Open Carrying in Montana


“Are you law enforcement?” My three daughters and I were bowling at the Pin & Cue in Whitefish, Montana. I was open-carrying my Caracal C in an RKBA holster. Aside from a couple in lane 15 and the regulars drinking in some dimly-lit room in the back, the alley was empty. “No,” I replied. “Well, we don’t allow firearms or knives in here,” the bowling dude declared somewhat sheepishly. “Don’t get me wrong,” he added quickly. “I support the Second Amendment and your rights. It’s just our policy.” “No problem,” I said. “I’ll put it in the car.” Oh sure, I could have made a stink. But I’m on vacation (obviously). So I didn’t point out that the P&C’s door didn’t have any signs regarding firearms. Not until I turned in our shoes. “I guess it’s just assumed,” the guy said. “The owner wants this to be a family place.” What does that tell you about open carry in this part of Montana? After ice cream at Sweet Peaks, I heard a schmoozer tell his friend “It’s nice to see someone packing.” Even so, I’m carrying concealed now. For a bit.


  1. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    Montana sucks.

    Now go tell your friends.

    Interesting. But where is the shaky video footage of you quoting court cases, USC, local statues, powerball numbers, and guessing the dudes weight? Oh wait, you aren’t one of those belligerent “well you’re just gonna have to arrest me, that’ll show them I’m not just some whack-job with a gun!”

    1. avatar Augur says:

      Try California 🙂

    2. avatar SpeleoFool says:

      Lol. “AM I BEING DETAINED?!”

  2. avatar Rob says:

    I work in Montana and open carry everywhere. I’ve never had a local business tell me to put the gun away. The only comments I get are usually people telling me that open carry is awesome. I just wish I was a MT resident so I could get my CCW at 18.

    1. avatar Alaskan Gunner says:

      Rob, take a look at Maine and New Hampshire concealed carry permits. You can get both via mail when you’re 18+. New Hampshire is changing their rules, though, so that non-residents must have either a permit from their own state, or their state must have permitless carry. It works for me because I’m in Alaska. But you could definitely do Maine–I just sent in my application. The only requirement is training. I took an online course from, believe it or not, the MPD in Washington, DC. I believe this will satisfy their requirements by law, but we’ll see if they accept my application or not.

      1. avatar TeutonicTenifer says:

        Actually, the Maryland State Police course doesn’t satisfy the requirement. I tried and they said it couldn’t be an online program. You have to take a NRA course (I did a Basic Pistol).

        Call them up so you can submit proper paperwork instead of getting declined. Mary up there was very nice/helpful: (207) 624-7215

    2. avatar Alaskan Gunner says:

      Oh, and even though neither the Maine or New Hampshire permits will let you carry in Montana, there are quite a few states where you will be able to carry!

    3. avatar ThomasR says:

      I’ve OC’d here in Albuquerque, New Mexico for almost 4 years now and never had a business that wasn’t already posted as a criminal empowerment zone ask me to not carry my weapon in the store.

      I’m willing to bet that it was just a nervous Nelly employee that was acting out of their own irrational fear of a gun, if you were to ask the owner of the business, he would probably support you OC’ing; otherwise he would put a criminal empowerment sign on the door.

    4. avatar George Tennison says:

      Montana generally rocks in terms of gun rights. We are this close to getting Constitutional Carry like our neighbor Wyoming (just need to jettison our governor) and we pioneered the court case making its way through the 9th Circuit that says if a firearm is made in Montana and sold to a Montana resident, then federal firearms laws do not apply (and thus no background check necessary). You only need a permit for concealed carry within city limits at this point. There is all the public land you need for shooting and Kalispell is quickly becoming a new firearms manufacturing center. Conservatives dominate both houses of our legislature and soon Montana will add another Republican to the Senate. Skip Whitefish and head fifteen minutes south to Kalispell and support a bastion of constitutionalists.

  3. avatar Gregolas says:

    This is part of my gripe about open carry. You went in armed and got disarmed for the duration of your stay. Is point of carrying to be able to make a political statement, or to defend yourself and your loved ones from crime? Had you gone in concealed, you’d have been armed the whole time. Susanna Gratia- Hupp had a gun in her car at Luby’s that day. It did her and her murdered parents as much good as your needlessly car-stashed gun would’ve done you if some psycho had come in that bowling alley.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yep, this is the best argument against open carry and car carry. I know people with permits that routinely leave a gun in the car. They figure that with a gun in the house and car they don’t need to actually carry on their person.

      My uncle only has a loaded pistol when he’s traveling in his motor home. And the gun is in a cabinet near the bed.

      1. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

        A retired special forces veteran I know thinks like this. Has trouble walking due to injuries, but thinks the rifle in his truck will solve the issue if it arises.

    2. avatar jmk says:

      open carry is about acclimatization and normalization.
      is it a political statement? no more than wearing a slogan-bearing t-shirt can be.

      1. avatar Gregolas says:

        “Acclimatization and normalization” is a political statement. Carrying firearms is about personal protection. If you carry a firearm in a manner that means ignorant property owners are regularly going to compel you to put it in your car; then you are serious about your politics, but you aren’t serious about personal your defense.

        1. avatar Randy says:

          Well said. While I would like to see the attitude about open carry change, protecting my life, and the lives of my loved ones is top priority. For a lot of OC individuals, it’s more about “their right” than their safety. I personally think that it puts a black eye on those who discreetly and silently carry. Your opinion may differ, and if it does that’s fine. Your entitled….

