Understanding the gun laws in different states across the U.S. can be a little confusing to most, especially that they are continuously being amended due to social progression. As a law-abiding American, it is our duty to stay up to date with these changes. Good thing, when you are living in the state of Montana, gun laws are pretty much straightforward. 

Unlike other states, Montana's gun laws are very permissive. The state operates on an Unrestricted and Shall-issue policy. This means that the state can issue a permit to all legally eligible to possess a firearm and are at least 18 years old. Concealed carry is also legal when the gun is carried outside a town or a city and engaging in activities like logging, mining, railroad camp, fishing, hunting, hiking, farming, or backpacking. 

As a shall-issue state, permits are being issued to eligible individuals at the local level. The county sheriff's office is where you need to apply to get a Montana gun permit. If you are planning to apply for a Montana concealed carry license anytime soon, then you are in the right place. We have come up with a short guide that would guide you in the process of obtaining a gun permit in the state of Montana. 

Here's everything you need to know: 

Montana CCW Permits and Gun Laws

As an Unrestricted and shall-issue state, Montana's permissive gun laws allow for individuals at the age of 18 and older to open carry as long as they are legally permitted to possess a firearm. However, some areas may be off-limits; that is why it is essential to know where you can carry a handgun. Some of the off-limit regions include government and federal buildings, schools, churches, and what have you. 

Furthermore, there is also no firearm registration requirement in Montana, and you can purchase a gun without having to wait for a specific time as there is no mandated waiting period in the state. Carrying a loaded handgun within a vehicle is legal as long as you have a valid concealed carry permit. Otherwise, you can only carry your loaded handgun in your car outside cities or towns.

When purchasing a firearm, no permit is necessary before buying a gun from a private individual; however, a background check is needed when purchasing one from any Federal Firearms Dealer. It is important to note that Montana Concealed Weapon Permit holders are exempted from this requirement. 

Montana Handgun Licenses

Even though Montana does not necessarily require gun owners to obtain a gun permit before they can carry their pistols in public, the state still issues gun permits to those who apply for different reasons. One of these reasons is for the purpose of reciprocity. These licenses are issued on a local level by the county sheriff's office. If you're still unsure about all of these concepts, the next sections will explain in detail everything you need to know about handgun licenses in Montana. 

Montana Concealed Carry Handgun License

In order to obtain a Montana Concealed Carry Permit, there are several requirements that you need to meet. As earlier mentioned, Montana's gun laws are very permissive. In the same fashion, it only requires a few things before they issue a license. For an application to be approved and the applicant be issued with a valid gun permit, he or she must: 

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Have been a Montana resident for 6 months;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a firearm;
  • Have a valid form of photo ID issued by the state, such as a driver's license; and
  • Must meet federal law requirements.

Pursuant to federal gun laws, the following persons are PROHIBITED from obtaining a firearm license: 

  • Fugitives from justice
  • Persons who are unlawful users of or are addicted to narcotics or any other controlled substances (including medical marijuana, see below)
  • Persons adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution
  • Persons who have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year
  • Persons who are under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year
  • Military veterans discharged under dishonorable conditions
  • Persons who have renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Aliens illegally in the U.S.
  • Persons subject to a court order that restrains them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner
  • And persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

Applying for a Montana Concealed Carry Permit is pretty straightforward. In general, these applications need to be done in the county of residence of the applicants. For more information, below is a step-by-step guide to processing an application for a gun permit in Montana:


Complete a firearms training course, if required.


Download the online application from your home county or pick up from your local sheriff's office. Fill the form up with factual and accurate information.


Take the completed application to the county sheriff's office or submit online where applicable and pay the fee. Please include the following when submitting your applications:

  • Three completed and signed reference forms;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Certificate from firearms course

Please note that you will be fingerprinted.


You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.

Before your gun permit expires, you need to renew it. In order to avoid penalties, you need to renew your existing license up to 90 days before it expires. Take note that applicants who already had their permits expired must reapply and they will be charged with a new application fee as well as an additional $5.00 for the fingerprinting fee. For a detailed process of renewal, please refer to the table below: 


Download the online application from your home county or pick up from your local sheriff's office. Fill the form up with honest and accurate information.


Take the completed application to the county sheriff's office or submit online where applicable and pay the fee. Please include the following when submitting your applications:

  • Contact information for three references who are not relatives or employers; and
  • Photo ID.


You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.

The following are the fees that you need to pay when applying for or renewing a Montana Concealed Carry Permit: 

Application (Four yrs. validity)


Renewal (Four yrs. validity)


Fingerprinting Fee (For late renewal)


Please note that the application for a license, as well as the renewal of existing ones, can take up to 60 days after the request has been received. Furthermore, lost and stolen permits are tagged as renewals, and you need to apply according to the guidelines set by your own county. It is best to contact your county sheriff’s office within the first few days of the loss of your license to help you with the process they follow for this specific renewal. 

Montana CCW Laws

Must Notify Officer


Montana gun laws do not state you have to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a firearm or carry a permit if you are a resident. If you are using a permit from another state that Montana honors then the law says you must be carrying your permit/license and ID.

