     3. .............. .......................... .............
     4. .............. .......................... .............
     5. .............. .......................... .............
     6. .............. .......................... .............
     LIST EACH PLACE IN WHICH YOU HAVE LIVED FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS:
     City State Dates of residence
     1. .............. .......................... .............
     2. .............. .......................... ...............
     3. .............. .......................... ...............
     4. .............. .......................... ...............
     5. .............. .......................... ...............
     6. .............. .......................... ...............
     MILITARY SERVICE, BRANCH .......... FROM ........ TO .......
     TYPE OF DISCHARGE ........... RANK UPON DISCHARGE ..................
     HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ARRESTED FOR OR CONVICTED OF A CRIME OR FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT-MARTIAL PROCEEDING?
     ( ) YES ( ) NO
     IF YES, COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING (Exceptions: minor traffic violations) (Attach additional sheet if necessary):
     City State Charge Date
     1. ............... ...................... ....................
     2. ............... ...................... ....................
     3. ............... ...................... ....................
     4. ............... ...................... ....................
     5. ............... ...................... ....................
     LIST THREE PERSONS WHOM YOU HAVE KNOWN FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS THAT WILL BE CREDIBLE WITNESSES TO YOUR GOOD MORAL CHARACTER AND PEACEABLE DISPOSITION (DO NOT include relatives or present/past employers):
     Name Address Phone
     1. ............... ........................ ..................
     2. ............... ........................ ...................
     3. ............... ........................ ...................
     PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR REASONS FOR REQUESTING THIS PERMIT (Attach additional sheet if necessary):
     .................................................................
     .................................................................
     .................................................................
     I, the undersigned applicant, swear that the foregoing information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief and is given with the full knowledge that any misstatement may be sufficient cause for denial or revocation of a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I authorize any person having information concerning me that relates to the information requested by this application and the requirements for a concealed weapon permit, either public record or otherwise, to furnish it to the sheriff to whom this application is made.
      .....................................................
     Signature
     ...................................................
     Date of application
     This application must be
     signed in the presence of
     the sheriff or a designee.
(2) The application must be in triplicate. The applicant must be given the original at the time the completed application is filed with the sheriff, the sheriff shall keep a copy for at least 4 years, and a copy must, within 7 days of the sheriff's receipt of the application, be mailed to the chief of police if the applicant resides in a city or town with a police force.

FEES
(3) The fee for issuance of a permit is $50. The permit must be renewed for additional 4-year periods upon payment of a $25 fee for each renewal and upon request for renewal made within 90 days before expiration of the permit. The permit and each renewal must be in triplicate, in a form prescribed by the department of justice, and must, at a minimum, include the name, address, physical description, signature, driver's license number, state identification card number, or tribal identification card number, and a picture of the permittee. A person in the United States armed forces satisfies the requirement of submitting a picture if the person submits pictures of the front of the person's military identification card and the person's Montana driver's license. The permit must state that federal and state laws on possession of firearms and other weapons differ and that a person who violates the federal law may be prosecuted in federal court and the Montana permit will not be a defense. The permittee must be given the original, and the sheriff shall keep a copy and send a copy to the department of justice, which shall keep a central repository record of all permits. Replacement of a lost permit must be treated as a renewal under this subsection.
(4) The sheriff shall conduct a background check of an applicant to determine whether the applicant is eligible for a permit under 45-8-321, may require an applicant to submit the applicant's fingerprints, and may charge the applicant $5 for fingerprinting.
(5) Permit, background, and fingerprinting fees may be retained by the sheriff and used to implement 45-8-321 through 45-8-325.
(6) A state or local government law enforcement agency or other agency or any of its officers or employees may not request a permittee to voluntarily submit information in addition to that required on an application and permit.

45-8-323. Denial of renewal -- revocation of permit.
A permit to carry a concealed weapon may be revoked or its renewal denied by the sheriff of the county in which the permittee resides if circumstances arise that would require the sheriff to refuse to grant the permittee an original license.

45-8-324. Appeal.
The denial or revocation of a permit to carry a concealed weapon or refusal of a renewal is subject to appeal to the district court, which may consider and determine facts as well as law and which is not bound by any factual, legal, or other determination of the sheriff, and from that court to the Montana supreme court. To the extent applicable, Title 25, chapter 33, governs the appeal.

45-8-325. Permittee change of county of residence -- notification to sheriffs and chief of police.
A person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon who changes the person's county of residence shall within 10 days of the change inform the sheriffs of both the old and new counties of residence of the change of residence and that the person holds the permit. 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 in each of those cities or towns that has a police force.

45-8-326. Immunity from liability.
A sheriff, employee of a sheriff's office, or county 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 of, renewal of, or failure to revoke a permit to carry a concealed weapon, except for actions that constitute willful misconduct or gross negligence.

45-8-327. Carrying concealed weapon while under influence.
A person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence if the person purposely or knowingly carries a concealed weapon while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. It is not a defense that the person had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. A person convicted of the offense shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or be fined an amount not to exceed $500, or both.

OFF LIMITS
45-8-328. Carrying concealed weapon in prohibited place -- penalty.

