Brandishing: What It Is, Why It’s Bad, And What You Need To Know

brek shea brandish guns instagram

Courtesy Instagram

Brandishing is the act of displaying a gun in a manner meant to intimidate, threaten or otherwise make a person feel bad. Most of the time it denotes a handgun, but it would apply equally to a long gun.

Be aware that the legal definition will vary from state to state. You need to do your due diligence to understand how YOUR state defines brandishing; we aren’t lawyers, this isn’t legal advice.

Brandishing is different from a defensive display of a handgun. The latter, which is incidentally the most common form of defensive gun use, is the act of producing a gun when sufficiently threatened. If you aren’t being reasonably threatened and you pull a gun on someone, you’re brandishing. If that person isn’t threatening you enough to warrant the use of a firearm, you’re brandishing.

Some states, such as Florida, may term it as “improper” or “offensive exhibition of a weapon” but it all basically amounts to the same thing: showing someone a weapon in a deliberately threatening or reckless manner.

In other words, you either meant to scare someone with the weapon or you didn’t care if you did.

Knives count too, by the way, as does a baseball bat or any other deadly weapon, so don’t think this is a gun-only crime.

Additionally, brandishing is not the same as “printing,” sometimes known as imprinting. When you’re carrying a concealed pistol, it sometimes occurs that a portion of it – say the slide or the grip – will imprint a bit through your shirt. In other words, the outline of your handgun may become visible.

This isn’t the same as brandishing, since you have to positively display a gun for someone to clearly see. Open carry isn’t treated the same, either. People who open carry (a holstered pistol) generally do so in a safe manner and aren’t threatening anyone specifically.

Open carry is different, although this guy clearly SHOULD be arrested for putting a Browning Hi Power in an Uncle Mike’s holster. Credit: DrunkDriver [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So let’s deal in some illustrative examples.

Imagine a hypothetical man and his wife – we’ll call them John and Jane – are walking from their local enormous shopping center into the parking garage. John and Jane both have permits and they carry concealed handguns.

A mugger emerges with a knife and says, “Gimme your wallets and those new iPhones too, or else.” Jane draws her handgun and brings it to bear on the mugger.

A Woman Holds A Gun In Her Hand And Points It At The Camera . Fo

Bigstock

Said mugger says, “Whoa! I guess I don’t need it that badly,” and shuffles off with all deliberate speed.

That’s not brandishing. In this hypothetical example, John and Jane were being threatened with a knife. That’s deadly force, and Jane was completely justified in her response.

Now let’s imagine a different hypothetical.

Imagine a man named Chad. Chad drives a lifted Ford F-150 to compensate, Oakley sunglasses, a MAGA hat, still wears cargo pants despite being 47 years old, and has become even MORE obnoxious since his second divorce.

Chad is driving home and starts tailgating a Prius with a Feel The Bern bumper sticker in the left lane, despite the car driving a fairly reasonable 65 mph in a 60 mph zone. He honks his horn, flashes his lights, and still the car doesn’t pull into the right hand lane. Chad goes berserk.

Eventually, the Prius does pull into the right hand lane, but Chad doesn’t just drive on. His idiotic mind – if you could call what people like him have as a “mind” – won’t let him. He races forward, swerves into the right-hand lane, brakes hard in the middle of the freeway, and when the Prius passes to avoid slamming into his bumper, he waves his GLOCK 19 at the driver while screaming obscenities.

The driver naturally calls the police, and Chad is arrested for brandishing and reckless driving. He winds up on probation, has to undergo court-ordered anger management, loses his gun rights and both of his wives decide they’re tired of his BS and get full custody of the kids, (who didn’t really like him anyway).

In this hypothetical, Chad pulled his gun because he got incredibly angry over…basically nothing…and paid the price for it. There was no threat, and no justification whatsoever in taking his gun out.

The man in the photo pulled a gun in a road rage incident. (Courtesy Fellsmere Police Department)

Let us also consider a third situation, similar to the first.