        2. avatar RLC2 says:

          Yup. If I feel the need to carry then it seems only smart to do so discreetly, so I dont become a target. I’d rather be taking someone by surprise than vice-versa.

  4. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    “We don’t allow muslims or jews in here. Don’t get me wrong, I support the First Amendment and your rights. It’s just our policy.”

    Would you have still given that business your money? I seriously do not understand why someone would willingly hand over their money to businesses that have no regard for natural human rights!

    1. avatar Neal Williams says:

      Excellent point. The bowling alley was not interested in the safety of their patrons, so the correct action would be to say, that’s fine, pay for the game they had, and leave. DO NOT support businesses that don’t support your right to self-defense. Period.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        The undercurrents of anti gunnery brainwashing continue to spread far and wide like a cancer even to the most pro gun states; if for no other reason than to maintain a family friendly utopian setting, don’t you know. Never mind about the security of your family! It’s all good; the government is always there to help (Sarc).

        The unicorns continue their subtle migration away from the slave states to fertile pro gun territory.

        If this anti gun culture continues to be introduced far and wide by the anti’s via their insidious social engineering in the schools, politics and media, there will eventually be no place to hide for those who choose the “move to a free state” option.

    2. avatar thingi says:

      Carrying a gun on someone else’s private property is not a natural human right. Gun ownership and carrying on your own private property? Absolutely. But if carrying a gun on other peoples’ private property was a natural human right, this would imply that your right to carry a gun supersedes a property owner’s natural right to set the rules for his own property, which would further imply that the property owner doesn’t truly own the property, but that you and everyone else does, which is false.

      Now if the property owner were not to give you an opportunity to take off your weapon, and instead they forcibly removed it immediately, this would be in fact a violation of your human rights.

      1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

        The right to property is a natural human right, and it applies to carrying guns as well as owning a business. I fully recognize that a property owner exercises sole and complete authority over his property, and absent forcing me to stay, can set whatever rules he wants. I can voluntarily choose to abide by those rules, and if not, I’m free to take my business elsewhere. My problem is with gun owners who continue to frequent businesses who are obviously hostile to their patrons’ right to property and self-defense.

        As an analogy, if a black man could somehow “conceal” his race, do you think he would still give his money to a business that had a “Whites Only” sign?

      2. avatar jmk says:

        property is not a natural right – it is a human construct. if you doubt this, try telling a grizzly bear to get off your property and see where it gets you.
        life, liberty, and freedom are natural rights that are present everywhere you are. even if you’re in prison, you have the right not to be raped, beaten, brutalized or killed. good luck on having those rights remain unviolated…
        if you are not violating someone else’s right, they have no say in what you’re doing.

        1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

          Do you own yourself? Do you own your own body or does someone else own you? Property rights flow from the fact that each individual owns his own body. Since we own ourselves, then we also own the product of our body’s work… our labor. Mixing our labor with previously unclaimed natural resources leads to property. You cut down some trees and build a house… you own that house. It’s pretty simple actually, as long as you begin with a proper premise. That premise is that you own yourself and no one else has the authority to stake a claim of ownership over you or your labor or the product of your labor.

          Obviously, we’re talking about natural HUMAN rights… so, dealing with a trespassing Bear is not applicable to the discussion.

      3. avatar Tom RKBA says:

        It is a completely immoral, selfish and evil stance to place a property owner’s “say-so” over the right of a person to protect themselves. I do not see that mentioned in Montana’s RKBA.

    3. avatar Nordic says:

      The legal aspects are pretty simple. Gun owners aren’t a protected class in this society; Muslims and Jews are.

      So legally speaking, a No Guns policy is no different from a No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service policy. You are free, of course, to take your business elsewhere.

      Granted, I suppose this place can be criticized for not posting such a policy on the wall to help ensure that it is not selectively enforced.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Jews are not a protected class. They count ad white even if they are descendants of Ladinos, I.e., Spanish Jews.

    4. avatar Bob says:

      My interpretation is that the bowling alley employee personally supports the 2nd Amendment, while the owners obviously do not. He was just “following orders”.

  5. avatar BLAMMO says:

    … Even so, I’m carrying concealed now. …

    Almost always better.

  6. avatar tangledthorns says:

    This is why it should be easier to CC than OC. I have CCW license and even my wife prefers I do CC over OC.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Agreed CC is preferred if for no other reason than to maintain a low profile.

      That said, sometimes (most times in hot climes) it’s just nice not to have to wear so much clothing. Casual light shorts and a tucked ‘T’ with an open carry option is nice if to have under those circumstances.

      1. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

        Isn’t that what the (sub-)compacts got invented for? I often carry full-size, but in the warmer seasons I switch to a more concealable option at times.

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Me, I gave up bowling for sex, your balls are lighter and you don’t have to change your shoes…

    By the way, did Mr. Business Policy say anything about the blade?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Tom, knives seem to be a whole other mindset. Even here in California I routinely carry a knife visibly like RF. Sometimes it’s even a fixed blade on a belt. Never been hassled, questioned or even commented on by the people around me. Knives just haven’t been demonized the way guns have. Yet.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        True. Same as here. Knives are looked at as more of a tool than anything else.
        Just struck me that the bowling guy says no guns or knives. Had to scroll up and look at the picture again and did see what I thought I saw.

