Montana prohibits any person from purposely and knowingly carrying a firearm in a school building.1 However, the trustees of the school district may grant advance permission to possess a firearm within the school.2 “School building” means all buildings owned or leased by a local school district that are used for instruction or for student activities.3 Montana does not appear to exempt concealed weapons licensees from this prohibition.4
Montana also allows active or retired law enforcement to serve as armed school marshals provided they meet the qualifications required for peace officers pursuant to Montana Code section 7-32-303 and have a concealed carry permit.5
In Montana, a teacher, superintendent, or principal shall suspend immediately for good cause a student who brings a firearm to school.6 The student must also be expelled from school for a period of not less than one year, except that the trustees may authorize the school administration to modify the requirement for expulsion of a student on a case-by-case basis.7 A school district may provide educational services in an alternative setting to an expelled student.8
Colleges and Universities
In 2021, Montana enacted a law removing authority from the public university system and its employees to enforce or coerce compliance with any rule or regulation that diminishes or restricts the rights of the people to keep or bear arms as reserved to them in the Montana constitution.9 This law was declared unconstitutional and permanently enjoined on November 30, 2021 by a state trial court but will be appealed.10
The board of regents and any unit of the university system may not regulate, restrict, or place an undue burden on the possession, transportation, or storage of firearms on or within university system property by a person eligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law and meeting the minimum safety and training requirements in 45-8-321(3).
The board of regents or a unit of the university system may prohibit or regulate the following:
(a) the discharge of a firearm on or within university system property unless the discharge is done in self-defense;
(b) the removal of a firearm from a gun case or holster unless the removal is done in self-defense or within the domicile on campus of the lawful possessor of the firearm;
(c) the pointing of a firearm at another person unless the lawful possessor is acting in self-defense;
(d) the carrying of a firearm outside of a domicile on campus unless the firearm is within a case or holster;
(e) the failure to secure a firearm with a locking device whenever the firearm is not in the possession of or under the immediate control of the lawful possessor of the firearm;
(f) the possession or storage of a firearm in an on-campus dormitory or housing unit without the express permission of any roommate of the lawful possessor of the firearm;
(g) the possession or storage of a firearm by any individual who has a history of adjudicated university system discipline arising out of the individual’s interpersonal violence or substance abuse;
(h) the possession of a firearm at an event on campus where campus authorities have authorized alcohol to be served and consumed; and
(i) the possession of a firearm at an athletic or entertainment event open to the public with controlled access and armed security on site.((Id.)
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- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-361(1), (5)(b).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-361(3)(b).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-361(5)(a).
- Mont. Code Ann. §45-3-111(3).
- 2021 HB 572.
- Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-202(3).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-202(2).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-202(4)(b).
- 2021 HB 102, amending Title 45, Chapter 8, Part 3.
- Board of Regents of Higher Ed. v. Montana, No. BD-2021-598 (Mont. 1st Dist. Nov. 30 2021).