Montana Gun Laws


Montana is the fourth-largest (area) state and is surrounded by Canada to the north, North and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south, and Idaho to the southwest.  Although it is a large state, the population is small and spread out, with Montana being only the seventh least-populous state in the United States.

A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Montana Constitution states:

“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.”


B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of the Montana preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“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.”


C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Montana will recognize another state’s license to carry if the following conditions are met:

“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 Attorney General at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time. Montana’s reciprocity agreement can be viewed here: []

D. Criminal Provisions

Under Montana law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Montana, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity between his or her state of license and Montana: