Montana Knife Laws: What You Need to Know

Hey there!

Are you a knife enthusiast or just someone curious about Montana’s knife laws? 

Now, I understand that the legalities surrounding knives can be a bit perplexing. The last thing you want is to accidentally find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

If you live in Montana or you’re planning a visit to the Big Sky Country, this information is crucial for you.

Whether you’re a knife owner, a recreational enthusiast, or just someone concerned about safety, understanding Montana’s knife laws is essential.

So, get ready to explore the ins and outs of Montana knife laws with me.

Let’s navigate through this topic together and ensure you’re well-equipped with the knowledge you need. 

Montana Knife Laws Overview

Knife Collection

The state of Montana is knife-friendly, allowing individuals to possess and use various types of knives.

However, there are some limitations and restrictions to be aware of.

In April 2017, Montana State H.B. 251 was passed, amending the state’s concealed weapon definition and carrying concealed weapons law.

The amended law now defines “concealed weapon” as a concealed firearm, removing non-firearm weapons from its scope.

This means that cutting instruments like dirks, daggers, swords, and knives with blades longer than 4 inches were removed from the law’s coverage.

According to the amended 2019 Montana law, local governments are not allowed to establish or enforce any regulations that limit or forbid individuals from owning, using, possessing, or selling knives, as long as the particular type of knife is not already banned by state law.

However, local government entities are still allowed to pass ordinances that prohibit the possession of knives on their own property or in buildings they own or lease.

It’s important to note that while Montana is generally knife-friendly, it’s always wise to check regional ordinances and regulations to ensure compliance.

By familiarizing yourself with knife laws and understanding their limitations, you can enjoy the use of knives while minimizing the risk of any legal complications.

Remember to always prioritize safety and be mindful of the potential risks associated with knife use.

Montana Knife Laws That You Must Know

1. Montana Knife Concealed Carry and Possession

Man Pulling Out a Folding Pocket Knife

Now, here’s the thing – Montana is a knife lover’s paradise. You heard me right, because in this beautiful state, you can own and carry any type of knife you want, and there are no knives considered illegal.

That’s right, Montana doesn’t discriminate when it comes to blades.

You can have your bowie knives, your Chinese throwing stars, or even your automatic or switchblade knives. These controversial knives which are prohibited in many other states, are all fair game in Montana.

We value our personal freedom and trust a reasonable person to handle these tools responsibly.

Isn’t that a haven for knife users?

Here’s the kicker – you don’t even need a permit to carry a concealed blade or knife in Montana.

You see, new laws have clarified that only firearms are not to be concealed. So feel free to safely and legally carry your favorite knife without worrying about permits or licenses.

Now, when it comes to possession of weapons on school premises, things are a little different.

According to the Montana State Legislature 45-8-361, the possession of a knife with a blade of 4 inches or more, a sword, or a straight razor is prohibited in schools. So, it’s best to leave those sharp objects at home when you’re heading to class.

And here’s some fantastic news – there’s no longer a legal limit on knife or blade length in our state.

In 2017, the law was amended, and now you can conceal any size of knife, as long as you’re not using it for nefarious purposes and carrying it around schools, of course.

This opens up a world of options for knife enthusiasts who enjoy outdoor activities and need a versatile tool by their side.

While Montana’s knife laws may seem straightforward, it’s worth noting that there may still be grey areas and local regulations to consider.

To ensure you stay on the right side of the law, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific knife ordinances of the school district, government buildings, and other areas where knives might be restricted.

In Montana, as a responsible knife owner, you can enjoy the freedom to carry and use your blades while respecting the safety of others and abiding by any applicable restrictions in certain settings.

In connection with carrying weapons, it is also recommended to read about openly carrying firearms in Montana. When visiting or moving, make sure to be prepared and informed about the laws on weapons to avoid fines.

2. Penalties of Knife Law Violations

Man Holding Handcuffs Near a Jail Cell

Understanding the penalties of knife law violations in Montana is crucial to avoid legal repercussions.

Possessing or storing a knife with a blade 4 inches or longer in school buildings, which include all buildings owned or leased by a local school district used for instruction or student activities, is strictly prohibited.

Violating Montana state-wide knife laws can result in a fine not exceeding $500, a jail term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

It’s important to note that Montana categorizes criminal offenses of possession into different degrees, each with its corresponding penalties.