      2. avatar JoshinGA says:

        All it would take would be an uptick in stabbings in a “gunfree utopia” like NYC and the perception of knives by the sheeple would change real quick.

      3. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

        I usually have a Spyderco Persistence (smaller cheap daily beater knife) in my pocket and if something needs cutting or opening I’ll happily assist friends, colleagues or other people. Twice someone said “scary!”. Both times were in California. So I always enjoy carrying my work laptop around in a ‘tacticool’ OD-green-ish molle-strap-covered backpack.

  8. avatar ChrisH says:

    “The owner wants this to be a family place.”

    How do we break people of this idiotic mindset? It’s one thing for the sycophants in their ivory towers but if that’s the ‘belief’ even in a place that should know better, we have a serious uphill battle!

    1. avatar darth says:

      Do they serve alcohol (and they probably do)? Drunks aren’t exactly “family friendly.”

      “How many drunkards have you seen, and how many gunfights have you been a witness to? Thanks, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”

      1. avatar Ing says:

        EXACTLY. Any business that has people drinking alcohol in proximity to a kid-friendly activity — as so many bowling alleys do — has no business bugging anybody else about what’s “family friendly” or not. I’m not against alcohol as such, and I don’t know if this particular place served any, but it boggles my mind how backward attitudes can be about some things.

    2. avatar Tama Paine says:

      So now our linguistic overlords have determined that “a family place” is the sort of venue where a Fanta-haired maniac or a drugged-up teen can mow down all the kids with no one to stop them?

      If the employee had asked me, “Are you LE?” I would have replied that I was unclear why he was asking. I’ve had kids ask me whether I’m a cop while OCing, and I’m always happy to talk to them I am in terms that kids seem to understand and feel comfy with. But it’s a different matter when an adult asks.

      I would have asked whether the establishment had a policy of interrogating its patrons who are acting in full compliance with the law.

      I would have politely asked the worker his name, and asked for contact information for the owner. If the worker wouldn’t supply this, I would have simply noted his role and the time of our interchange and looked up the business online.

      Then I would have contacted the owner, to ask whether his employee was correct in representing the owner as turning aside the business of law abiding people, including tourists. If yes, I’d write to the city, county, and state tourism mavens, and indicated that my dollars spend well elsewhere.

      Still, I generally CC for this very reason. Though out in small rural towns, I tend to feel comfortable with OC, and the one time in ten years that anybody asked, I simply said that I’d just come out of the local backcountry. They said, “Did you see bears?” I replied that no, bears stayed in the brush…however I did encounter two guys who approached me with inappropriate comments (female, alone, remote area). The questioner asked me what I did, and I said I reached up to scratch my right ribs, and the forest apes backed down immediately. I assume it was the holstered .45 and 45 rounds. Not that they thought I had cooties.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I think that when most people see a clean cut, well dressed man or well dressed woman carrying a gun they assume you must be a LEO as a matter of course.

        I have been asked if I was a police officer when opening carrying. My response was “My name isn’t Michael Westen but I did used to be an intelligence officer.” That usually satisfies them.

    3. avatar Jake says:

      If the fact the dude had his dang family with him didn’t do it, just about nothing will. Pro-rights families don’t count because their safety isn’t endangered by the presence of a firearm in their sphere of victimhood.

    4. avatar Chip says:

      If someone walks into an establishment with their family and is told they must disarm, and hears some nonsense about it being a family-friendly business, I’d like to see this response used:

      “I’m glad that this is a family-friendly business. Nothing is more important to me than my family. I carry my firearm because I’m trained to use it and it is an effective tool for defending both myself and my family from harm.”

      “You have said I must disarm in order to patronize your business. Do you have a more effective means of self-defense for me to utilize to protect myself and my family while I am at your establishment?”

  9. avatar Nicks87 says:

    Like myself and others have said before: My only problem with open-carry is weapon retention. If you can assure me that a 6’4″, 250lbs. thug CANNOT take it away from you, then by all means open carry. However if you are 5’4″ and 120lbs. soaking wet and arent really sure what weapon retention means, then you probably better carry concealed.

    1. avatar David Trest says:

      A lot of “open carry” holsters have excellent retention, like the Safariland ALS. Most IWB holsters and more have NO retention at all beyond simple friction holding the gun in place.

      1. avatar anon bowler says:

        Retention be damned, has no one realized that having something protruding from your hip while bowling could be detrimental to your throw?

    2. avatar Lynn McFadden says:

      If you are facing someone much larger your only hope is to be able to use the firearm you carry. I open carry every day all day (AZ) and get a few comments (99% favorable) but I try hard to be aware of surroundings, and activities behind me.

    3. avatar Gene bazan says:

      sidearm retention is a matter of training, proper holster an situational awareness.

  10. avatar 505markf says:

    You open carried a Caracal in Montana? Clearly the guy read you for one of those out-of-state troublemakers, like maybe a Californian. I thought it was a rule in Montana that you could only open carry firearms allowable in Cowboy Action shooting. Next time, try a nice Colt SAA or one of those clones of the 1911 used in the “Wild Bunch.” When in Rome…


  11. avatar OldLawman says:

    That is one of the reasons I carry concealed even in a open-carry state. Not worth the hassle and interruption of my day. I’m not interested in proving a point, just want to go about my business.
    The other, primary reason is that I want the tactical advantage of having a concealed gun, and therefore some choice, if need be.

