The following is a video transcript.
School’s out and the accumulated vacation time is burning a hole in your pocket. Before you head to a swimming pool, beach, lake, or park, make sure you do your homework on carrying on public or private property or at state and federal parks. You don’t want to see your gun rights wiped out by a simple mistake.
Now let’s look at some common mistakes made by Oklahomans when it comes to carrying a gun while having fun in the sun.
Waterparks, Summer Concerts, and Outdoor Festivals
Waterparks, summer concerts, and outdoor festivals can be fun family outings, but these events are sometimes located on private property, and the event promoters are lawfully entitled to prohibit firearms at their location during the event. If you’re given notice by way of a “no guns” sign at the entrance or while you’re within one of these locations, you must immediately leave the area and secure your firearm in your car before returning. If you resist or refuse, and police are called to the scene, police can take away your firearm and impose a fine of $250.
When it comes to public locations like rivers, lakes, or beaches, you are generally allowed to carry your handgun with your valid CCL as if you were in any other public location, while you are on dry land.
However, there is an area where gun owners can get burned if they don’t pay attention. Army Corps of Engineers restricted property is generally a federally prohibited place for weapons, and your Oklahoma CCL will not afford you protection. Almost all the popular big lakes, wildlife management areas (WMA), and adjacent public recreation areas in Oklahoma were built by the Corps of Engineers. These locations are off limits to the carrying of firearms. You can transport your gun in your car, but you cannot carry your gun at certain locations, like the dams, adjacent waterways, creeks, and rivers controlled by the dam. You might want to sunbathe while wearing the latest lightweight waterproof handgun, but don’t get into the water with it.
Parks: Municipal, State and National
The next area we receive questions about is carrying in parks—whether they are municipal, state, or national parks. All these areas are specifically exempted from the prohibited areas found in the self-defense act, and with a valid CCL, you may legally carry your handgun at most municipal, state, and national parks. Keep in mind, however, that you will be prohibited from carrying your firearm into federally owned or controlled park buildings and facilities.
Additionally, there are some park facilities that are organized and managed by public trusts that limit the open carry of firearms. Places like the Oklahoma City Zoo, The Tulsa Zoo, and The Gathering Place in Tulsa prohibit the open carrying of handguns. However, as of November 1, 2019, public trusts must allow the concealed carrying of firearms.
What if you’re invited to a pool party? If a homeowner personally tells you they are uncomfortable with your firearm, even if you’re helping with the grill, you must respect their wishes and either cut your visit short, secure your firearm in your vehicle, or take your gun home.
For any questions about carrying while having fun in the sun, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.