Montana does not criminalize mere possession of a machine gun. It is legal to possess a machine gun in Montana:

  • For a scientific purpose;
  • If the machine gun is not usable as a weapon and is possessed as a curiosity, ornament, or keepsake; or
  • For a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.1

However, possession or use of a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of not less than 10 years.2 Moreover, possession or use of a machine gun in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of not less than 20 years.3

Possession or use of a machine gun is presumed to be for an offensive or aggressive purpose when the machine gun is used or possessed by a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence4 in any court of record, state or federal, in the U.S. or its territories.5

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mont. Code Ann § 45-8-307(2) and (3). ⤴︎
  2. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-304. ⤴︎
  3. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-303. ⤴︎
  4. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-302 defines a “crime of violence” to include any of the following offenses or an attempt to commit any of the following offenses: forcible felony, robbery, burglary, and criminal trespass. ⤴︎
  5. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-305. ⤴︎