June 1st, 2008 11:37 AM
Carry Laws in Montana
My 19 yo daughter is going backpacking in Montana this summer outside of glacier national park. My understanding is that she can carry open or concealed in forests, backcountry when she is hiking or fishing and other lands but can not carry concealed in a city. Is my understanding correct? Once she returns to her car, she should put the handgun in the trunk of her car. Can she place the gun in her backpack inside the passenger compartment?
June 1st, 2008 12:34 PM
June 1st, 2008 12:35 PM
Places off-limits when carrying:
1. Portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted
2. 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:
a. using an institution's drive-up window, automatic teller machine, or unstaffed night depository; or
b. 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.
3. 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.
4. All buildings owned or leased by a local school district that are used for instruction or for student activities
Also note that she cannot carry at all if she is going to be inside Glacier National Park (or any other National Park or National REC Area). That may change in the future, but for now the ban is still in place
Montana is a traditional open carry state. Localities are substantially preempted, but have limited 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.
June 1st, 2008 01:52 PM
1943 - 2009
Here is a direct link to the actual Montana statutes:
Table of Contents, Title 45, Chapter 8, MCA
Yes. MCA 45-8-317.
My understanding is that she can carry open or concealed in forests, backcountry when she is hiking or fishing and other lands but can not carry concealed in a city. Is my understanding correct?
Yes. MCA 45-8-315 defines a concealed weapon and that "concealed" means "wholly or partially covered by the clothing or wearing apparel of the person carrying or bearing the weapon".
Can she place the gun in her backpack inside the passenger compartment?
Like RWW said, she can't carry in GNP. Her unloaded firearm must be securely stored in the trunk of her vehicle in the Park.
Yes, Montana is a traditional open carry State, but open carry in city limits is not a common activity. In ten years, I have seen exactly one person open carrying a holstered pistol in Kalispell.
It boils down to this: It is not a crime to carry a concealed weapon in Montana outside of the boundaries of an incorporated city or town.
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier.
June 2nd, 2008 12:24 PM
I used to live in the Bitterroot and I regularly open-carried both in the woods and in town. I never had a permit, didn't really need one. Most people didn't even give you a second glance. There are a number of people I saw open carry in public, mostly old-timers.
Heck, me and my buddies used to load magazines while eating in our favorite local restaurant before going shooting. The waitresses would just laugh at us. Probably should not attempt open carry in Missoula or Kalispell however. ;) You won't get in trouble with the law for it, but you'll likely be attacked by rabid hippies.
June 17th, 2008 12:01 PM
21 or 19?
Your daughter will be fine carrying open so long as she knows the rules and does not carry open in GNP.
You CAN carry open or concealed in the city. You will need to have a permit to carry concealed in a city. No permit to carry open.
If your car is in GNP. You need to unload it and place it in a locked case, trunk or glove box. If you have it in the glove box, make sure to keep the insurance and registration somewhere else.
If your car is outside of GNP, you can keep the gun loaded in plain sight. I usually take mine out of the holster and put on top of the center counsel.
If you have any other questions. Don't be afraid to contact the Sheriff's department of Flathead Valley. They know the rules and deal with law abiding gun owners on a daily basis who carry open and concealed. They are very helpful and friendly towards gun owners. Their business number is 406 406-758-5585
Another thing to consider is bear spray for your daughter when she is in GNP. Counter assault is made in Kalispell Montana and really works well. Their web page is Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray, The Original "Grizzly Tough" Pepper Spray! You wont see many bears when you are on the regular trails but if she explores around a bit she will.
Good luck and hope she has fun in our woods!
June 17th, 2008 08:57 PM
Not my intent to hijack this, just want to add my 2 cents because of the seriousness. More and more evidence is pointing to Pepper spray as the best defense against bears. Way more effective on target than a handgun, and the only defense if you go into a Nat Park.
Originally Posted by storm6490mt
Having said that, I always carry a handgun as well. Bears aren't the only possible problem.
She will love her trip. Unbelievable state.
"You're already flying upside down. You might as well turn on the smoke and have some fun."
- Laurence Gonzales - "Deep Survival"
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