“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.”


Montana is a shall-issue state. No permit, waiting period, or registration is needed to purchase from a private individual. Background checks are not required for private sales. Open carry is legal without a permit at 18. Concealed carry without a permit is legal at 18. A permit is required to carry concealed in some areas. Montana recognizes permits from states that require criminal records background checks. Montana is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person has no duty to retreat.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Montana will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Montana’s license:

“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.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Montana and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Montana AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

Non-residents must always have their permit/license and photo identification with them whenever they carry a concealed weapon and present them to a LEO upon request.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

Montana permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess firearms to carry them in a motor vehicle without a permit, openly or concealed. The only exception is that a permit is needed to carry a handgun that is “wholly or partially covered by clothing or wearing apparel”. Therefore a permit would be needed to carry a concealed handgun on Your person, but not in the glove box.

NFA Items

Montana permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal.

Self-Defense Laws

Montana has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into an occupied structure if You reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to prevent from assaulting an occupant of the structure or committing a forcible felony in the structure.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

In Montana you cannot carry concealed, but you are permitted to carry openly in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

“No Firearm” signs in Montana do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to criminal charges.

Open Carry

Open Carry is legal in Montana. The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities cannot have laws/ordinances against open carry. Federal law prohibits possession by a person under 18.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

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