Montana Knife Laws

Montana knife lawsMontana is very strict for the knife concealing issues but there remain some confusion and exception about which we are going to provide every possible explanation.

Here, knife owning laws are friendly except for some restrictions. You have to know the blade size of the knives first as this is an important factor here for the knife-users.

To know more in detail, this article might help you with the broad discussion of the knife laws in Montana.


Knives that are Illegal to Own

“Switchblade knives” are completely banned for a person to carry, own, possess, use, and sell/purchase or even offer to sell.


Definition of a Switchblade

In the code 45-8-331, switchblade has been defined as a knife with one-one & half inches of blade size or longer than that and which opens automatically by a hand pressure.


What will be the Punishment?

Those who violate the law shall be punished by,

  1. Imprisonment of not more than six (6) months in the county jail and or,
  2. A fine of not more than $500



The law mentioned above won’t be applied to a bona fide or an authentic or a lawful collector who has already registered for his collections with the sheriff of the state or country.

“Montana Title no. 45 Crimes § 45-8-331: Switchblade knives” – this section explains this all clearly. (Source:

“(1) A person who carries or bears upon the individual’s person, who carries or bears within or on any motor vehicle or other means of conveyance owned or operated by the person, or who owns, possesses, uses, stores, gives away, sells, or offers for sale a switchblade knife shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

(2) A bona fide collector whose collection is registered with the sheriff of the county in which the collection is located is exempted from the provisions of this section.

(3) For the purpose of this section, a switchblade knife is defined as any knife that has a blade 1 1/2 inches long or longer that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other devices in the handle of the knife.”

Knife Carrying Laws

Knife carrying laws are divided into two sections- open carry laws & concealed carry laws.


Open Carry Laws

In Montana, it is legal to carry openly any legal knife except for the switchblades. There is no restriction for carrying knives openly of any blade size.


Concealed Carry Laws

Knife concealed carry laws in Montana are broad with different rules.

First of all, it is a crime if someone conceals any knife. Especially, if the knives are specifically the dirks, daggers, billy, metal knuckles, razors and most importantly, any knives with the four (4) inches longer blade size or any kind of deadly weapons/knives.

Then, there are some exceptions and we are going to explain them respectively later.


What will be the Punishment?

If someone violates the law of concealing knives, he/she will be punished by,

  • Imprisonment of not more than six (6) months in the county jail and or,
  • A fine of not more than $500.

The punishment is different for the persons who have previously been convicted of an offense. It will be then,

  • Imprisonment of not more than five (5) years in the state prison and or,
  • A fine of not more than $1,000.

“Montana Title 45. Crimes § 45-8-316: Carrying Concealed Weapons” tells about the concealing issue. (Source:


“(1) A person who carries or bears concealed upon the individual’s person a dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife having a blade 4 inches long or longer, razor, not including a safety razor, or other deadly weapon shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

(2) A person who has previously been convicted of an offense, committed on a different occasion than the offense under this section, in this state or any other jurisdiction for which… shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for a period not exceeding 5 years, or both.”


The laws for concealing knives won’t be applied to some individuals in some particular situations and that is the exception.

These are,

  • Any peace officer of any of the states of America who has got the power of arresting anybody.
  • Peace officers of the US who are authorized or have the permit to conceal carry any knives or weapons.
  • A member of the National Guard on his/her duties.
  • If anyone is in charge of one of the persons’ that is mentioned above.
  • When a civil officer is engaged in official business tasks.
  • Probation & parole officers are authorized to carry knives concealed.
  • If a person has the permit issued to carry any knife concealed.
  • When someone is an agent of the Dept. of Justice or Criminal Investigator.
  • For the purposes such as lawful hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, farming or other activities that require knives and when someone is in need of using any knives for his/her own protection or recreation, it is legal to use one. This is applicable when someone is outside of the town and out of his/her official boundaries.
  • Anyone can carry a knife on their private home premises or on his/her business places.
  • A legislative security officer can carry a knife with a permit be issued.