    1. avatar David Trest says:

      “Tactical advantage”? You mean so you can draw from concealment?

      I’ve got news for you buddy. If you draw from concealment, you are the AGGRESSOR. YOU are the criminal. When you have to draw in response to a threat, you have lost the element of surprise and are reacting to a threat.

      1. avatar John E> says:

        When you draw from concealment, you are the aggressor? What law school near Panama did you go to?

        1. avatar thingi says:

          I may be mistaken, but I think he may be referring to the fact that open carry has the tactical advantage of being a deterrent, while concealed carry doesn’t have that advantage until you draw, and if you draw, you damn well better have a good reason to do so, otherwise you’re the aggressor and will have committed a criminal act under the law (for example, if some shady looking guy is eyeing you across the room; you obviously can’t draw from concealment just because you think he might be a threat).

      2. avatar Neal Williams says:

        The bad guy is going to take out their opposition first. Better to be the viper in the boot than the puma on the path.

        Open-Carry is great for when you’re in the wilderness or on your own property. Any other time carry concealed.

        Sorry David, but Massad Ayoob’s tactical advice supersedes your internet street cred.

        1. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

          I hesitate to apply logic to a hypothetical criminal. If the bad buys had sense they’d get jobs (or apply for government benefits, I suppose) rather than make their living by illegality.

          I always cringe when I hear people say “the sound of a shotgun being racked will have a home intruder running.” Again, you are applying logic. If we are talking about a person who decided to enter my home in the middle of the night, there is no reason to infer he is thinking rationally.

          Will an open carried pistol deter a criminal? His mamma tellin’ him to behave didn’t deter him. Will a criminal prioritize shooting open carriers? Most don’t seem to prioritize other aspects of their lives all that well.

        2. avatar thingi says:

          I don’t think I’d ever want to open carry, for various reasons, but to play devil’s advocate: most criminals probably look for easy targets and don’t want to call attention to themselves or pick on people their own size.

          If they see a person open carrying a gun, sure, they might shoot him first. But then that means that real quick they have to do what they initially planned on doing before they saw you, because firing their weapon at you means the cops are going to be called, people are on alert, etc. It also means they just committed murder, which implies that’s what they were setting out to do in the first place (when maybe they were just going to threaten murder, e.g. armed robbery).

          I think in most cases it’s just more likely that they arrive, see a guy with a gun (if they even do), and leave looking for an easier target. Are there cases where the bad guy would shoot the open carrier? Probably, but my guess is those cases are rare, and I wonder if there are even any documented cases of it happening (doesn’t mean it wouldn’t). Doesn’t mean I’m right though.

        3. avatar Lynn McFadden says:

          As one who carries open 99% of the time, I absolutely believe that from a tactical point of view concealed is the way to go. However in my case I’m making a bit of a point. Trying to acclimate the Calif. tourists and encourage the locals to do likewise. I was in the bank the other day (open carry) and one of the officers asked me for a minute of my time. He had just moved from the state of Ohio and had a permit for Ohio but wondered what the laws were in AZ. I took a couple of pleasant minutes to acquaint him and also show him a few of the local gun sites in the internet ( where he could get additional info. And that’s why I open carry, for the most part. Most of the people who question me want to open carry but haven’t gotten up their nerve yet.

      3. avatar OldLawman says:

        Without trying to sound like a wiseguy, the advantage is that I may choose not to draw given the situation. As a retired LEO/firearms trainer, and practicing attorney, I think I can judge when it might be to my advantage if and when to draw my firearm. When you open carry, while you can still decide not to draw, if the criminal has already seen your openly carried gun, he might well decide to remove you from the scenario and not take any further chances with you. That is the tactical advantage of which I spoke.

        And BTW, you are flat-out wrong, legally, in your assertion that if I draw my concealed gun, I become the aggressor. If the situation is such that I am reasonable fear of death or severe bodily injury, I am justified in drawing my concealed firearm.

  12. avatar Gary K says:

    Western Montana has become something of a liberal haven. Here in Eastern Montana we have a little different mindset(outside of Billings that is). It’s live and let live for the most part. Open carry doesn’t faze us. Heck it actually helps with the tourists wanting to see the old west and cowboys packing heat.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      Never had a problem OC’ing here in Bozeman, but I guess we’re more in the middle of the state.

  13. avatar ST says:

    One reason we can cite for the expansion of shall issue is the fact that concealed carry means exactly that.That hoplophobes cannot distinguish us from the blisninnys is an advantage to consider when weighing the options of open versus concealed carry.

  14. avatar Don says:

    Well, you are authorized with the enforcement of certain laws, like violent crimes against yourself and your family… 😉

  15. avatar Farm guy says:

    Last summer on a hot day, I accidentally (legally) open carried into a cafe in Western Washington. It was quite busy. Not a word was uttered until we had been there about an hour, when I went to the register to pay.

    Two of the waitstaff came over to me and THANKED me for carrying, and said they wished more people did. They also stated that, “if someone had been carrying in that theater (Aruora), maybe fewer people would have been hurt.

    Needless to say, anytime we’re in town, we eat there.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Where was that? It sounds like a good place.

