Montana Knife Law – The Complete Guide (In Plain English)

This article was created to be a brief synopsis of the law according to my understanding and is not legal advice. Knifeade is not a legal service provider. Using this site does not create a client/lawyer relationship. Because knife laws can be interpreted differently by different people and entities it is recommended that you consult legal counsel for specific information and guidance.

Montana is a great place to own and carry pocket knives. It’s a great place for everything really but that’s beside the point.

Back to knives…before you buy one, it’s important to be aware of the state’s knife laws so that you can stay compliant with regulations and avoid any potential penalties

In this blog post, we’ll explore Montana Knife Law in detail—from types of knives allowed in the state, age restrictions for owning them, and carrying them in public places or prohibited areas—to possible defenses against violations as well as preemption laws regarding local ordinances.

Types of Knives Allowed in Montana

Folding Pocket Knives

Folding pocket knives are legal to own and carry in Montana. These knives typically have a blade that folds into the handle, making them easy to store and transport. The most common types of folding pocket knives include traditional slip joint folders, lockback folders, frame lock folders, liner locks, and tactical folding knives.

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed-blade knives are also allowed in Montana. These blades do not fold into the handle like a pocket knife but instead remain fixed in place with either a full tang or partial tang construction. Common examples of fixed-blade knives include hunting and survival blades as well as kitchen cutlery such as chef’s knives and butcher’s cleavers.

In Montana, there are several types of knives that can be legally owned and carried. However, it is important to understand the age restrictions associated with knife ownership in order to ensure compliance with state law.

Age Restrictions for Knife Ownership in Montana

When it comes to owning a knife in Montana, there are age restrictions that must be followed. All individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from purchasing or possessing any type of knife without parental permission. This includes folding pocket knives, fixed-blade knives, switchblades, and automatic knives.

Minimum Age Requirements

Individuals who are at least 18 years old may purchase and possess any type of knife in Montana as long as they do not violate other state laws regarding concealed carry or open carry. However, minors between the ages of 14-17 may own a pocketknife with their parent’s permission but cannot conceal or openly carry it in public places.

Exceptions to this rule include those individuals who have been issued a hunting license by the state and those participating in an educational program involving firearms safety training approved by local law enforcement agencies such as Boy Scouts or 4H clubs. In addition, members of the military who are over 18 years old can legally purchase and possess any type of knife while on active duty regardless if they reside in Montana or not.

The age restrictions for knife ownership in Montana are fairly strict, with only a few exceptions. However, when it comes to carrying knives in public places in the state, there are more nuanced laws that must be followed.

Carrying Knives in Public Places in Montana

Carrying a knife in public places within the state of Montana is regulated by law. It is important to understand these laws before carrying a knife in public, as violating them can result in criminal charges and fines.

Concealed Carry Laws

Concealed carry of knives is generally prohibited in Montana unless you have a valid concealed weapons permit. If you do not have such a permit, it is illegal to conceal any type of knife on your person or property while out in public. Exceptions may apply for certain types of knives that are considered “ordinary pocketknives” with blades no longer than four inches long, which may be carried concealed without a permit.

In Montana, it is important to be aware of the laws regarding carrying knives in public places. Knowing these laws can help ensure that you remain compliant with state regulations and avoid any legal issues when carrying a knife in public. Next, we will discuss prohibited areas for carrying knives in Montana.

Prohibited Areas for Carrying Knives in Montana

It is important to know the laws regarding carrying knives in Montana. Carrying a knife in certain areas can result in criminal charges and fines, so it’s essential to understand where you are allowed to carry a knife and where you are not.

Schools and Educational Facilities

In Montana, it is illegal for anyone other than school security personnel or law enforcement officers to possess any type of weapon on school grounds or at educational facilities. This includes pocket knives, switchblades, automatic knives, fixed-blade knives, etc. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess any type of weapon on school grounds or at educational facilities without written permission from their parent or guardian.

Government Buildings and Facilities

Carrying a knife into government buildings such as courthouses and police stations is strictly prohibited by state law in Montana. Additionally, it is illegal for anyone other than law enforcement officers or security personnel to possess any type of weapon inside of government-owned property such as parks and recreation centers within the state

It is important to know and understand the laws in Montana regarding carrying knives, as it can have serious consequences if violated. To further protect yourself, it’s essential to be aware of what areas are prohibited for carrying knives and the potential penalties for violating knife laws.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in Montana

In Montana, it is illegal to possess or use a knife in an unlawful manner. If you are found guilty of violating the state’s knife laws, you could face criminal charges and fines. The severity of the punishment depends on the type of offense and any prior convictions for similar offenses.

If someone is caught carrying a concealed weapon without permission from local law enforcement authorities, they can be charged with a misdemeanor offense that carries up to six months in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.

Additionally, if someone uses their pocketknife as a deadly weapon during an altercation or commits assault with it, they can be charged with aggravated assault which carries penalties ranging from two years imprisonment to life imprisonment depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Individuals who are convicted of unlawfully possessing certain types of knives such as switchblades may also face felony charges that carry hefty prison sentences along with large fines. For example, anyone found guilty of possession or sale of switchblade knives may receive up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $50 000 in fines according to Section 45-8-313(2) (b) (i).

Similarly, anyone convicted under Section 45-8-314(3)(a) for manufacturing weapons such as machine guns will face felony charges punishable by 10 years imprisonment and/or $50 000 fine.

It is important for all knife owners in Montana to understand their rights when it comes to owning pocketknives so that they do not inadvertently break any laws while using them responsibly within legal boundaries set out by state statutes.

Ignorance about these laws should never be used as an excuse when facing prosecution since ignorance does not absolve one from liability under criminal law provisions applicable within this jurisdiction.

Violating Montana’s knife laws can result in serious criminal charges and fines, so it is important to be aware of the applicable statutes. Next, we will discuss potential defenses for those accused of violating knife laws in Montana.

Defenses to Knife Law Violations in Montana

The state of Montana has a few laws that govern the possession and use of knives. It is important to understand these laws in order to avoid potential legal consequences. If someone is accused of violating knife laws within the state, there are some possible defenses they can use.

One defense that may be used is ignorance or a mistake of fact. This means that if an individual was unaware that their actions were illegal, then they may not be held liable for any criminal charges related to the violation. For example, if an individual unknowingly carried a pocketknife into a school or government building where it was prohibited, then this could potentially be used as a defense against any criminal charges brought against them for doing so.

Another possible defense is self-defense or necessity. This means that if an individual felt threatened by another person and believed using their knife was necessary in order to protect themselves from harm, then this could potentially be used as a valid defense against any criminal charges related to the incident.

It should also be noted that certain individuals may have special privileges when it comes to carrying knives on their person in public places. This includes law enforcement officers who are authorized by law to carry weapons while on duty, as well as military personnel who are allowed to carry certain types of knives while performing official duties related to their service branch’s mission requirements.

In Montana, there are a few defenses to knife law violations, such as self-defense or being a minor. However, it is important to be aware of the preemption laws regarding local knife ordinances in Montana before carrying any type of pocket knife.

Preemption Laws Regarding Local Knife Ordinances in Montana

Montana state law preempts any local ordinances related to knives. This means that the state laws regarding knife ownership, possession, and use are the only ones applicable throughout Montana.

The state of Montana does not have a minimum age requirement for owning or carrying a pocket knife; however, minors under 18 years old may be prohibited from purchasing certain types of knives such as switchblades and automatic knives. In addition, some municipalities may still impose their own restrictions on knife ownership or possession by minors.

When it comes to carrying pocket knives in public places in Montana, concealed carry is generally allowed but open carry is restricted in certain areas such as schools and government buildings.

It’s important to note that even if you are legally allowed to possess a pocket knife within your municipality or county, you should always check with local authorities before bringing it into public places like parks or libraries since these locations may also have their own regulations regarding weapons and other items deemed dangerous by law enforcement officials

Violations of Montana’s knife laws can result in criminal charges including fines and/or jail time depending on the severity of the offense committed. For example, knowingly possessing an illegal type of weapon such as a switchblade could lead to misdemeanor charges while using one during an assault would likely result in felony charges being filed against you.

FAQs in Relation to Montana Knife Law

How big of a knife can you carry in Montana?

In Montana, pocket knives with blades that are less than four inches in length are generally considered legal to carry. However, it is important to note that certain municipalities may have stricter laws governing the carrying of knives and other weapons.

For example, some cities may prohibit the possession of any knife with a blade longer than three inches or even two inches. It is also important to be aware of any state-wide restrictions on carrying concealed weapons as these can apply to pocket knives as well. Therefore, if you plan on carrying a pocket knife in Montana it is best to research local laws before doing so.

Can you carry a fixed-blade knife in Montana?

In Montana, it is legal to carry a fixed-blade knife as long as the blade does not exceed 4 inches in length. The state also has laws that prohibit carrying knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches and/or any type of double-edged knife. Additionally, it is illegal to conceal or open carry any kind of weapon in public places such as schools, government buildings, and airports.

It is important to be aware of local laws when carrying a pocket knife in Montana since some cities may have additional restrictions on certain types of knives.

Are OTF knives legal in Montana?

OTF (out-the-front) knives are not legal in Montana. These types of knives are considered switchblades and, according to state law, it is illegal to possess or carry a switchblade knife with a blade longer than 1.5 inches.

It is also illegal to sell or offer for sale any type of switchblade knife in the state of Montana. Violation of these laws can result in criminal charges and fines of up to $500.


In conclusion, understanding the knife laws in Montana is important for anyone who owns or carries a pocket knife. While there are some restrictions on where and how knives can be carried, it is still possible to own and carry a pocket knife legally in Montana as long as you abide by the state’s Montana knife law regulations.

As always, if you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to owning or carrying a pocketknife in Montana, consult with an attorney familiar with local ordinances.

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