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Montana Gun Control Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

While the federal government has some limited regulations on firearms, gun control laws are primarily a state law issue. As such, gun control laws vary widely from one state to another.

Montana Gun Control Laws

Montana gun control laws are some of the most permissive in the country. A Montana resident does not need a registration, license, or permit to purchase or possess firearms.

A background check is not required under state law when buying a firearm in a private sale, although local ordinances may apply. Missoula, for example, has an ordinance requiring background checks for firearm sales and transfers between private individuals. State law does require background checks for the purchase of firearms from a retailer. In addition, someone can be denied the ability to purchase a firearm in Montana if:

  • They are intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of purchase.
  • They are a child under the age of 14.

Concealed Weapons

Montana law allows people to carry concealed weapons if they have a valid Montana or out-of-state permit to do so. The application process is conducted at the local sheriff's office. A county sheriff will issue the permit within 60 days of filing your application.

Requirements For A Concealed Weapons Permit

In order to obtain a concealed weapons permit, here are some of the requirements:

  • You must be a Montana resident for at least six (6) months;
  • You must be a U.S. citizen;
  • You must be at least 18 years old;
  • You must have completed weapons training courses;
  • You must have paid the application fee.

Can a Non-Resident Carry a Concealed Weapon?

Montana recognizes concealed weapons permits from some other states. Non-residents must meet the following criteria to carry a concealed weapon in Montana:

  • The permit holder must have photo identification;
  • 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.

Montana Gun Control Laws at a Glance

The basics of Montana's gun control laws are listed below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws for more information.

Code Section(s)

Montana Code Annotated, Title 45, Section 45-8-301, et seq.

Illegal Arms Sawed-off rifle or shotgun; machine guns except registered and on own property; silencer.
Waiting Period For Gun Purchase None
State Laws Governing Private Firearms Sales Montana state law does not regulate the private sales of firearms, but federal law does and local ordinances may also apply.
Concealed Weapons Permit Requirement
  • 18 years of age,
  • Resident of Montana for at least six (6) months,
  • One (1) form of valid identification
Who May Be Denied a Concealed Weapons Permit Persons with a history of drug abuse, convictions, or an incomplete status in mandatory weapons training.
Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit
  • Fine of up to $500;
  • Maximum of six (6) months in jail, or both;
  • Second conviction can incur a fine of up to $1,000, up to five (5) years in prison, or both.
Misc. Laws Montana has preemption laws that prevents municipal or county governments from enacting gun laws more restrictive than state law (Section 7-1-111 and Section 45-8-351). However, as in the case of Missoula's laws regarding background checks for private sales, this preemption may not always apply.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Montana Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

More Questions About Montana Gun Laws? Get Answers from a Legal Professional

Although Montana does have more permissive gun laws, there are still laws and processes that must be followed to legally purchase and possess firearms in the state. These laws are also always subject to change which is why it's important to speak with an attorney familiar with gun laws in your state. An attorney can not only answer your specific questions, but can also represent you if you're facing criminal charges. Get in touch with a local criminal law attorney near you today.

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