Gun laws in Montana

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Gun laws in Montana regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Montana in the United States.

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No
Firearm registration? No No
Assault weapon law? No No
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No
Owner license required? No No
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A Yes Montana 45-8-321 Montana is a "shall issue" state for citizens and permanent lawful residents who are 18 years old. The law was challenged for previously denying non-citizens permits.[1] The lawsuit was put on hold to give the legislature to opportunity to pass a bill to include permanent lawful residents. Such bill was signed by the governor on April 7, 2017.[2]

Concealed carry without a permit is generally allowed outside city, town, or logging camp limits.

Permit required for open carry? No No May carry openly without permit/license.
State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes M.C.A 45-8-351 Complete state preemption of firearms laws except localities may regulate firearm discharge, the open or concealed carry of firearms to a public assembly, a publicly owned building, a park under its jurisdiction or a school. Localities may also regulate the possession of firearms by felons, minors, illegal aliens, or the mentally incompetent.

A proposed change to the law would limit localities to regulate only open carry and unpermitted concealed carry in publicly owned and occupied buildings only; it was passed by the legislature but will go into effect on January 1, 2021 if approved by the electorate in November 2020.[3]

NFA weapons restricted? No No Permitted as long such possession is in compliance with all federal regulations.
Peaceable Journey laws? Yes Yes
Background checks required for private sales? No No Missoula enacted a universal background check ordinance in 2016, however Attorney General Tim Fox has opined that the ordinance is unlawful.[4] In October 2018, a state judge ruled that the ordinance is lawful.[5]
Location of Montana in the United States

MT Gun Laws[edit]

Montana has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States.[6] It is a "shall issue" state for concealed carry.[7][8] The county sheriff shall issue a concealed weapons permit to a qualified applicant within 60 days. Concealed carry is not allowed in government buildings, financial institutions, or any place where alcoholic beverages are served. Carrying a concealed weapon while intoxicated is prohibited. No weapons, concealed or otherwise, are allowed in school buildings. Montana recognizes concealed carry permits issued by most but not all other states. Concealed carry without a permit is generally allowed outside city, town, or logging camp limits. Under Montana law a permit is necessary only when the weapon is " wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel ",[9] therefore it is legal to carry and/or keep a firearm inside a vehicle without a permit (as long as it is not concealed on the person). If you do not have a CWP it could be considered a violation of the law for you to conceal a gun in a purse or backpack, since the law defines a concealed weapon as one that is "wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon.[10] As of 2017, the concealed weapons law applies only to firearms, excluding items such as knives, slingshots, billies, etc. from the permit requirement.[11]

Open carry is generally allowed without a permit.[12][13][14]

Montana has state preemption of most firearms laws. Local units of government may not prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, use, or unconcealed carrying of any weapon. However, local governments may restrict the firing of guns, or the carrying of firearms at public assemblies or in public buildings or parks.[15]

Montana has a number of restrictions on lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, dealers, or trade associations. Such lawsuits may be filed by the state, but not by local governments.[16][17]

Montana House Bill 246, the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, was signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer on April 15, 2009, and became effective October 1, 2009. This legislation declares that certain firearms and firearms accessories manufactured, sold, and kept within the state of Montana are exempt from federal firearms laws, since they cannot be regulated as interstate commerce.[18][19]


  1. ^ "SAF Sues Montana over Law Barring CCW Permits for Legal Resident Aliens". Second Amendment Foundation. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "LAWS Detailed Bill Information Page". Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  3. ^ "LAWS Detailed Bill Information Page". Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  4. ^ NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Montana: Attorney General's Opinion States Missoula Background Check Ordinance is Illegal". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  5. ^ Larson, Seaborn. "Judge rules in favor of Missoula ordinance requiring background checks on all gun sales". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  6. ^ "Gun Laws of Montana". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  7. ^ Montana Code Annotated, Title 45, Chapter 8, Part 3: Weapons
  8. ^ "Montana Shooting Sports Association – Montana Gun Laws". February 9, 2000. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  9. ^ Permits to carry guns held by 9 lawmakers, February 2, 2008
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Firearms Questions in Montana". Montana Department of Justice. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "LAWS Detailed Bill Information Page". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  12. ^ "Montana Department of Justice – Concealed Weapons". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  13. ^ Montana Concealed Carry CCW Laws and Information on Archived November 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Montana Concealed Carry Permit Information on". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  15. ^ Montana Code Annotated – 45-8-351: Restriction on Local Government Regulation of Firearms
  16. ^ "Firearms Laws for Montana on" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Montana State Law Summary on". March 25, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  18. ^ Deines, Kahrin. "New Gun Law Aimed at Asserting Sovereignty", Helena Independent Record, April 16, 2009
  19. ^ Text of House Bill 246, 2009 Montana Legislature