“Montana Title 45. Crimes § 45-8-317: Exceptionsexplains about this all. (Source:


“(1) Section 45-8-316 does not apply to:


(a) any peace officer of the state of Montana or of another state who has the power to make arrests;

(b) any officer of the United States government authorized to carry a concealed weapon;

(c) a person in actual service as a member of the national guard;

(d) a person summoned to the aid of any of the persons named in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(c);

(e) a civil officer or the officer’s deputy engaged in the discharge of official business;

(f) a probation and parole officer authorized to carry a firearm under 46-23-1002 ;

(g) a person issued a permit under (g) 45-8-321 or a person with a permit recognized under 45-8-329 ;

(h) an agent of the department of justice or a criminal investigator in a county attorney’s office;

(i) a person who is outside the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining, or railroad camp or who is lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, or other outdoor activity in which weapons are often carried for recreation or protection;

(j) the carrying of arms on one’s own premises or at one’s home or place of business;  or

(k) the carrying of a concealed weapon in the state capitol by a legislative security officer who has been issued a permit under (k) 45-8-321 or with a permit recognized under 45-8-329 .”



Blade Size

As it is mentioned above, knives are safe to carry concealed when they are within the blade length limit of four (4) inches. So, it is better to use or carry a knife that is less than four inches otherwise, this might be problematic.


Knife Laws for the Schools

Montana does not allow anyone to carry any knives or weapons on the school premises and that is illegal and whoever violates the law shall be punished.

  • It is a crime if anyone knowingly and unlawfully possesses carries and stores a weapon as well as a knife on the school premises.
  • When a parent or guardian of a minor allows or permits their child to carry or possess a knife or weapon knowingly and unlawfully on the school premises and this is also illegal.

The code “§ 45-8-61: Possession or Allowing Possession of Weapon in School Building” describes this thoroughly.


“(1) A person commits the offense of possession of a weapon in a school building if the person purposely and knowingly possesses, carries, or stores a weapon in a school building.

(2) A parent or guardian of a minor commits the offense of allowing possession of a weapon in a school building if the parent or guardian purposely and knowingly permits the minor to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building.


Punishment for Violation

Whoever violates the laws mentioned above will be punished by,

  • Imprisonment of not more than six (6) months and or,
  • A fine of not more than $500.

Section “§ 45-8-61: Penalties” explains this.



“(4) (a) A person convicted under this section shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500, imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or both. The court shall consider alternatives to incarceration that are available in the community.”



Some individuals can carry or possess a knife or weapon in the school area when they are,

  • A member of the law enforcement.
  • When someone is given permission authentically from the trustees of a district.

Section “§ 45-8-61: Exceptions,” tells about this.


“(3) (a) Subsection (1) does not apply to law enforcement personnel.

(b) The trustees of a district may grant persons and entities advance permission to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building.”


Definition of Weapon

Here in the statements above, weapon means not only firearms but also a knife having a blade of four (4) inches or more than that and metal or brass knuckles, throwing stars or other martial arts’ weapons like nun-chucks.

Section “§ 45-8-61: Definitions” mentions this.


“(5) As used in this section:

(b) “weapon” means any type of firearm, a knife with a blade 4 or more inches in length, a sword, a straight razor, a throwing star, nun-chucks, or brass or other metal knuckles. The term also includes any other article or instrument possessed with the purpose to commit a criminal offense.”


So, it is illegal to carry any knives on the school premises that is above four inches of blade size.


Knives that are Legal to Own

Other than the restricted knife “switchblade”, all knives are legal to own in Montana. For instances,

  • All kinds of pocket knives
  • Balisong knives
  • Knives that are disguised under pen, cane, lipstick etc.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos and other double-edged knives
  • Bowie knives and other large single-edged knives
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives and other martial arts’ weapons
  • All sorts of undetectable knives are legal to own.


Sum up to the Knife Laws in Montana

Switchblades are banned here like in most other states. Carrying concealed any dangerous knives that can cause harm to anybody is also illegal in Montana.

Those who violate the laws are also punishable immediately. You might not defend yourself from being punished if you are found with a deadly knife with you. But if you are one of the authorized or permitted personnel, there you may prove your legality otherwise, it is better to be careful.

Knife laws in Montana are quite friendly unless your intention of using knives is good. Know the laws for your betterment.






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