A hypothetical man – we’ll call him…Roger – goes to the local shopping mall. After buying whatever it was he needed, he goes to the car park to leave. There he is accosted by someone asking for gas money. Knowing that it’s a typical ruse used by muggers, Roger says he doesn’t keep cash on him and wishes the person luck.

The mugger then tries to bum rush Roger, who sees him coming with his peripheral vision and draws his concealed carry gun. The mugger stops and runs away. Roger goes home, his nerves wracked and doesn’t sleep a wink knowing he was almost the victim of a violent crime.

The mugger calls the police, saying some guy in the parking garage pulled a gun on him when he was asking for gas money, and gives them Roger’s description and license plate number. Since police don’t conduct background checks on people who file reports (at least right away) they don’t have any other story to go on, and arrest Roger for brandishing and assault with a deadly weapon.

Granted, these are just hypothetical examples, but what isn’t hypothetical is that all of these scenarios have actually happened in real life. Start Googling defensive gun uses and you’ll find examples of people who have drawn, but not fired to defend themselves. You’ll find examples of people who pulled a gun out in road rage incidents and were arrested.

You’ll also find instances where people drew or even used a gun under judicious circumstances…but who didn’t think to establish a narrative with the police, to their cost.

Some people wonder about brandishing is whether or not a bit of printing will or could be treated as brandishing under the law.

Again, this isn’t legal advice. Talk to a lawyer if you need actual legal advice.

To the best of my knowledge, and I read a fair amount on this subject, the only state that seems to put explicit emphasis on the idea of MAINTAIN CONCEALMENT OR ELSE! in its concealed carry laws is South Carolina. South Carolina does not allow open carry; it’s carry concealed with your permit or leave it at home. However, a few other states – including Illinois, New York and Florida – likewise prohibit open carry of a handgun and therefore mandate the same.

In essence, these states mandate that a person can carry a handgun in public (if licensed to do so), but must only carry in a concealed fashion.

So since printing isn’t maintaining “perfect concealment,” is that technically brandishing?

I’m not aware of a single court case where a person was arrested, tried and convicted of brandishing a weapon for not maintaining perfect concealment. I have incidentally read anecdotes where a person in those states has been talked to by a police officer, who will usually say, “Hey, try to cover that up a bit better; try a looser shirt or getting a smaller gun.” Or something along those lines.

If you know of such a case, let us know in the comments.

In short, brandishing is the positive (meaning you had to actually draw it) displaying of a weapon in order to psychologically discomfit a person who either wasn’t threatening you or wasn’t threatening you enough to warrant the use of a deadly weapon. And yes, that’s open to police officer and prosecutor interpretation.

So, how do you avoid putting yourself in a situation where you might be accused of brandishing?

Many instances of brandishing occur when tiffs over ephemera get out of hand and some yokel, some putz, some world class a-hole pulls out a gun. Therefore…don’t do that.

Don’t get into stupid arguments with people, and don’t escalate conflicts. Avoid them at all costs. You profit not at all by being a jerk.

You might see yourself as some sort of macho alpha male, but you aren’t; you’re just another chattering meatbag with an expiration date like everyone else, acting like you and your petty crap really matters.

So calm down! Stop taking things so seriously. Don’t get into dumb fights.

This applies also to road rage. If someone is making you mad while you’re driving, slow down. Just wait until you can pass them or let them do so and just get over it. You won’t get there any faster by flipping them off or waiving your Walther around.

Again, statutes differ. Make sure you have taken the time to read and understand the laws in your state regarding armed self-defense. It is incumbent upon you to know them, and to act only if in that letter and spirit. If you don’t, you may face stiff consequences.

Stand your ground and castle doctrine laws will not save you if you pull your gun or shoot someone in other-than-justifiable circumstances.

As for that last hypothetical, call the police if you are threatened in public and draw your gun. Get a name if possible and description of the person. Even if they never find them, the police act on the narrative that they are given. It therefore behooves you to give them that narrative first.

In short, what will keep you from ever having to worry about brandishing is to never draw a gun unless you face a very real and immediate threat to your life or the lives of your loved ones.

