Pepper Spray Laws – Montana

When it comes to pepper spray laws, Montana is among the friendliest places there is. The state has vanishingly few if any restrictions concerning civilian acquisition, possession, and use of defensive sprays in self-defense.

Civilians may select any typical non-injurious formulation, and carry any quantity that suits their purposes. Furthermore, the purchasing of pepper spray is broadly unregulated in the state, and it may be found pretty much everywhere, or shipped into the state from elsewhere.

Flag of Montana

Though it seems like pretty much anything goes when it comes to pepper spray in Montana there is always a little more to learn. You can get the rest of the facts along with the most relevant laws at the end of this article.

Fast Facts

  • All typical pepper spray formulations are permitted in Montana. OC, CN and CS are all allowed for civilian use. Blends of various ingredients are also allowed, so long as the resulting formula does not cause any permanent injury.
  • Civilians may carry any quantity of defensive spray that they choose; there are no restrictions on the size of the dispenser or the payload.
  • There is no age restriction on the use or possession of defensive sprays in Montana. People under the age of 18 may possess pepper spray or tear gas for self-defense purposes.

Overview

Montana is an exceedingly friendly state when it comes to civilian use and possession of defensive sprays. Anything goes, so long as the spray is not used for any criminal purpose and the chemical formula is designed to inflict no lasting harm or great bodily injury.

So long as you stick with any commercially available, over-the-counter product manufactured and sold by a reputable company you’ll be in good shape. OC pepper spray as well as CN or CS tear gas formulas are permitted. You can even carry old school mace if you want to.

Happily, Montana also lacks entirely any restriction on the size of the dispenser, or the total payload that a civilian may carry. No longer will you be saddled with some pitiful ounce or half-ounce of formula like in some other states.

If you want to carry a massive riot canister that can completely soak multiple assailants, you are good to go. This is of particular note to preppers who may want to stockpile larger devices for use against multiple foes in a besieging mob.

Also, Montana does not have any age restriction concerning the possession or use of pepper and other defensive sprays, meaning that folks under the age of 18 may legally carry a defensive spray anywhere it is legally allowed to go, and use it to protect themselves in cases of legitimate need of self-defense.

This is in stark contrast to some other states, and is certainly welcome here. Of some note, there does not seem to be any law on the books which would forbid a felon or other person who is normally prohibited from possessing more dangerous weapons from possessing or carrying pepper spray explicitly for self-defense purposes.

Finally, pepper spray is freely bought and sold in commerce throughout Montana, and is available from the “usual suspects” such as gun shops, outdoor stores, and sporting goods departments at major big box stores and it may also be freely shipped into the state via online purchases.

Conclusion

Montana is among the friendliest states concerning civilian possession and use of pepper and other typical defensive sprays for self-defense purposes.

All of these sprays may be freely bought and sold, any formulation, any size or capacity, throughout the state, and may even be possessed by people who are under the increasingly typical age restriction of 18 years old.

There is no reason that concerned citizens shouldn’t add pepper spray to their self-defense toolbox in the state.

Relevant State Statutes

45-3-101. Definitions.

(1) “Force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm” within the meaning of this chapter includes but is not limited to:

(a) the firing of a firearm in the direction of a person, even though no purpose exists to kill or inflict serious bodily harm; and

(b) the firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which a person is riding.

(2) ”Forcible felony” means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

45-3-102. Use of force in defense of person.

A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary for self-defense or the defense of another against the other person’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily harm to the person or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

45-3-104. Use of force in defense of other property.

A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property, other than an occupied structure, or personal property lawfully in the person’s possession or in the possession of another who is a member of the person’s immediate family or household or of a person whose property the person has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

45-3-111. Openly carrying weapon — display — exemption.

(1) Any person who is not otherwise prohibited from doing so by federal or state law may openly carry a weapon and may communicate to another person the fact that the person has a weapon.

(2) If a person reasonably believes that the person or another person is threatened with bodily harm, the person may warn or threaten the use of force, including deadly force, against the aggressor, including drawing or presenting a weapon.

(3) This section does not limit the authority of the board of regents or other postsecondary institutions to regulate the carrying of weapons, as defined in 45-8-361(5)(b), on their campuses.

45-5-207. Criminal endangerment — penalty.

(1) A person who knowingly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another commits the offense of criminal endangerment. This conduct includes but is not limited to knowingly placing in a tree, log, or any other wood any steel, iron, ceramic, or other substance for the purpose of damaging a saw or other wood harvesting, processing, or manufacturing equipment.

(2) A high blood alcohol concentration, as provided in 61-8-407, alone is not sufficient to support a criminal endangerment charge.

(3) A person convicted of the offense of criminal endangerment shall be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000 or imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 10 years, or both.

45-5-201. Assault.

(1) A person commits the offense of assault if the person:

(a) purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another;

(b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a weapon;

(c) purposely or knowingly makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any individual; or

(d) purposely or knowingly causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in another.

(2) A person convicted of assault shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both.

45-5-202. Aggravated assault.

(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault if the person purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another or purposely or knowingly, with the use of physical force or contact, causes reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury or death in another.

(2) A person convicted of aggravated assault shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 20 years and may be fined not more than $50,000, except as provided in 46-18-219 and 46-18-222.

45-5-213. Assault with weapon.

(1) A person commits the offense of assault with a weapon if the person purposely or knowingly causes:

(a) bodily injury to another with a weapon; or

(b) reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury in another by use of a weapon or what reasonably appears to be a weapon.

(2) (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2)(b), a person convicted of assault with a weapon shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 20 years or be fined not more than $50,000, or both.

(b) In addition to any sentence imposed under subsection (2)(a), if the person convicted of assault with a weapon is a partner or family member of the victim, as defined in 45-5-206, the person is required to pay for and complete a counseling assessment as required in 45-5-206(4).

45-8-316. Carrying concealed firearms.

(1) A person who carries or bears concealed upon the individual’s person a firearm 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 a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of 1 year could have been imposed and who carries or bears concealed upon the individual’s person a firearm 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.

45-8-317. Exceptions.

(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 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 45-8-321 or with a permit recognized under 45-8-329.

(2) With regard to a person issued a permit under 45-8-321, the provisions of 45-8-328 do not apply to this section.

45-8-332. Definitions.

(1) “Destructive device”, as used in this chapter, includes but is not limited to the following weapons:

(a) a projectile containing an explosive or incendiary material or any other similar chemical substance, including but not limited to that which is commonly known as tracer or incendiary ammunition, except tracer ammunition manufactured for use in shotguns;

(b) a bomb, grenade, explosive missile, or similar device or a launching device therefor;

(c) a weapon of a caliber greater than .60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition or any ammunition therefor, other than a shotgun or shotgun ammunition;

(d) a rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of a diameter greater than 0.60 inch or a launching device therefor and a rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device containing an explosive or incendiary material or any other similar chemical substance other than the propellant for the device, except devices designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling purposes;

(e) a breakable container which contains a flammable liquid with a flashpoint of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less and which has a wick or similar device capable of being ignited, other than a device which is commercially manufactured primarily for the purpose of illumination.

(2) ”Explosive”, as used in this chapter, means any explosive defined in rules adopted by the department of justice pursuant to 50-3-102(3).

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