These can range from fines to jail terms, depending on the severity of the offense.

For example, the carrying of knives without permission in certain areas or situations may constitute a criminal offense.

This includes city government buildings, where strict regulation of knives may be in place. Violators may face fines, jail terms, or other legal consequences.

Possession without permission and using it for intended bodily injury is an even heavier crime, as there is always a risk of death involved.

By understanding the penalties and consequences associated with knife law violations in Montana, individuals can navigate the legal system with caution and make informed decisions to avoid unnecessary legal troubles.

3. Montana Knife Law Exceptions

Montana Aerial View of the City

The great thing about Montana is that state laws governing knives have precedence over local regulations, creating consistency and clarity throughout the state.

While it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the local government property you may visit, it’s worth noting that certain areas or buildings may have restrictions on the carrying of weapons or knives.

Government buildings and facilities, as well as schools, often have their own knife regulations in place, so it’s wise to exercise caution and respect these rules on knife carry and possession.

One interesting concept to be aware of is knife preemption and ordinances.

In certain regions, local knife ordinances may not be enforceable if they conflict with state law.

For example, in the city of Billings, carrying knives to city council meetings is prohibited. This shows how different areas may have their own unique regulations.

It’s also worth noting that Montana recognizes the importance of lawful recreational activities and the possession and use of knives for such purposes is generally allowed.

However, it’s essential to be mindful of restricted areas where knives may not be permitted, such as schools or certain government facilities.

Government employees and law enforcement personnel are particularly subject to these regulations.

Stay informed and respectful, and you’ll have a smooth and worry-free trip.

Montana Knife Laws Final Thoughts

Knife Collection with Cover

When it comes to knives, Montana is pretty knife-friendly, and Montanans have the freedom to own and openly carry knives.

However, there’s a small catch – the state doesn’t have preemption laws for knife ordinances.

So, different places might have their own specific rules, which means it’s wise to check out the local regulations of the areas you plan to visit to stay on the safe side.

In terms of schools, it’s essential to keep knives or blades that are 4 inches or longer away from school grounds. This is important to ensure the safety and security of students and faculty.

Montana allows residents and visitors to possess and openly carry any type of knife, including switchblades, with no limitations.

So, whether you’re a knife enthusiast or simply need a knife for recreational activities, Montana’s knife laws are generally favorable.

Just be sure to follow any specific regulations in certain locations and always prioritize safety.

Montana Knife Laws FAQs

1. Are Auto Knives Legal in Montana?

Yes, they are! Montana knife laws do not have any restrictions on the possession or carrying of automatic knives.

This means that you can legally own and carry an auto knife in the state without fear of breaking any laws. 

2. What Is the Longest Knife You Can Carry in Montana?

In Montana, you’re generally free to choose any blade length you like, no worries there.

Just keep in mind that if you’re at a school campus, they have a specific rule against carrying knives longer than 4 inches, so it’s better to leave your favorite blade at home and find alternative tools to handle your daily tasks on those occasions.

3. Are Katanas Legal in Montana?

Absolutely! In the great state of Montana, there are no specific restrictions on the ownership or carrying of Katanas or any other type of knife.

As a responsible Katana enthusiast, it’s important to remember that while owning a Katana is legal, it should only be used responsibly and hopefully not for intentional bodily injury. 

4. Can I Legally Walk Around With a Knife in Montana?

In Montana, it is perfectly legal to walk around with a knife. There are, however, a few limitations and exceptions to keep in mind.

According to Montana government regulations, you cannot carry a knife or a deadly weapon in school buildings or on school properties.

5. What Length of Knife Can I Own on Probation in Montana?

Montana does not have specific knife or blade length restrictions for individuals on probation.

However, it’s vital to know the laws in your state, as violating probation conditions, regardless of the knife type, can lead to severe consequences.

Find out more about the state of Montana by giving these other articles a read:

Photo of author

Written by:

Chris Hall
Hi, I'm Chris Hall, co-founder of Growing up among Montana's breathtaking landscapes ignited my passion for travel. While I've journeyed to many corners of the world, the allure of Montana's wild beauty always draws me back. To me, travel is about understanding the soul of a place, and Montana has a special place in my heart. It's where endless adventures meet raw nature.

Leave a Comment