Any comments, questions, concerns? Want to heckle? Go ahead, make my day. Sound off in the comments.

comments

  1. avatar Merle 0 says:

    “Imagine a man named Chad. Chad drives a lifted Ford F-150 to compensate, Oakley sunglasses, a MAGA hat,”

    Well. I’m just gonna throw this out there, of course, you have the conservative be the aggressor. Not saying conservatives can’t be aggressors, but it’s increasingly portrayed in American media that conservatives or “right wing” Americans are *always* More aggressive and violent against the poor helpless left. You might think I’m nitpicking or trying to thread hi jack but I’m not. I’m generally concerned by the ever increasing theme in media that conservatives and gun owners “terrorists” or the “American taliban” or “Racist”. I see it *everywhere*, and I’m tired of it, so I’ve made it a personal fight of mine to argue against it wherever I see it. When you look at the numbers by country, red counties are far safer and less violent then the blue cities. In my personal experience, leftists are far more likely to use violence when they don’t get their way. Ive actually had a liberal try to hurt me (And fail) simply because I dared to argue with him about politics.

    Now as back to the original intent of the article, I’d also like to add In the 15 years of carrying I’ve never been hassled in public by a stranger or LE while carrying concealed and printing or open carrying. I have been hassled by left wing family who think guns are icky but there’s nothing you can do about them.

    1. avatar SlowMojo says:

      You seem to be triggered by triggers. Can’t always have it your way Merle.

      But you’re right, it would have been so much more believable if a nerdy liberal SJW hopped out of his Prius and whipped out an organic, grain fed, gluten free Glock loaded with designer craft ammunition made from recycled tomahawk missiles and Altoid tins.

      1. avatar Merle 0 says:

        Oh whatever mojo. What I stated is pure fact and you leftists are too blind by your own hate to see it. Leftists routinely target anyone perceived as even remotely right wing. You are the one who wants it both ways.

        1. avatar David Walters says:

          I’m a lifelong conservative and Republican. I support no Liberal issues. So, get that straight in your minds before you read the remainder of my post.

          I DON’T ONE BIT LIKE TO BE CALLED A LIBERAL, AND I HAVE BEEN MANY TIMES, WHEN I, LIKE THE POSTER ABOVE, TAKES THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF DIFFERENCE WITH A CONSERVATIVE ON THESE SHOOTING BOARDS.

          I THINK THAT SOMEONE DOING THAT EXPOSES THEM AS AN EXTREMIST.

      2. avatar Someone says:

        Funny how the author didn’t feel it was necessary to describe attire or political views of any other armed person in his little stories. The raging idiot with small package had to be Trump supporter though.

        1. avatar Just Saying says:

          Sam Hoober, that was a poorly written article. Akin to the ramblings of a below average keyboard rambler.

          Add to the fact you advocate using the far left, and extremist google, and you have a complete dumpster fire.

          TTAG, you can’t do better than this?

    2. avatar dragos111 says:

      What makes you think the driver of the f150 was a Conservative? In my mind, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that he was some Antifa guy, or a SJW. If you look at the perpetrators of crime where a gun was used, you will almost never find a card carrying NRA member or a Conservative. What you will find is some Social Justice Warrior or Millennial who finally left his mom’s basement.

      Basically, it is not the good guys who are causing trouble.

      1. avatar Merle 0 says:

        He made it pretty clear plus the MAGA hat, the media driven conception that “trump supporters” are violent.

    3. avatar BusyBeef says:

      Let’s be honest bro, the guy in the Prius with the Bernie sticker probably has less free testosterone than my 2nd grade daughter. He’s not likely to be the aggressor.

      Would you have felt better if the aggressor were named Karen in her Buick CUV on her way to complain to the manager at her local Applebees because the bartender didn’t put enough booze in her appletini?

      1. avatar Merle 0 says:

        There’s more to the left then all the beta soy boys and alcoholic soccer moms. That’s a big percentage, I’ll give you that. But just like with any group of people there are plenty of extremist capable of doing real harm. You don’t have to be physically strong in order to accomplish terrorism. Look at the left wing terrorist who killed 5 cops in Dallas, or the left wing terrorist who killed three cops in Baton Rouge, or the left wing terrorist that shot Steve Scalise. None of those guys were particularly strong or even competent. But if they can do that, they can certainly hurt you.