  16. avatar Shire-man says:

    Love the “family place” nonsense.
    Totally cool to be in there wearing a Cannibal Corpse shirt or a shirt with some vulgar saying on it or cursing with every roll of the ball. But a tool on your belt? That’s just un-family like.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      Hey, now…let’s not bring Cannibal Corpse into this.

    2. avatar Jake says:

      Everyone knows juggalos are more family friendly than dudes in golf shirts with their wife and kids.

      It’s just their culture, man!

  17. avatar John Davies says:

    Whitefish is hardly your typical Montana town – it is a yuppy ski resort village with high end condos, expensive shops, and multimillion dollar McMansion “ranches” in the surrounding hills. I assure you that the lad in the bowling alley was not a native…. and I also bet that he didn’t even own a gun.

    John Davies
    Spokane WA USA

    1. avatar Carl says:

      Right on the money.

  18. avatar mina says:

    yet another way we let them control the frame. assumption is: Carrying openly isn’t family-friendly.

    Says who, exactly?

    Why are we not pushing back vehemently against this sort of BS?

    Change the conversation!!

    1. avatar Roscoe says:


    2. avatar Tama Paine says:

      What Mina said.

      Robert’s carry was consummately friendly to his own family.

      As well as others whose backs HE would be willing to cover, when their own parents abrogated that duty.

  19. avatar Chip says:

    I’d like to know how “carrying a firearm” translates to making something not a “family place” …

    It’d be one thing if a gun owner walked in and was waving a gun around (which would be the sign of an irresponsible gun owner). But kept in a secure holster attached to someone’s hip? It’s just a self-defense tool that’s available if needed in an emergency. It’s similar to why people have fire extinguishers in their kitchens, or have spare tires in their vehicles.

    I open carry. I live in a may-issue state for concealed carry (Delaware) but open carry is legal without a permit. I have no issue with those who choose to carry open or carry concealed. It’s a personal preference, IMO — there are advantages and disadvantages for both. I favor constitutional carry laws (which is to say basically no law that prohibits carrying either way, other than perhaps those convicted of violent crimes).

    Too many people have been brainwashed that “guns are bad” and can’t get past the idea that many good people carry guns. The gun isn’t the issue, the issue is whether or not the person carrying it is good or bad. Frankly, if more people open carry and more people see that the people open carrying are good, normal people, that could help change the perception of guns and gun owners.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Bingo again.

    2. avatar Tama Paine says:

      I don’t mean to torque here…but I’m amazed to know that OC is legal in DE. Just can’t imagine it happening in Wilmington and environs, like the upscale horsey country where Shotgun Joe lives (in a state of upscale cluelessness), or the ritzy downtown Irish pubs, where a man can’t even wear a Utilikilt, boots, and Flogging Molly t-shirt.

      Kent and Sussex county, sure…but New Castle county, Chip? How about the Cape-Henlopen-to-Fenwick beach towns? How about Newark (home of the biggest U of D campus)?


      1. avatar Chip says:

        Tama, OC is indeed legal in Delaware with no permit required in all three counties, and in Newark, and in the beach towns. State law includes preemption, although an old ordinance in Dover still exists (but it is apparently pretty easy to get permission from the chief of police to OC there if you ask).

        Former Delaware AG Charles M. Oberly, III once said “Under current Delaware law, virtually anyone, excepting felons, may strap on a holster and carry a gun in plain view.”

        There’s a good site full of info called Delaware Open Carry: … it includes has a forum and has info on the laws and some discussion about court cases. Here’s a bit from the site’s FAQ about OC limits:

        Q: Where can I open carry?

        A: It’s probably better to list where you can’t carry. State and National Parks and Forests are off limits as well as detention areas such as court houses, police stations and prisons. Dover has a grandfathered ordinance that prohibits carrying a weapon unless you have a license. New Castle County has an illegal ordinance prohibiting possession of firearms in county parks — we’re currently pressuring the county council to change it. Title 11, Chapter 5, § 1457 allows you to conceal your weapon onto school grounds with a license or open carry without. However, there is the federal Gun Free School Zone Act which only exempts you if you’re licensed by the state in which the zone resides. It’s been suggested that Delaware’s slot casinos are off-limits as are all federal buildings; however, we cannot verify this in law. Also, Post Offices are in a state of flux. Err on the side of caution and do not carry there for the time being.

        So in short, open carry exists in Delaware and is reasonably decent (state preemption, not too many banned places).

  20. avatar Blehtastic says:

    I was expecting for this article to just say “is required if you don’t want all the cowboys to call you a nancy boy.”

    1. avatar Tama Paine says:

      You apparently have never been anywhere near MT.

      The “nancy boys”–by which I presume you mean “men of softer affect or gay men”–I know there all carry.

  21. avatar Joel says:

    I can’t imagine a circumstance where I would want to open carry. Think about this. I had the privilege this morning of photographing an active shooter training exercise by the Sarasota PD SWAT Team in a school here. While discussing with the training officer what images and video would be appropriate to publish we agreed that there were some parts of the training scenario that would be best left out of view as they would tip off a potential bad guy about how to compromise the effectiveness of the cops in neutralizing the threat. Same for open vs concealed carry. Open carry tips off the potential bad guys about where the opposition is, giving them the tactical advantage. I know, I know, you’re going to yell at me that open carry has the opposite effect of making the bad guy think twice. Good luck with that. The fact that I’m carrying a gun is on a need to know basis, and no one else needs to know.

