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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
Note: Montana sometimes refers to their concealed carry permit as a concealed weapons permit (CWP).
- Must be a minimum of 18 years old to apply
- Must reside in Montana for at least 6 months
- Valid for 4 years
- Costs $50-60 (+$Safety Course), depending on your county of residence
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm may open carry. No permit is required in this case.
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm may concealed carry outside the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camp. No permit is required in this case. Go here for more details.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed weapons permit.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Montana is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a concealed weapons permit in Montana, you are required to apply at the sheriff’s office in your county of residence.
- Complete a Montana approved firearm training course. Generally, courses taught by a nationally recognized institution such as the National Rifle Association are accepted.
- Note: Contact your local sheriff’s office to ensure the course you take is approved. Montana law is quite broad in regards to what courses are accepted.
- Go to the sheriff’s office in your county of residence to apply. Bring the following items:
- A copy of the certificate that proves you completed an approved training course.
- Your MT state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- Application fee: $50-$60, depending on your county of residence.
- The sheriff’s office may then take a complete set of fingerprints to be used for your criminal background check.
After these steps are completed, the Sheriff’s office is legally required to inform you in 60 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. Many Sheriff’s offices have been reported to approve applications in as little as 15 minutes. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
Your application is almost guaranteed to be denied if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- School grounds.
- Indian reservations.
- On state game preserves.
- Post offices.
- On trains.
- Inside banks, credit unions, or similar institutions.
- Military bases.
- Portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Bars, or establishments or portions of establishments licensed to distribute alcohol for consumption on the premises.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Note: Firearms are prohibited in certain National Park buildings and facilities.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout MT
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have a MT or MT recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a loaded handgun (concealed or open) on your person in a vehicle.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you legally possess a firearm, but you do not have a MT or MT recognized concealed carry permit, you can open carry a loaded handgun on your person in a vehicle. You are eligible to concealed carry in your vehicle outside of cities, towns, logging, lumbering, mining and railroad camps.
Within cities, towns, logging, lumbering, mining and railroad camps, you may carry a loaded handgun in your center console or glove box. This is because under Montana Code 45-8-315, concealed is defined as wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon.
Additional Notes About MT Handgun Law
Does MT Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does MT Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does MT Recognize?
MT recognizes the concealed carry permits issued by the following states:
Reciprocity – Where is the MT Permit Recognized?
The MT concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:
- March 31, 2018 – West Virginia now recognizes the Montana permit – graphic updated.