(1) Except for legislative security officers authorized to carry a concealed weapon in the state capitol as provided in 45-8-317(1)(k), a person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place if the person purposely or knowingly carries a concealed weapon in:
(a) portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted;
(b) a bank, credit union, savings and loan institution, or similar institution during the institution's normal business hours. It is not an offense under this section to carry a concealed weapon while:
(i) using an institution's drive-up window, automatic teller machine, or unstaffed night depository; or
(ii) at or near a branch office of an institution in a mall, grocery store, or other place unless the person is inside the enclosure used for the institution's financial services or is using the institution's financial services.
(c) a room in which alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed, and consumed under a license issued under Title 16 for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.
(2) It is not a defense that the person had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. A person convicted of the offense shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or fined an amount not to exceed $500, or both.

45-8-318. Possession of deadly weapon by prisoner or youth in facility.
(1) A person commits the offense of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner if the person purposely or knowingly possesses or carries or has under the person's custody or control without lawful authority a dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife, razor not including a safety razor, or other deadly weapon while the person is:
(a) a person committed to a state prison or incarcerated in a county jail, city jail, or regional jail and is:
(i) at a state prison, a state prison farm or ranch, or jail;
(ii) being conveyed to or from a place listed in this subsection (1)(a); or
(iii) under the custody of prison or jail officials, officers, or employees; or
(b) a person in a youth detention facility, secure detention facility, regional detention facility, short-term detention center, state youth correctional facility, or shelter care facility, as those terms are defined in 41-5-103, and is at the facility, being conveyed to or from the facility, or under the custody of the facility officials, officers, or employees.
(2) A person convicted of the offense of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term not less than 5 years or more than 15 years, by a fine of not more than $50,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.
(3) The youth court has jurisdiction of any violation of subsection (1)(b) unless the charge is filed in district court, in which case the district court has jurisdiction.

45-8-339. Carrying firearms on train -- penalty.
(1) Except as authorized by the management of a railroad, it is unlawful for a person not authorized to carry a weapon in the course of the person's official duties to knowingly or purposely carry or transport firearms on a train in this state unless, prior to boarding, the person has delivered all firearms and ammunition, if any, to the operator of the train.
(2) A person violating this section shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

  45-8-361. Possession or allowing possession of weapon in school building -- exceptions -- penalties -- seizure and forfeiture or return authorized -- definitions.
(1) A person commits the offense of possession of a weapon in a school building if the person purposely and knowingly possesses, carries, or stores a weapon in a school building.
(2) A parent or guardian of a minor commits the offense of allowing possession of a weapon in a school building if the parent or guardian purposely and knowingly permits the minor to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building.
(3) (a) Subsection (1) does not apply to law enforcement personnel.
(b) The trustees of a district may grant persons and entities advance permission to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building.
(4) (a) A person convicted under this section shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500, imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both. The court shall consider alternatives to incarceration that are available in the community.
(b) (i) A weapon in violation of this section may be seized and, upon conviction of the person possessing or permitting possession of the weapon, may be forfeited to the state or returned to the lawful owner.
(ii) If a weapon seized under the provisions of this section is subsequently determined to have been stolen or otherwise taken from the owner's possession without permission, the weapon must be returned to the lawful owner.
(5) As used in this section:
(a) "school building" means all buildings owned or leased by a local school district that are used for instruction or for student activities. The term does not include a home school provided for in 20-5-109.
(b) "weapon" means any type of firearm, a knife with a blade 4 or more inches in length, a sword, a straight razor, a throwing star, nun-chucks, or brass or other metal knuckles. The term also includes any other article or instrument possessed with the purpose to commit a criminal offense.

RECIPROCITY
45-8-329. Concealed weapon permits from other states recognized -- advisory council.
(1) A concealed weapon permit from another state is valid in this state if:
(a) the person issued the permit has the permit in the person's immediate possession;
(b) the person bearing the permit is also in possession of an official photo identification of the person, whether on the permit or on other identification; and
(c) the state that issued the permit requires a criminal records background check of permit applicants prior to issuance of a permit.
(2) The attorney general shall develop and maintain a list of states from which permits are recognized under this section for the use by law enforcement agencies in this state.
(3) A determination or declaration of a Montana government entity, official, or employee is not necessary to the existence and exercise of the privilege granted by this section.
(4) The governor shall establish a council, composed of interested persons, including law enforcement personnel and gun owners, to advise the governor on and pursue concealed weapon permit issues.

TRANSPORTING FIREARMS

NOTE: The below sentence comes from the concealed weapon page of the Montana Department of Justice website.

Montana has no prohibitions against carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle.

NON-RESIDENT PERMIT

The State of Montana does not issue a non-resident permit.

NOTE: The below sentence comes from the concealed weapon page of the Montana Department of Justice website.

Montana recognizes concealed weapons permits from some other states. 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.
  • The permit holder must have photo identification.

If you have questions about our course, feel free to email us at info@shootsafe.org.  Make sure you include your name, the state whose permit you are pursuing, and if you need a call back, a phone number.  We're happy to help.