Vehicle Carry


With no permit you can carry concealed outside of cities and towns. This applies in or out of a vehicle. In a city or town then a loaded firearm must be in the glove box or console. A permit would allow you to concealed carry your gun inside a vehicle.

Open Carry


Open carry in Montana is legal and accepted. However, be aware that it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in cities or towns. It is also legal to carry a concealed weapon outside city or town limits without a permit.

No Weapons Allowed signs enforced?


No law prohibits you from entering a private property with “no guns allowed” signs. However, once the owners of the property ask you to leave because you are carrying, you must leave. Otherwise, you will be charged with a trespassing violation

Purchase and Possession

A permit is not required by the state of Montana to purchase any rifle, shotgun, or handgun. 

A permit is not required to possess any rifle, shotgun, or handgun in the state of Montana.

It is illegal for a minor under age 14 to carry or use a firearm in a public place unless under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian, or a qualified safety instructor previously authorized by the parent or guardian.  It is illegal for a parent to allow the minor child under age 14 to carry or use a firearm in a public place as well.

It is illegal to store, carry, or possess a firearm in a school building or (if a parent) to knowingly allow a minor to do so. 

Carrying a Firearm

A permit to carry concealed is required for individuals carrying or bearing a concealed handgun.  Open carry of a firearm is legal if an individual is not prohibited by any federal or state law to do so.  It is legal for persons carrying firearms openly to communicate this fact to other individuals.

The term, “concealed” refers to carrying a firearm in such a manner that an individual’s clothing covers the firearm either partially or fully.  Concealed carry restrictions are not applicable to peace officers, persons outside of the boundaries of a city or town, or stationed within a logging, lumbering, mining, or railroad camp, or while engaged in the activity of hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, farming, trapping, or other activity outdoors where the carry of weapons is necessary for either protection, or recreational purposes, or while carrying at one’s place of residence or business.

A permit to carry concealed is valid for a four-year period and shall be issued by the county sheriff within 60 days of application.  To obtain a concealed carry permit, the applicant must be age 18 or older, a U.S. citizen, in possession of a valid picture ID issued by the state of Missouri, and a resident of Missouri for the prior six months. A permit to carry concealed will be denied because the applicant is or has been:  ineligible to own, possess, or receive a firearm under Montana or federal law, charged with a crime in any state for a federal or state crime and is awaiting judgment that would be punishable for a period of incarceration for one or more years, or has committed a crime of certain acts, attempted acts, or threats, (regardless of the sentence to be imposed); or has committed a crime and been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence, or has carried in a location that is prohibited, and has not received any pardon for such an offense, or was discharged from U.S. military service dishonorably, or currently has an outstanding warrant for his/her arrest, or has been determined to be an abuser of drugs or alcohol and has been placed in a treatment program or educational program, or has been incarcerated, placed on probation, or given a suspended or deferred sentence, or any other condition of release, or is under state supervision for the substance abuse; or has been determined to be mentally ill, defective, or impaired by a court of law, and is still under the disposition as such.

If it is believed that an individual is mentally ill or defective, or is disabled, or poses a threat to the public, a permit to carry firearms may be denied.  Unless an applicant is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, the sheriff will provide an applicant who is denied a permit to carry, an explanation in writing as to the reason for the denial.  In some cases, where otherwise eligible, citizens with prior felony convictions may be entitled to a concealed carry permit if their rights have been restored. An applicant must complete a safety course that demonstrates familiarity with a firearm or have completed such a course in another state and been issued a license to carry upon completion.

The charge for a first time permit is $50.00 and renewal is $25.00.  There may be a $5.00 fee for fingerprinting that must be done at the time of application.  A criminal background check shall also be conducted on every applicant.  If a current permit holder does not meet requirements necessary to obtain an original permit, the permit may be revoked or its renewal denied.  Any such action may be appealed before the District Court and (if no resolution), the Montana Supreme Court.  Any change in address must be reported within a 10-day period. 

No person or agency who issues a permit shall be liable for damages resulting in death, injury or property damage by any individual or entity for improper issuance, renewal or failure to revoke a permit, unless gross negligence or willful misconduct is responsible.

It is illegal to, with full knowledge, carry a firearm concealed while under the influence of a mind/mood altering substance.  It is further illegal to carry concealed in any building or part of a building that is occupied by state or local government, or other areas of the building that are restricted.  Financial institutions are restricted from concealed carry with the exception of drive-up windows, ATM’s, unstaffed night depositories or branches located within a grocery store or a mall, or other location, unless inside an enclosed area of the branch used for financial services, or any area or room where alcohol is consumed, sold, or dispensed on the premises under a license to do so.

A permit issued from another state for the carry of a concealed weapon shall be valid in Montana if the permittee possesses an official identification photograph, and carries this with the permit.  Reciprocity is also contingent on the issuing state requiring a background check for applicants. 

Antiques & Replicas

The state of Montana does not post separate statutes for antiques and replicas.  For carrying and possession purposes they are treated as regular firearms.