      2. avatar PSA says:

        Busybeef writes “Let’s be honest bro, the guy in the Prius with the Bernie sticker probably has less free testosterone than my 2nd grade daughter. He’s not likely to be the aggressor”

        You must have a very manly 2nd grade daughter.

        It’s called passive aggressive. Driving that Prius in the far left lane on the highway at 55 mph is definitely aggressive.

        So drop your arrogance, and pick up some real world experience, OK, bro?

  2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “I’m not aware of a single court case where a person was arrested, tried and convicted of brandishing a weapon for not maintaining perfect concealment.”

    It depends where you are. I’m aware of a few in Florida charged (can’t recall eventual disposition) for brief inadvertent ‘displays’ of concealed weapons, and Florida responded by codifying brief inadvertent ‘displays’ of concealed weapons were *not* a criminal act.

    Know the “lay of the land” where you are.

    Also –

    “The mugger calls the police, saying some guy in the parking garage pulled a gun on him when he was asking for gas money, and gives them Roger’s description and license plate number. Since police don’t conduct background checks on people who file reports (at least right away) they don’t have any other story to go on, and arrest Roger for brandishing and assault with a deadly weapon.”

    This (sorta) ties into yesterday’s post on shutting the fvck up in a DGU and not saying anything to the cops until your lawyer arrives. Shutting the fvck up could end up costing you dearly if you aren’t the first one to report the incident. I still think simply saying “I was attacked, I defended myself, I’d like to sign a complaint after I talk to my lawyer” is far safer than saying nothing at all at the time…

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Yeah. It depends on the community.

      Shirtail flapping would be treated differently in St Pete as a opposed to Steinhatchee.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      The truth to yesterday’s post is that whether to talk or not is dependent on the actual situation. People don’t like this, but it’s true. These things don’t fit in nice little boxes of “if x then talk, if y STFU” and realistically you probably won’t be in the shape to figure this out yourself if you just shot someone.

      Just a singular example: There’s a world of difference between not saying anything when you know you did right and the incident occurred in front of security cameras. When the same thing happens and it’s just people as witnesses that’s a different story. They may, though inadvertence or misanthropy, say something that directly contradicts your statements thereby casting suspicion on you in ways you don’t want to have to deal with later.

      In the first instance it doesn’t much matter if you talk, the video does the talking for you. As long as you don’t lie your face off in a manner that’s demonstrably false through the video, you’re probably good. In the latter case whatever you say may come back to bite you when the cops are suspicious of your story because a witness or witnesses make claims something else occurred. Since you cannot know what the other people may say through mistake or malfeasance you cannot know what to say and in fact if trying to match their story caused you to knowingly speak a falsehood then there’s a crime right there. Better to say nothing for now IMHO, especially considering that generally speaking what you say cannot help you but only be used against you later if, in fact, this goes to court.

      Generally I don’t think the cops are “out to getcha” on these things but you never know when a politically minded and anti-gun DA might review this incident and try to stitch together a narrative that you did something felonious which is an issue compounded by the fact that cops don’t operate in a perfect world and that they, themselves, make honest mistakes. At this point the concept of “stacking tolerances” comes into play. If they all stack in a way that’s not to your benefit you could end up having an unpleasant experience that’s only going to get worse.

      It’s a pretty sticky issue honestly. And, like it or not, we don’t get the same level of benefit of the doubt that cops often do for doing the same thing. That’s a lot of things to consider when you’re still trying to catch your breath.

