Demand is brisk in Missoula for a concealed carry permit, and one firearms dealer, Axmen Firearms, explains the process.

Firearms instructor Ian Meno-Wieland provided details on a busy Saturday at his store on Highway 93 South near Blue Mountain Road.

"Demand has increased and that seems to be steady for folks over the past five years, or so," Meno-Wieland explained. "A lot of folks are listening to the news and seeing what's going on in the world and realizing they probably ought to have the means to defend themselves, if it comes down to it."

How does one go about obtaining a concealed carry permit? Meno-Wieland explains.

"In the State of Montana, what you'll need is some sort of safe gun-handling course," he said. "We do recommend one that also introduces you to Montana code, all the laws you'll need to know to carry safely, but also one that will take you out onto the range to give you a test on safe gun handling skills. You'll take that certification to the county sheriff, where you'll get a packet to apply for your permit. The packet will ask questions such as 'where have you lived in the past five years, give me three people who can vouch for you', things like that, and then it's up to the county sheriff where you reside to issue you a permit."

Meno-Wieland explains the parameters of the permit, and what it specifically allows and does not allow.

"The concealed carry permit in the State of Montana allows you to carry under Montana law within city limits a concealed firearm or concealed weapon on your person," he began. "There are definitely some restricted areas. Government buildings and school zones are definitely restricted both federally and by state law, but there's also some areas that folks need to know about, such as venues that serve alcohol for consumption on the premises. There's also quite a few areas around here that make most of their living on serving food, but, if they have a liquor license and they serve alcohol for consumption, then that place is prohibited."

Meno-Wieland said gun safety courses are available all over western Montana. The Axmen offers courses every three weeks, Gary Marbut with the Montana Shooting Sports Association also offers gun classes, as do many of the other sporting goods stores in the area. They range in price from $100 and higher.

Meno-Wieland said the actual cost of the permit itself is a little over $80 for the first four years of a permit, and than after four years, the cost is about $40.

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