Machine Guns

A machine gun refers to a firearm that can discharge more than one round of ammunition by a single function of the trigger.

A violent crime, or attempted violent crime while in possession of a machine gun shall be punishable by a prison term of not less than 20 years.  It is presumed that the possession or use of a machine gun by an individual convicted for a crime of violence is for offensive or aggressive purposes.

It is not prohibited to possess a machine gun for purposes of scientific research, or as a keepsake, ornament, or curiosity, or for uses that are non- aggressive. 

Range Protection

The legislature seeks to preserve the rights for safe use and enjoyment of shooting raises.

MONT. CODE ANN. § 76-9-101. Policy

It is the policy of the state of Montana to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state by promoting the safety and enjoyment of the shooting sports among the citizens of the state and by protecting the locations of and investment in shooting ranges for shotgun, archery, rifle, and pistol shooting. 

MONT. CODE ANN § 45-8-111 Public Nuisance

(5) Noises resulting from the shooting activities at a shooting range during established hours of operation are not considered a public nuisance. 

Montana Concealed Carry Reciprocity

The state of Montana recognizes the validity of concealed carry permits issued by some states. However, in order for Montana to honor a non-resident permit issued by his/her home state, he/she must meet the following criteria: 

  • The state that issued his or her 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.

Once you have met the said criteria, you can conceal carry a handgun within the state of Montana in equivalence to residents who hold a Montana CC Permit.

Montana's Reciprocity States

States that honor a Montana permit

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Montana honors permits from these states

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, 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


Districts & Territories
New York City

Where you CAN'T carry

  1. Any establishment that sells and dispense intoxicating substances, especially those that allow the consumption of alcohol within its premises. 
  2. Schools of all levels, including building that a school or student organization rented for a school-related activity. 
  3. Portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted.
  4. Financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and other similar establishments. It is not an offense under this section to carry a concealed weapon while: 
    1. using an institution’s drive-up window, automatic teller machine, or unstaffed night depository; or
    2. at or near a branch office of an institution in a mall, grocery store, or other places unless the person is inside the enclosure used for the institution’s financial services or is using the institution’s financial services.
  5. On trains.
  6. Other places as prohibited by federal law.

Where you CAN carry

  1. State parks
  2. State and national forests
  3. Roadside rest areas
  4. Vehicles


If a firearm is possessed by a law enforcement agency that was not purchased for agency use and is legal for any law-abiding individual to own, or if the lawful owner cannot be located, the agency must not destroy the firearm but sell it to a licensed firearms dealer.  The state reserves the exclusive right to bring legal action against any manufacturer, trade association, or dealer for abatement, injunctive relief or tort damage involving the design, manufacture, sale, or marketing of firearms or ammunition to the public.  The state may file suit on behalf of local government, or itself, or both. 

The regulation of transfer, delay of transfer, taxation, license, registration, ownership, transportation, carry, possession, or use of firearms is not allowed by any local government.

A local government may however, regulate any discharge of firearms and prohibit the carry of such into any public building, assembly, park or school, as well as possession where it involves minors or other persons prohibited.

No individual may discharge a firearm within the limits of a city, town, or private area where there is a residence.

It is illegal to hunt game from any motorized vehicle or towed vehicle, or on any public highway.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm across or from any highway.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm while on a snowmobile.It is illegal to obscure the manufacturer’s serial number on a firearm, or remove it in any way for purposes of misrepresenting, concealing, or transferring the firearm.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Open carry is legal in Montana without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm with several restrictions.

No. There is no need to register your firearms. 


Yes, you can carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle anywhere in the state with a valid concealed carry permit, but only outside of cities or towns without a permit.

There is no Montana state law regarding age restrictions on the purchase or possession of firearms. However, it is unlawful for a parent, guardian, or other person having charge or custody of a minor child under the age of 14 years to permit the minor child to carry or use in public any firearms.

Montana Off Limit Statues

(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. 

amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 384, L. 2011. 

(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 his 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 imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

amd. Sec. 1716, Ch. 56, L. 2009 

(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.

amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 581, L. 1999.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit may not prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer (including delay in purchase, sale, or other transfer), ownership, possession, transportation, use, or unconcealed carrying of any weapon, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, or concealed handgun.

(2) (a) For public safety purposes, a city or town may regulate the discharge of rifles, shotguns, and handguns. A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction, or school, and the possession of firearms
by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors.

(b) Nothing contained in this section allows any government to prohibit the legitimate display of firearms at shows or other public occasions by collectors and others or to prohibit the legitimate transportation of firearms through any jurisdiction, whether in airports or otherwise.

Sec. 3, Ch. 384, L. 2011.

A landlord or operator of a hotel or motel may not, by contract or otherwise, prevent a tenant or a guest of a tenant from possessing on the premises a firearm that it is legal for the tenant or guest to possess. A landlord or operator of a hotel or motel may prohibit the discharge of a firearm on the premises except in self-defense.

En.Sec. 6, Ch. 332, L. 2009.