  22. avatar Justin says:

    When I arrived to work on a ranch outside Bozeman last fall, I asked a local gun store owner how folks felt about open carry. He asked me where I was from and if I had a permit in my home state (Massachusetts) to which I answered yes. “Keep it concealed then”, the police are more comfortable that way in town…

    Later on when speaking with a few local police, they explained that they expect everyone to be carrying all the time and usually do not even ask during traffic stops–it is just assumed.

  23. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

    Not saying I disagree with the course taken but I wonder what would have happened if to the question “are you law enforcement?” the author had answered “Yes.” After all, he was not asked if he was a member of a professional police force. His purpose in carrying was to, if need be, enforce the law; specifically those prohibiting assault, theft, murder, rape, etc. So is he any less “law enforcement” than anybody else? He could have added “I am an official member of the unorganized militia.”

    I also wonder if keeping a set of handcuffs on one’s belt would help put people at ease and reduce questions. I have a military style haircut and wear a cheap suit and aviator sunglasses in my daily work. Even without a gun displayed I have been mistaken for a cop before. I would bet most people seeing me with a gun on my belt would just assume was a cop.

    There is of course a thin, but I think highly visible, line between passively playing on someone’s assumptions and affirmatively impersonating an officer, but I don’t think any of the above would cross that line.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I don’t know about where RF was at, but in California it’s illegal to claim or imply that you’re a cop if it ain’t so. Iding yourself as a cop is a quick way to ruin your vacation.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      Ummmmm, sure, that sounds like a plan. I’d love be there when you do that because I see a new viral video taking shape here.

  24. avatar Alek says:

    I have my CPL in MI. I do open carry as well, hoping to undo the stigma associated with guns. A gun unseen can’t upset people, but it also can’t show responsible gun ownership.

    Of course, here in MI, I have to open carry in some places because I can’t carry concealed. School is the biggest example. I’m not leaving my gun in the car.

    1. avatar Ducky says:

      “A gun unseen can’t upset people, but it also can’t show responsible gun ownership.”
      I’m constantly torn between the tactical decision to concealed carry, and the fact that gun ownership can’t be normalized without open carry.

  25. avatar charlie Taylor says:

    I used to work at an independent movie theater here in Atlanta that was pretty open about being gun friendly even in the wake of the Aurora massacre, but we had an unwritten policy that concealed carry was preferred. If someone was open carrying we only said something if another customer brought it up, and even then it was alone the lines of “hey, mind covering that with your shirt while you’re here? People are noticing.” I don’t think we ever asked anyone to leave or even to put it in their car.

  26. avatar stateisevil says:

    I’ve never been asked to leave someplace while OCing. If I know the place has a no guns sign, I conceal.

    1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      If the place has a “no guns” sign, why give them your money?

      1. avatar c4v3man says:

        Sometimes there is no choice, like medical specialists.

        One in town that I’m attending currently has a “no concealed deadly weapons” sign with a picture of a knife and a pistol on it, which carries no weight of law, but still bothers me. I’m considering open carrying on my last visit, since it says nothing about prohibiting open carry… Until then I continue to concealed carry in…

  27. avatar Gregg says:

    Since the owner established a gun-free zone, what security did he provide for the safety of the people there?

    Those that establish gun-free zones have a moral and legal obligation to provide for the safety and security of those within the zone. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Otherwise, sue his ass for endangering you and your family.

  28. avatar Model 31 says:

    These businesses need to be reminded that when they deny our rights to carry in accordance with federal/state/city laws inside their establishments, they are assuming the responsibility to protect us and our families from acts of violence and will be liable (in civil court) for any and all harm we (and family members present) receive while disarmed inside said establishment. This applies to concealed or otherwise.
    Years ago, Walmart had a legal “no firearms allowed” sign. A chl holder was shot while inside the store and successfully sued Walmart for damages resulting from the incident that occurred inside the store. Now…no more “no guns allowed” signs in Walmart (I’ve never seen one on a Texas Walmart).

    You can bet your a$$ if Walmart, Target and other nationwide retailers run by “out of touch” blue state inhabitants could ban your firearm without paying out millions per injured individual, they would do it.

    1. avatar Tama Paine says:

      Citation please.

      Each day something like 5 new lawsuits get filed against Wal-Mart…and some of them are ridiculous, some not.

      Ridiculous: people suing Wal-Mart because their degenerate or miscreant relatives shoot somebody with ammo/a firearm they bought there. (Somehow the retailer is supposed to control use of the product after the person pays for it.)

      But I’ve been unable to find the case to which you refer.

      1. avatar Model 31 says:

        “Ridiculous: people suing Wal-Mart because their degenerate or miscreant relatives shoot somebody with ammo/a firearm they bought there. (Somehow the retailer is supposed to control use of the product after the person pays for it.)”
        I believe you misunderstood the content of my post.

        “But I’ve been unable to find the case to which you refer.”
        I’m sorry…I don’t know what to say…try again…search more than one source?..
        It was a story I saw on the news, possible during the late 80’s. Perhaps it was a settlement instead of a court case. As I said, years ago.

    2. avatar Nordic says:

      Not so sure about your legal logic. Disarming yourself because of a business’s store policies is a personal decision. Nobody forces you to spend your time there and you are free to go somewhere else. I imagine a judge would laugh such a case out of court.

