Packing Steel in Montana – Is Your Pocket Knife Illegal to Carry?
For anyone growing up in a rural environment, tools of the trade may vary from day to day. You may be pounding posts and staples for fence lines today, repairing corrals the next, branding, feeding, the chores and tools needed to accomplish them are endless. But one of those tools that would see a workout every day on the ranch was that of a pocketknife. You wouldn't be caught dead out in the field or backwoods without one. Ever. It was ingrained in me so much as a child that I still to this day carry one. Because, well, you just never know when you might need to get out the Old Timer and fix something.
While You Can, Should You Really Try to Be a Crocodile Dundee?
In Montana, carrying a knife has gone through some various changes in recent years, dating back to 2017 and 2019 with the latest updates to the codes. For instance, in past years, conceal carrying a knife with a longer than four-inch blade was considered illegal. Unique items were also under scrutiny; canes with concealed swords, even the switchblade was a no-no in our state. But, with updates, knives such as those and more have been made available to own and use.
Alrighty Then, So Is There a Law for Knives In Montana or Not?
While new laws and annotations to current laws have been made from the legislature, the quick answer is while there aren't specific laws on the books about knives being carried in public, especially in the ranching, farming, hunting, outdoorsman categories, there are rules in some public areas. For instance, conceal/carry on school grounds is forbidden. Even small pocketknives aren't exempt from this ruling. You are also forbidden from carrying a knife, open or conceal, in a federal building in Montana.
For more information on laws pertaining to conceal/carry or any other laws, please check out the State of Montana legislative website.