According to a recent study conducted by digital agency 1Point21 Interactive, Texas ranks as the tenth most gun-friendly state in the United States. Part of the reason for this is because legal gun owners in the Lone Star State have many freedoms, including the option to conceal or open carry in many places, a list that generally includes beaches. But before you bring your gun to your favorite local beach, here are five things you should know first, offered by the firearms safety education professionals from Online Texas LTC, a premier provider of Texas online concealed carry classes.
1. Bring Your License to Carry (for Added Legal Protections)
Even though Texas is now a constitutional carry state, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and bring your license to carry with you, which you’ll likely have if you’ve been a legal handgun owner and user for a while. What this does is avoid any potential issues when you’re just looking to enjoy some time at the beach.
2. Be Careful with Open Carry at the Beach
Many Texas beaches are now open again thanks to the Open Beaches Act, which grants unrestricted access to Texas beaches. This means you can conceal carry in a beach bag, backpack, or even in your swimwear if it’s possible to do so in an inconspicuous way. As for open carry, a holster is necessary to do this in Texas. This means you’ll need to bring something specifically designed to hold your handgun if you plan to open carry while at the beach.
3. Be Mindful of How You Store Your Handgun when Traveling to the Beach
Consider how you’ll be getting to your preferred Texas beach with your gun along for the trip. In Texas, you can bring your handgun with you in a motor vehicle even without a license, either concealed or open in a holster. If you’ll be traveling by plane to a beach destination in another part of Texas, TSA guidelines require your firearm to be unloaded. It will also need to be in a hard-sided carrying case with a TSA-approved lock, and you’ll need to declare it when you check in at the airport. Refer to TSA and airline policies before flying with your firearm.
4. Private Beaches May Have Some Restrictions
Before you enjoy the sunshine and sand, find out if your intended beach destination is public or private. For instance, some beaches perched in front of hotels with public access are actually owned by the hotel or resort. With public beaches, you should be fine as long as you’re a legal gun owner in Texas. However, with private beaches, Texas does give owners the right to restrict gun use on their premises, and this extends to privately owned beaches. If you do opt for a private beach, look for any posted signs.
5. Laws Change when You’re on the Water or Drinking
If you have plans to head to the beach and go out on a boat or jet ski, Texas does allow you to carry your handgun with or without a license. The main stipulation is the watercraft must be under your control. You’re also able to legally carry your firearm to and from a boat or vehicle as long as you have a direct route. Lastly, it’s not a good idea to enjoy alcoholic beverages at the beach when you have your firearm with you. In Texas, carrying a firearm while intoxicated is a crime punishable by significant fines and/or jail time.
Whether you already own a firearm or you’re considering purchasing your first one, it’s essential to know the laws governing when and where you can carry your weapon. Online Texas LTC is dedicated to providing the finest firearms training available. Whether you simply need to learn how to handle a gun and shoot safely or you want to take a Texas concealed carry class online, Online Texas LTC has what you need. Give us a call today at 512-675-2124.