Montana law prohibits people from carrying concealed weapons inside city and town limits and also restrains carrying concealed weapons outside city limits in certain cases. However, a person may carry concealed weapons in certain situations if s/he has a valid Montana or out-of-state permit to do so.
Under Montana Code, a concealed weapon includes a handgun that is wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon.[i] Montana law prohibits knowingly carrying concealed weapon in prohibited places including buildings owned or leased by the federal, state or local government, financial institutions and any place where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed.[ii] However, it is not an offense under this section to carry a concealed weapon while using an institution’s drive-up window, automatic teller machine, or unstaffed night depository; or at or near a branch office of an institution in a mall, grocery store, etc.[iii] The fact that the person had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon is not a defense and convicted persons shall be imprisoned jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or fined an amount not to exceed $500, or both. Carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle is not prohibited in Montana, although federal rules may apply in national parks.
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 without obtaining authorization from the management of a railroad.[iv] However, an authorized person can lawfully carry firearms by delivering all firearms and ammunition to the operator of the train prior to boarding the train.
Permit to carry concealed weapon is granted by the county sheriff, who shall issue a permit within 60 days after the filing of an application in normal cases. [v] The permit is valid for 4 years from the date of issuance. The fee for issuance of a permit is $50 and $25 is charged for renewals. A fee of $ 5 may be charged for fingerprinting.
In order to be eligible for permit, 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. An application may be denied if the applicant is ineligible under Montana or federal law to own, possess, or receive a firearm; or has been charged and is awaiting judgment in any state court of a state or federal crime that is punishable by incarceration for 1 year or more; or has been adjudicated in by a court to be mentally incompetent; or was dishonorably discharged from the United States armed forces.
An applicant must demonstrate familiarity with a firearm by completion of a hunter education or safety course or a firearms safety or training course that uses instructors certified by a national firearms association. A similar license granted by another state on completion of such a course is also accepted in Montana. Montana law recognizes concealed weapons permits from some other states on satisfaction of three conditions. The conditions include 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.
A Federal legislation passed in July 2004 exempts current and retired law enforcement officers from Montana’s concealed weapon statute and as such any qualified law enforcement officer with proper identification can carry a concealed weapon.
The Attorney General’s Office has determined that concealed weapons permits from the following states are recognized under Montana law: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
People who hold permits from Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island may not carry concealed weapons in Montana because their state laws do not expressly require background checks of permit applicants. A Montana permit is recognized in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.
[i] Code Anno., § 45-8-328.
[ii] Code Anno. § 45-8-328
[iv] Code Anno. § 45-8-339
[v] Code Anno. § 45-8-321