Top 5 Things to Know Before Carrying to a Lake or a State Park in Missouri

You might think the only thing you need to figure out for a trip to the lake or to a state park is whether to bring sunscreen or insect repellent, but knowing the firearm laws should be on your checklist as well. Can you conceal a .44 magnum in your swimming trunks? Maybe. The following list of five tips will help you to carry concealed with confidence.

  1. Carry a Handgun—Missouri’s carry laws do not place special restrictions on lake areas. You can carry concealed in a beach bag, backpack, and yes, even in your swim trunks. Be careful with open carry because the handgun will need to be in a belt or shoulder holster. You can carry your firearm in Missouri’s state parks. The same carry laws apply that apply elsewhere in the state. The law does prohibit hunting and/or discharging your firearm in a state park.
  2. Storing Firearms While Traveling— If you are headed out of state, it’s important to keep in mind how you’re going to get to your waterside destination. When traveling by vehicle, Missouri allows you to carry a concealed handgun with or without a license. If you have a CCW, you have the additional option of openly carrying your handgun in your vehicle in a shoulder holster or belt holster (CCW holders don’t have to worry about municipalities restricting open carry). When traveling by airplane, TSA guidelines require that your firearm is unloaded, locked in a commercial gun case with a TSA approved lock, and declared at check-in.
  3. Public vs. Private Beach—Before you feel the sand between your toes it’s important to find out if you’re going to be on a public or private beach. Though most beaches are public property, the beach outside of a private home is often the property of that homeowner. Missouri law recognizes a private owner’s right to restrict the carry of a handgun on their premises, including if that premises is on the beach. If your plans take you to a private beach, be sure to check with the owner and keep your eye out for signage. Public beaches, on the other hand, should be treated like any other public property in the state. If you can carry in Missouri, you can probably carry on the beach.
  4. Having a Firearm on a Boat—We know many of you like to go out on the water on a jet ski or boat. It’s important to understand how the laws can change when you’re out on the water, and what effect that has on carrying your firearm. Missouri law treats watercraft just like motor vehicles and allows you to carry a concealed firearm in a watercraft under your control whether or not you have an CCW. Unfortunately, boats and watercraft can lead to a complicated intersection between different state’s laws because rivers and lakes often separate two states. Also, federal regulations, specifically on waterways controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers, can affect your lawful possession of a firearm. Check with an attorney before venturing far into unknown waters.
  5. Understand How the Law Changes When You Drink—While you may not be a person who takes part in wild parties over spring break, it’s important to know what can happen if you do drink while carrying your firearm on the beach. Carrying a firearm while intoxicated is a felony criminal offense in Missouri. Missouri law does not specifically define what intoxicated means in the context of an unlawful carry, but if you lose the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or your blood alcohol concentration exceeds .08, a court will probably consider you intoxicated. Our best advice is: if you are consuming any alcohol, do not bring your gun.

If you remember these six things, you can maintain that peace of mind to enjoy your trip to the lake or to one of Missouri’s state parks.  Remember, U.S. LawShield is not just the 24/7/365 Attorney-Answered Emergency Hotline. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to call our Non-Emergency Business Line on the back of your Member Card or bring your question to one of our Gun Law Seminars. To find a Gun Law Seminar in your area go to

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