      1. avatar Model 31 says:

        Not just my logic:
        “In giving this notification to customers, these businesses may incur an extraordinary liability should customers be attacked while at the business or in the business’ parking lot, since the management has specifically preempted the individual’s right of self-protection.

        Further, these businesses may incur an extraordinary duty of care and responsibility to protect customers while they are on the business property. But even an attempt to provide extra protection does not negate the extraordinary liability incurred by usurping the personal rights of its customers.”
        ““Property owners or occupants who do not prohibit an individual from carrying a concealed weapon on their premises are immune from any liability arising from their decision,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). “Conversely, if a business prohibits concealed carry, it may be accepting some liability for the actions of customers and employees arising from the use of a concealed weapon.”

        If a business doesn’t prohibit concealed carry and an employee brings a weapon to work and that weapon falls on the floor, discharging and wounding a customer, the business owner is “immune from any liability arising out of its decision” under the law.

        However, if the business prohibits weapons, then it has no such immunity. So the customer could presumably sue the business for negligence in failing to enforce its no weapons policy.”
        “However, the law allows business owners to post “no guns allowed” signs, thereby prohibiting concealed carry. But what if someone posts such a sign and an incident occurs? Is that property owner liable?

        The law is silent on the question, and the answer depends upon whom you ask. Some certified concealed carry instructors say a business owner absolutely accepts liability if he or she decides to prohibit concealed carry. The logic is, in a business that doesn’t prohibit concealed carry, every adult is responsible for his or her actions, and if a person fires a gun, that the person’s responsibility and liability, not the business owner’s.

        But by posting a sign making people disarm themselves before entering a premise, the owner is explicitly accepting responsibility for that person’s safety. In this view, if something happens to a customer forced by the owner to be defenseless, liability is on the business owner.”
        “Most of Wisconsin’s businesses are encouraged to allow concealed carry because, legally, they are immune from liability if they do, Manley said.

        Illinois has no immunity clause. Although business owners can already keep a gun on the business property, employers worry that if they ban employees from being able to carry them personally, they could be held liable for preventing workers from defending themselves.”

        1. avatar Nordic says:

          Still seems legally dubious to me. Sounds like something cooked up by a pro-gun lawyer to intimidate law-abiding citizens from exercising their rights as private business owners.

          You chose to abide by the store’s policies and had every chance to go somewhere else. Take responsibility for your own actions.

          Such a policy in no way stops you from defending yourself. Arm yourself with a can of mace, or a taser, or a baseball bat, or a knife, or a bear trap, or a vat of burning oil. Take up martial arts. People were defending themselves long before guns came around.

          And the idea of suing a law-abiding private business owner and potentially destroying his or her life just because he or she had the gall to put in place a few rules for their own property and business seems rather selfish and malicious. Take your business to a more gun-friendly establishment and everyone is happy. Business owner A keeps guns out of his store. Business owners B’s pro-gun policy attracts new business. And you get to keep your gun.

  29. avatar _DonWorsham_ says:

    Was your pocket knife legal?

  30. avatar mina says:

    His response to carry concealed now is the wrong one.

    let me share a story. I live in a rural town where presumably there used to be horses ridden through all of the time. perfectly useful and legal.

    fast forward to today. I am not “allowed” to ride my horse into town. why?

    ~because no one has seen horses being ridden through town in a really, really long time!~

    Want to know how you quietly and surrepticiously lose your right to do something? By NOT DOING it regularly and often!!

    1. avatar knightofbob says:

      The small-ish town where I spent the second half of my childhood has been cracking down on horses for the past ten or fifteen years. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with a receding familiarity, but health and public safety.

      See, there’s this attitude, especially with people who don’t live there, that since it’s not like Chicago or Detroit, and since there are a handful of farms within walking distance of downtown, it must be a modern Mayberry. And the local government has consistently gone out of the way to be horse friendly, there are several well-groomed, constantly maintained wilderness trails specifically for equine use, for just one example.

      Many riders, and particularly one specific group from out of the area, had historically taken advantage of this, and completely ignored any sense of etiquette or courtesy towards others. The main issue was their complete lack of effort to clean up after themselves. They would park their trailers at the trailheads, then ignore the trails and ride down the road into town. Our road commission does not have the equipment or staffing to spend all day patrolling for horse leavings, and, trust me, a fresh pile of road apples on a blind curve is just as dangerous as black ice. They were given several opportunities to continue using the roads, since they all failed, they were eventually banned from in town, and are gradually losing access to the neighborhoods outside of town.

  31. avatar William Burke says:

    Our nation’s fourth-largest state clearly can’t make up its mind just what kind of state it wants to be, or become. They legalized medical weed pretty early-on, then did a partial back-away a couple years ago.
    Pro-2A or something different? Liberty or equivocation?

    All I know is, there is a CRAPLOAD of empty space in MT to squirrel our shy but defiant asses away in. Out of sight, out of mind.

  32. avatar George Tennison says:

    Well, you were spending your time in Whitefish. That’s not exactly the real Montana. It’s filled with Californians, New Yorkers, and wealthy tech startup CEOs who have nothing better to do than drive up our property taxes and bring in their liberal haughtiness. Next time Robert, spend your time and money in Kalispell instead of supporting another Boulder. We have a Sweet Peaks in Kalispell as well.

