Constitutional Carry vs. Permit carry in Montana: What’s better?
You’ve probably heard of constitutional carry, or at least heard someone say “constitutional carry” in recent years here in Montana. Constitutional this, constitutional that. What does it mean? And what does it mean to you as a Montanan?
Constitutional carry according to Wikipedia refers to the legal public carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit, and usually only refers to handguns rather than long guns or even knives. This means you, as a Montanan, can carry a handgun without a permit almost anywhere without breaking the law.
Current Montana Governor Greg Gianforte passed House Bill 102 in 2021 allowing both residents and non-residents in the state of Montana to carry without a permit. He also opened places that where at one point were gun-free zones to open carry such as colleges and universities. This happened after previous governors vetoed House Bill 271 in 2011 (Gov. Schweitzer) and House Bill 298 in 2015 (Gov. Bullock) according to Wikipedia.
According to the Montana Department of Justice there are places you can and can’t carry, and also places where a concealed carry is only permitted.
You can find the info here:
Also know the term reciprocity, which is states have an agreement to honor each other's concealed carry permits. One can get into very hot water without knowing reciprocity states and result in a felony. No one wants a felony, right?
I beg the question, should one still have a concealed permit even when state law dictates that one doesn’t need one? Personally, I would say yes.
The permit shows that you're going through the appropriate channels as a LAW-ABIDING citizen to carry a handgun.
If you are stopped by law enforcement with a handgun in your britches It more than likely and preemptively clears of you of any prior felonies, gun-related or not through the permit if it is current, they will check your record and permit.
One CAN NOT obtain a permit if there is element of felony arrest prior to petition. If you do not have said permit, one can be held up in detainment for some time getting facts straight, and it gets worse if you are under the influence of ANY substance, legal or not. It’s the same for permit carry as well, so its ill-advised and unsafe to carry during a night on the town.
In Montana, if you have a conceal carry permit, in some cases that works as a background check when purchasing firearms, and that makes things very smooth.
We all want to feel safe in knowing there’s something we can do in bad situation, and it's your right as a Montanan and a citizen of the United States of America. Know the laws and boundaries to keep one’s self safe.