Concealed Weapons

Montana law allows people to carry concealed weapons if he or she has a valid Montana or out-of-state permit to do so.

No weapons, concealed or otherwise, are allowed in school buildings in Montana.

Even with a concealed weapons permit, you may not carry a concealed weapon in the following places:

  • buildings owned or leased by the federal, state or local government
  • financial institutions
  • any place where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed

In addition, be sure to check local regulations, which may restrict carrying concealed weapons at public meetings, and in public parks and buildings.

County sheriffs can provide information on where concealed weapons are prohibited in their counties.

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

Montana Residents

To obtain a Montana concealed weapons permit, a person must:

  • have been a Montana resident for at least six months
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • be at least 18 years old

Applications are available from the local county sheriff’s office. This site provides a sample application so people can review what is required and gather the necessary documentation prior to going to their sheriff’s office. The form is clearly marked as a “sample only” and cannot be used in place of the application provided by the local sheriff’s office.

Montana residents who want to know if their permits are valid in another state must check with the specific state in which they want to carry a weapon.

Non-Residents

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.

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
Wisconsin
Wyoming

People who hold permits from the following states may not carry concealed weapons in Montana because their state laws do not expressly require background checks of permit applicants:

Alabama
Delaware
District of Columbia
Hawaii
Maine
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

The following states do not issue concealed weapons permits:

Illinois Vermont

Law Enforcement Officers

Federal legislation signed in July 2004 exempts current and retired law enforcement officers from Montana’s concealed weapon statute. Any qualified law enforcement officer with proper identification can carry a concealed weapon, overruling state concealed weapons laws to the contrary.

Qualifications

Active Officers

Under the federal law, a qualified law enforcement officer is defined as a current employee of a governmental agency who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and who has the statutory powers of arrest. In addition, the law enforcement officer must:

  • be authorized by the agency to carry a firearm
  • meet the agency’s necessary qualifications to carry a firearm
  • be in good standing with the agency
  • not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • not be prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm

Identification required:

  • the photographic identification issued by the governmental agency by which the individual is employed. A badge qualifies as long as it has a photo ID with it.

In Montana, an officer’s P.O.S.T. certification fulfills the requirements of this act.

Retired Officers

The federal legislation defines a qualified retired law enforcement officer as anyone who retired from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer as defined above and did so in good standing. In addition, the individual must:

  • have been a law enforcement officer a total of at least 15 years
  • have completed the employer’s required probationary period, if retiring due to a service-connected disability
  • have a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan of a law enforcement agency
  • have met, during the most recent 12-month period, at his or her own expense, the same standards for training and qualification to carry a firearm as are required for active law enforcement officers in his or her resident state
  • not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • not be prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm

Identification required:

  • a photo ID issued by the law enforcement agency from which the individual retired that indicates that he or she has met the same standards to carry a firearm as are required by that agency for active law enforcement officers, or
  • a photo ID issued by the law enforcement agency from which the individual retired, and a certification issued by the individual’s state of residence that indicates he or she has met, during the most recent 12-month period, at his or her own expense, the same standards for training and qualification to carry a firearm as are required for active law enforcement officers in his or her resident state

However, because the federal legislation contained no funding to create state or local programs to qualify retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed weapon under this provision, there are few agencies that offer such programs. While some smaller local agencies may qualify their retirees, such programs are not generally available in Montana and few retired officers here are therefore able to carry concealed weapons under this federal legislation.

While a retired law enforcement officer may have a Montana concealed weapons permit, having that Montana permit does not meet the firearms qualifications required by the federal act and does not allow retired officers to operate under its provisions, either in Montana or when they travel out of state.