  33. avatar Proverbs says:

    Montana is generally gun-friendly. I own acreage around Whitefish, and I can tell you that the housing bubble really hurt Whitefish. About 15 years ago a lot of Hollywood types discovered Whitefish and have since turned large parts of the community into sheep who are willing to serve the influx of very wealthy people at the expense of their own values. Since the locals have lost much in the property downfall, they are subservient to their wealthy master’s wishes. Most of them hate guns (except for themselves and their bodyguards, of course). Whitefish used to be a great place to live, raise a family and was especially good for people who loved outdoor recreation. Now it’s almost like Vail, CO.

  34. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    Should’ve come down here to Bozeman. We still have the steady influx of Californians and movie stars, but no one has ever batted an eye at open carry when I’ve done it.

  35. avatar Taco Ninja says:

    I like to concealed carry always because no place has a right to search you without your consent. That and why attract the attention? It’s “my insulin pack” perhaps? And if you refuse to show them, and they kick you out, threaten to call the media about it…

    I do like open carry rights because if ever the gun is accidentally visible it protects your rights then… To completely open carry I fear invites unwanted attention.

  36. avatar Tom RKBA says:

    “Carrying a gun on someone else’s private property is not a natural human right. Gun ownership and carrying on your own private property? Absolutely. But if carrying a gun on other peoples’ private property was a natural human right, this would imply that your right to carry a gun supersedes a property owner’s natural right to set the rules for his own property, which would further imply that the property owner doesn’t truly own the property, but that you and everyone else does, which is false.”

    You are absolutely supporting an evil policy. EVIL. “Authority” in this context does NOT exceed LIFE. EVER.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      C’mon, Tom. My property is my property, and I make the rules. There’s nothing evil about it. There’s nothing authoritarian about it. Nobody is forced to come onto my property, but if they do, they can abide by my rules or GTFO, pronto.

      What’s wrong with that?

  37. avatar Ardent says:

    It’s surprising to me that even here in rural southern Ohio, where both concealed and open carry are legal and where firearms are as common as cars, that there are still a good many businesses that have signs posted indicating they don’t allow concealed carry.

    In Ohio though these signs have no force of law and the ultimate penalty would be receiving trespass notice and being ordered to leave. Generally I prefer to shop where they respect my rights but sometimes these other places are unavoidable. In such cases I assume that concealed means concealed and simply ignore the signs.

    When I have time or it’s appropriate I like to point out to owners that while no one will refuse to patronize their business be cause the DO NOT have such a sign, there are quite a few of us out there who are avoiding them because they do. I also point out that other businesses don’t make such restrictions and also don’t have any issues. Often the signs come down. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making it a priority.

  38. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    I’m very family-friendly, which is why I’m frequently armed.

  39. avatar jmk says:


    O.C. = retention holster. full stop.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Point taken. I usually carry a Glock 19 in a retention holster when I open carry.

  40. avatar Gregg says:

    In a small town here in Texas several months ago two would be 17 year old villains walked into a restaurant with double barrel shotguns. One fired a round into the ceiling and announced they were there to rob everyone and ordered everyone to get down on the floor.

    There were approx. 60 people seated at the tables. 35 of them immediately pulled out their CCs and one man said, “Son, the odds are not on your side. I suggest that both of you get down on the floor.”

    As it turns out, they walked in on a LLEO/Boy Scouts appreciation supper. The two villains are now guest of the State of Texas in Huntsville.

    We don’t have OC here, but CC works quite well.

  41. avatar IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" says:

    The only real problem with having any carry permit is the obvious fact that it marks you as a person with a gun if and when they decide to try and grab all the guns. So they KNOW they have a “right” to search your premises for guns — and if you don’t like it, well, there will be court cases that say it’s wrong… AFTER they’ve taken all your guns. Good luck getting them back AFTER the fact….

    So be conscious of this, and make sure you have guns in places they won’t know to search if they make a quick gun grab attempt.

    No, a “concealed gun bookcase” is cool but it won’t stop them, you can bet they’ll come in with gun sniffing dogs and with metal detectors and with all sorts of equipment to look through walls and stuff. So make it either off-site or at least somewhere unobvious.

    Yeah, that may seem paranoid but it’s one of those cases where being wrong about it would really, really SUCK.,

  42. avatar Azrael says:

    No problem with open carrying. This is nice especially when you are carrying concealed and your gun comes unconcealed accidentally. However something that most folks need to understand. The state of mind that some people have through the rigorous conditioning of Hollywood and main stream media might make them nervous around the sight of a iron strapped to a person’s body. In order to rectify this ignorance education, patience, and respect must be applied in generous amounts.

  43. avatar Jason Hill says:

    The problem with carrying in that bowling alley has nothing to do with open or concealed. It serves alcohol. It is illegal to carry at all in the building. It’s a state law. Just as it would be in a bar, bank, or school. Montana has the most permissive laws in the nation.

    1. avatar Kris says:

      Mr. Hill you should freshen up on your MT open carry laws. It is not illegal to OC in a bank or a bar. However, you cannot consume alcohol in that bar while carrying.

  44. avatar Kris says:

    Mr. Hill you should freshen up on your MT open carry laws. It is not illegal to OC in a bank or a bar. However you cannot consume alcohol in that bar while carrying.

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