    3. avatar Bruce says:

      This is one reason that CO tried to go to universal gun laws a decade or so ago. Denver was the one place in the state where the Sheriff (who issued Concealed Carry Permits) was not elected, but rather appointed by the mayor, who essentially then controlled who got a permit. That meant his friends, and former cops. Several hundred issued in a city of a half million. Open carry was legal, and was socially accepted at least back in the 1950s growing up, when you would see well dressed gentlemen with boots, hat, and a six gun on 16th street (long before it became a mall). Since Denver residents couldn’t concealed carry, some naturally gravitated to open carry. Denver PD addressed that issue by drawing the line in whether the butt of the gun was visible. If it was covered, it was considered concealed, and required a permit that their sheriff wouldn’t issue. And if it was at least partially uncovered, and thus not “concealed”, it was considered brandishing. Heads they won. Tails you lost.

      The ultimate solution to that issue was instigated by the sheriff in El Paso country (conservative CO Springs) issuing concealed carry permits like hot cakes. The legislature tried to split the difference, taking discretion away from the various sheriffs and imposing standardized permitting, as well as trying to standardize other gun laws state wide (thwarted by Denver successfully claiming exception as a Home Rule city).

  3. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Sam I’m 56 and I wear cargo pants on occasion. I dont brandish.

    Let’s focus on people’s actions instead of their garb or their appearance.

    1. avatar Merle 0 says:

      Agreed. I tried to point to out that of course the aggressor had to be a conservative or trump supporter but my comment was moderated. Don’t get why, there wasn’t any cursing that would’ve caused it.

    2. avatar Rad Man says:

      Agreed. 52, love cargo/tac pants, hate jeans. I drive a lifted truck for additional tire clearance and compensate for my immense manhood by carrying a .25 cal.

      1. avatar 4808 N says:

        Lift kit on a ford, .25 in a pocket holster. Good balance!

    3. avatar Arc says:

      I wear shirts with holes in them and not to long ago had a neck beard and long hair. Doesn’t make me rotten, just means I either don’t have a lot of money for fancy new cloths, or have more pressing priorities.

      I also like to dress a little down because it goes well with the beard and its my first line of deterrence. Most people don’t want to bother someone who looks like an axe murderer that crawled out of the mountains.

      1. avatar SwampDaddy says:

        A Free man has choices! I don’t and won’t judge.
        Keep on trucking brother!

      2. avatar VicRattlehead says:

        Lol!
        I dress like a bum most of the time. Generally it’s because I’m always working on something, whether for repairs, modifications/remodeling or just for fun, and even if I DO put on nice clothes, they are grease-stained, torn, covered in paint or caught on fire soon after I step out of my house.

    4. avatar Ragnar says:

      Specialist38, thanks for saying this. I am in my 50s and find cargo style pants to be both practical and comfortable for my daily life. Granted, I get a lot of free 5.11 clothing for my job, but I would likely buy these same pants if I didn’t get them for free. Also, I dress for me, not for what anyone else may think of me.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        “Live like you wanna live” – Chuck Berry

        I wore BDUs from the Army Navy in college. Mighty comfortable and light weight.

        I like Wrangler Cargos now cause they’re cheap and have a cell phone slot.

        And they are the only pants I can pocket carry my LCR.

  4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Lots of gray areas in-between the two extremes.

    For example, here in CA it’s still legal for me to carry open or concealed while on my property, whether while inside my home or within the curtilege (legal term for surroundings) of my residence. So let’s say I’m walking around my large yard here in SoCal, which is located in semi-rural horse ranch country on the outskirts of suburbia. Just last night alone, I saw four deer and a coyote (separately) outside my yard’s fence, and last week I had to deal with more raccoons. We have rattlesnakes all over the place, and from time to time a wonky coyote or raccoon will not scoot away and will turn to face you. So if I carry a Glock on my hip in an open holster, I’m technically acting within current CA law. But I’m also within Los Angeles County, which is dictated by the uber-Left L.A. City Council. If one of my neighbors sees me walking around with a gun on my hip and calls the police, they have to respond (and believe me, they certainly will if they get a “man with a gun” report). They will show up on high alert and disarm me, even though I’m on my own property, the gun is holstered, I’m minding my own business, and I’m acting within the law. But it can be construed as “brandishing” because of the argument (due to the gun-shy community here) that I’m purposefully trying to show off my gun.

    This is an example of how the perception of onlookers can determine the definition of “brandishing” for a specific situation.

