Most Montanans hold their gun rights very close as a basic liberty and choose to exercise those rights to protect their family and property.

The short answer to my question is YES.

Some may be familiar with the Castle Doctrine or the Stand Your Ground law which is recognized in the state of Montana.

Wikipedia defines it as a legal doctrine that designates a person's abode or any legally occupied place (for example, a vehicle or home) as a place in which that person has protections and immunities permitting one, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend oneself against an intruder, free from legal prosecution for the consequences of the force used.

What the basic definition doesn't shine upon is the term Forcible Felony.

Wikipedia defines this as a felony that is subject to special penalties because it involves the use or threat of physical force.

These include:

  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Armed Robbery

Under this self-defense model it seems that one would have precedent to open fire on a suspected intruder. If the criteria fits, by all means, defend you home and family from harm.

After the incident, one would have to present hard evidence and intent of an assailant in a court of law, and that would be up to a jury to decide if your actions were warranted for the situation.

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There was a case presented in the last ten years out of Missoula, MT

A homeowner was a victim of past home burglaries and staged his garage to catch a criminal in some form of vigilante justice.

The state made a case of the individual luring unsuspecting thieves into a garage, and they explained that because of the methods used to incapacitate a criminal, the homeowner can't articulate an immanent threat.

Not all home or individual threats are the same.

I've heard of people in Montana say that if someone, no matter what comes onto their property they have a right to defend by use of force, which is very correct. However; more than half the time they are referring to defense with a firearm.

If one refers to Montana Code 45-3-104, it states as such:

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.

As long as everything checks out as immanent danger with proof of forcible felony, It may keep you from being on the wrong side of the gavel.

Act Accordingly and be safe.

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