GREAT FALLS — Governor Steve Bullock announced in a news conference on Wednesday that he is issuing a statewide directive requiring face coverings in Montana. The directive is effective immediately in counties that have four or more active cases of COVID-19.
The directive requires that masks be used in most indoor settings and where social distancing cannot be maintained. Bullock said businesses will have the right to deny entry of anyone not wearing a mask. “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service. It’s that simple,” he said. He stopped short, however, of calling for fines or other punishment for failing to comply. He said law enforcement and public health agencies should take the role of education for most violators and reserve harsher action for repeat offenders.
Some people have posted on social media that it is a crime to wear a mask while exercising your right to conceal-carry a firearm. For anyone wondering if wearing a mask nullifies their right to lawfully conceal-carry a legal firearm -- Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said in a video earlier this month that it does not:
- The website FactCheck.org states: "A meme making the bogus claim that wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic “REMOVES YOUR CONCEAL CARRY ability” is spreading widely online. Laws regulating concealed weapons vary by state, but sheriffs in many states have debunked the rumor."
- The website PolitiFact.com states: "No national law prohibits licensed concealed-carry holders from carrying a weapon and wearing a mask. Some states generally prohibit wearing a mask in public to conceal one’s identity. But states with those laws have said the laws don’t apply to wearing a mask to guard against spreading the coronavirus."
- And from US Law Shield: "Over the past few days, we have heard the same question from our LawShield members, “Can I legally carry while wearing a mask?” Depending on the state, a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal law may be allowed to carry a gun in a non-prohibited place while wearing a mask. Keep in mind all other laws still apply. Take time to learn the law!"