Montana Department of Justice
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Montana law allows people to carry concealed weapons if he or she has a valid Montana or out-of-state permit to do so.

No weapons, concealed or otherwise, are allowed in school buildings in Montana.

Even with a concealed weapons permit, you may not carry a concealed weapon in the following places:

  • buildings owned or leased by the federal, state or local government
  • financial institutions
  • any place where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed

In addition, be sure to check local regulations, which may restrict carrying concealed weapons at public meetings, and in public parks and buildings.

County sheriffs can provide information on where concealed weapons are prohibited in their counties.

Montana has no prohibitions against carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Montana Residents

To obtain a Montana concealed weapons permit, a person must:

  • have been a Montana resident for at least six months
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • be at least 18 years old

Applications are available from the local county sheriff’s office. This site provides a sample application so people can review what is required and gather the necessary documentation prior to going to their sheriff’s office. The form is clearly marked as a “sample only” and cannot be used in place of the application provided by the local sheriff’s office.

Montana residents who want to know if their permits are valid in another state must check with the specific state in which they want to carry a 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 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.
  • The permit holder must have photo identification.

The Attorney General’s Office has determined that concealed weapons permits from the following states are recognized under Montana law:

New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

People who hold permits from the following states may not carry concealed weapons in Montana because their state laws do not expressly require background checks of permit applicants:

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Vermont does not issue concealed weapons permits.

Law Enforcement Officers

Federal legislation signed in July 2004 exempts current and retired law enforcement officers from Montana’s concealed weapon statute. Any qualified law enforcement officer with proper identification can carry a concealed weapon, overruling state concealed weapons laws to the contrary.


Active Officers

Under the federal law, a qualified law enforcement officer is defined as a current employee of a governmental agency who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and who has the statutory powers of arrest. In addition, the law enforcement officer must:

  • be authorized by the agency to carry a firearm
  • meet the agency’s necessary qualifications to carry a firearm
  • be in good standing with the agency
  • not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • not be prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm

Identification required:

  • the photographic identification issued by the governmental agency by which the individual is employed. A badge qualifies as long as it has a photo ID with it.

In Montana, an officer’s P.O.S.T. certification fulfills the requirements of this act.

Retired Officers

The federal legislation defines a qualified retired law enforcement officer as anyone who retired from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer as defined above and did so in good standing. In addition, the individual must:

  • have been a law enforcement officer a total of at least 15 years
  • have completed the employer’s required probationary period, if retiring due to a service-connected disability
  • have a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan of a law enforcement agency
  • have met, during the most recent 12-month period, at his or her own expense, the same standards for training and qualification to carry a firearm as are required for active law enforcement officers in his or her resident state
  • not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • not be prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm

Identification required:

  • a photo ID issued by the law enforcement agency from which the individual retired that indicates that he or she has met the same standards to carry a firearm as are required by that agency for active law enforcement officers, or
  • a photo ID issued by the law enforcement agency from which the individual retired, and a certification issued by the individual’s state of residence that indicates he or she has met, during the most recent 12-month period, at his or her own expense, the same standards for training and qualification to carry a firearm as are required for active law enforcement officers in his or her resident state

However, because the federal legislation contained no funding to create state or local programs to qualify retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed weapon under this provision, there are few agencies that offer such programs. While some smaller local agencies may qualify their retirees, such programs are not generally available in Montana and few retired officers here are therefore able to carry concealed weapons under this federal legislation.

While a retired law enforcement officer may have a Montana concealed weapons permit, having that Montana permit does not meet the firearms qualifications required by the federal act and does not allow retired officers to operate under its provisions, either in Montana or when they travel out of state.


Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.


Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.


Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.


Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.


Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.


Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.


Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and local and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.


Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department of Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.


Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.


Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.


Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.


Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.


Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.


Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.


Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.


Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.


Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.


Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.


Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.


Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.


Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.