  5. avatar Dave G says:

    “There he is accosted by someone asking for gas money. Knowing that it’s a typical ruse used by muggers, Roger says he doesn’t keep cash on him and wishes the person luck.”

    You have to “read” the situation. Not everybody asking for gas money (or bus fare or something to eat ) is a mugger. Maybe not the vast majority. I have been so approached on a number of occasions, and will donate, if I can. Once, I only had change and said so. And the fellow replied, “Every little bit helps” and thanked me. Never have I ever found it necessary to pull a gun. Though, I would be far more cautious in a lonely parking lot after dark.

    1. avatar Jerms says:

      “I dont carry cash” sounds like a good reasom for them to go mess with someone else

      1. avatar UpInArms says:

        They’re probably just as happy and willing to take your credit cards. If someone is going to mug you, they’ll just take your wallet and do an inventory later.

        1. avatar Jerms says:

          Eh, theyll get caught on camera buying dumb shit at a convenience store right before you turn them off. Then they get caught (hopefully)

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Ehhh…I just bought soup from a Chinese restaurant. The barely engrish speaking guy stiffed me $2. Would I shoot for that??? No but I got my dough. My son works at a nice restaurant and I was picking him up late this week. In a pretty empty dark parking lot. A white guy yelled at me to open my window and said he was “a licensed plumber” and could I GIVE him $18 for a cab as the po-leece had arrested him and he needed to get home(!). Yeah I had my hand on a gun but he couldn’t see it. After a loud “not happening” from me he walked briskly away. I generally wouldn’t pull a gun on a bum. Spending years in Chiraq I have a 6th sense. Be prepared but the dude who pulled a gun on a bum in your “story” is an IDIOT…

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “I generally wouldn’t pull a gun on a bum.”

      I did when a bum walked into a house I was working inside of. He was talking fast (babbling some bullshit) and walking quickly towards me in the dining room. I drew and kept the muzzle straight down at the floor (he saw me draw it). I said “You need to leave the house”. He did. End of story.

      Now, I suppose that could have turned out differently if he ran to a cop and claimed I threatened him, but at the time, I was inside someone’s home (by invitation) and (correctly) didn’t think anything would come of it. And it didn’t. I let the guy who I was working for (it was his mother’s house, she was in the hospital) know what happened, and he got a chuckle out of hearing about his fast retreat from the scene.

      Like Strych mentioned, each one is different, each has different dynamics…

  7. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Damn.
    Glad I live in the sticks in a free state.
    I think I would rather freeze or starve here (neither is likely) than live in the hellholes some of you have described.

    1. avatar arc says:

      Yep, Texas is getting over run, even in the sticks, now I’m looking to move to Idaho in a few decades.

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        Idaho is starting to get over run by the “can’t make it’s” from Portland and Seattle.
        Sad but true.
        Wouldn’t be so bad, but they almost always tend to bring the trash with ’em just like the commiefornicators.
        Wyoming gets a few but they tend to not last long ’cause of the weather or they adapt.
        Eastern Wy. is getting the run off from Colorado that ran out the working people and are now being run out by the uber rich.
        Jackson Hole is worried about potential ICE raids removing their “working class”.
        Thanks to all in the “Congress” both r’s and d’s.

        1. avatar Bruce says:

          Not everything migrating from CO to WY is bad – there is always MagPul.

  8. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    If I have to pull out and show my gun believe me I care.
    Last time and in 35 years its be a few times. I had to show my gun was when the security person from Home DePot was beating or getting the crap being beaten out of him by a homeless guy that decided to help himself to some “free” merchandise.
    I don’t know how many of you have ever seen a person literal beaten to death???
    I have.
    I did northing at that time.
    I swore Id never do noting again if in a similar situation.
    So yes as the 2 were beating the crap out of each other in front of my store. I pulled out my gun pointed it right at the guys nose on the bottom and ordered him to stop it.
    He did and eventually the security guy noticed too and stopped.
    About 30 seconds later a Sherriff the size of a house came up. Yelled to me to put the gun away. And literally tossed both those guys aside got their story.
    Me I holstered my gun went back into the store and for me that was that.
    The next day talked to the security guy to explain myself. We mutually ignore each other now if we see one another.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Did you at any time worry that the Sherriff would think you were an aggressor with a gun?

    2. avatar George Washington says:

      As I was reading your comment, I just KNEW you lived in Florida…I KNEW IT!

  9. avatar JohnS says:

    “But it can be construed as “brandishing” because of the argument (due to the gun-shy community here) that I’m purposefully trying to show off my gun.”

    Well, no, it can’t – by LEO.

    CA PC is
    “417. (a) (1) … other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days.

    (2) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is punishable as follows:
    … ”

    Your local GFWs might consider open carry ‘exhibiting in a rude, angry, or threatening manner’, and you might wind up needing a lawyer, but on that behavior you would be hard to convict.

    OTOH, the ‘curtilege’ thing doesn’t quite work as you describe; the trick is ‘does the public have access?’ If yes, (say, the UPS guy can drop packages at your door) then for purposes of carry, your yard would be ‘in public’. Carry ‘in public’ would require that hunting would be legal in that area to make unlicensed carry legal. If, however, there is a barrier to entry to your yard, that space is arguably not ‘in public’. Houses have doors, back yards often have gates. so those usually meet the ‘barrier’ test.

    See also http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php?title=Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I’m assuming you intended to reply to my earlier comment above but posted it in the wrong place on accident.

      I’m well aware of the nuances of the term “curtilage”, and yes my entire yard is fenced for the specific purpose of defining my property as “private”. There is a term called “implied access”, which means that unless stated otherwise (such as a No Trespassing sign at the perimeter), any person with innocent and lawful intent may proceed ONLY to the front/main access door of your home. To travel anywhere else on your property without a warrant or exigent circumstances may be argued as trespassing.

      I myself am not a LEO, but I serve on security details for two entities and am surrounded by off-duty LEOs, with whom I consult regularly for clarification on issues. And believe me, if a neighbor or passerby simply complains that he/she feels threatened by a man with a gun, and LE pulls up to see me actually displaying a gun (regardless of the fact that it’s in the holster and within the confines of my yard), they will disarm me to perform their investigation and will be VERY hesitant to give it back. It’s somewhat of a gray area here in L.A., even in the edges of suburbia, as nobody carries (lawfully) here due to our no-issue CCW policy and statewide ban on open carry. Anyone seeing me carry would be seeing something that’s easily perceived by non-PTOG as reckless.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        My experience is that cops are poor sources of information on legal issues.

        Maybe a sheriff or Chief but run of the mill Leo know little of the law.

        1. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

          I wouldn’t trust Former (maybe not quite) Sheriff Israel of BSO with any legal advice, maybe with political advice on how to be politically unsinkable.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “OTOH, the ‘curtilege’ thing doesn’t quite work as you describe;…”

      It works *exactly* how the law was written WHERE THE INCIDENT HAPPENS.

      Had an incident here in Florida where a 15 year-old thief decided breaking into someone’s car parked under a carport was a good idea. The homeowner decided it wasn’t, and shot the kid dead. No bill (charges).

      In Florida, under a roof physically attached to a residence (even an ‘open’ carport) is considered the same as being inside that home. Florida has strong ‘Castle Doctrine’ laws, thank God. (The thief’s mother was all pissed-off upon having that explained to her by the DA why the homeowner wasn’t going to prison. Fvck her and the thief kid she raised.)

      Wise people know the legal “lay of the land” where they are…

      1. avatar Centralvirginian says:

        The curtilage concept is flawed, at least in my state. Here’s case law from Virginia where a guy was arrested for a concealed handgun in an easement on his own property, granted he did other stupid things like pointing a firearm at marked police vehicles.
        https://caselaw.findlaw.com/va-court-of-appeals/1661200.html

      2. avatar JohnS says:

        ” “OTOH, the ‘curtilege’ thing doesn’t quite work as you describe;…”

        It works *exactly* how the law was written WHERE THE INCIDENT HAPPENS. ”

        He was talking about California; so was I. His later expansion – “my entire yard is fenced for the specific purpose of defining my property as “private”.” – shows he has the CA situation well understood.

  10. avatar John Y says:

    The latter case is less a situation of brandishing or not and more of a his word/your word case. In any of those cases presented, if facts were skewed in reporting, the outcomes could be very different.

  11. avatar John says:

    Brandishing is displaying a gun in a threatening manner. The totality of the circumstances will be evaluated in making that distinction. An open carrier acting in an aggressive and agitated manner could be considered brandishing even if he never unholsters.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “An open carrier acting in an aggressive and agitated manner could be considered brandishing even if he never unholsters.”

      I’d like to hear some actual lawyer opinions about that.

      As long as the open carrier wasn’t making motions like he might if actually be drawing a weapon, or if his hands never touch the weapon in a holster, there should be no charges of ‘brandishing’. (I don’t argue that it’s not smart to behave like a jackass when carrying, but illegal and charged?)

  12. avatar Anymouse says:

    Here in CO, open and concealed carry are legal, but transitioning from concealed to open can be considered disorderly conduct. It makes sense if someone is in an argument and draws back a cover garment to show that they are armed, which is an implicit threat. Unfortunately, some jurisdictions will use any exposure (not printing) as an excuse to charge. The Chad example would be felony menacing, as could my cover garment example if they assert that you intended to make the other party fear injury.

  13. avatar Larry says:

    I couldn’t possibly count the number of times ,I’ve been asked for money for ,food, gas, diapers , baby formula, but it’s been happening over a span of 30 years .
    Ya it’s a scam to get cash for drugs , or often just their job , no need to rob as the money they make is pretty good , just say no, and they move on to the next guy .

    Oh and I’m 60 and just showered after bow hunting , I slipped into a pair of cargo shorts , my truck is not lifted but is an off road model , oh and I prefer Maui Jim sunglasses , oh and I shave my head .

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Wearing Maui Jim’s with a shaved head could be considered a felony in bad taste, if there was justice in this world.

      (Or at least, a felony visual assault on innocent eyes… 😉 )

      1. avatar Matt in SC says:

        Hey, I wear Maui Jim’s and the top of my head shaved itself. Is that “considered a felony in bad taste”?

  14. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Specialist38, Steinhatchee? Damn! You might actually be a Florida Cracker!. I prefer going out of the Aucilla river for inshore myself. Government landing. Carribelle and Apalachicola for offshore. Although, Mike has a place facing the Withlacoochee River with a canal on the side and 300′ of dock space. Load the boat the night before. Coffee in morning. On the hole at sunrise. Was supposed to be there this morning for a red snapper trip and incidentals, but the tropical storm screwed things up. If you want to call it a tropical storm. I’ve seen frogs piss worse storms.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Ha. Maybe.

      Used to go out with 2Cats Fishing in Carabelle.

      Before Julia May’s was sold to make room for condos that never materialized.

      Some good grouper fishing there.

      Thank God Nestor was just a nuisance.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        I wish I had a $100 bill for every time I ate at Julia May’s. Gumbo and a stuffed flounder. Did a lot of bay fishing from Carribelle too. Used to launch there and run across the bay. Fished the back side of St. George and Dog Islands. Pompano, trout, red fish, mackerel, etc. Mostly off shore now. Damn boy! We ought to get together! Got a thousand acres. You might even trip over a deer.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “If you want to call it a tropical storm. I’ve seen frogs piss worse storms.”

      You must have some big-ass frogs up that way, an EF-2 tornado from a feeder band from that storm tore up north Lakeland pretty good last night, took the roof clean off a middle school here and about 10,000 are still without power :

      https://www.theledger.com/photogallery/LK/20191019/NEWS/101909989/PH/1

      I bet the guy who owned that Ford pickup in the second pic down is glad he wasn’t in it when that tree trunk crushed it flat…

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Geoff, I worked a lot of hurricanes and tropical storms. Opel to Katrina. Lived through Kate (yawn) and Michael. Michael got my attention. If you think that last little squall was something. Just wait. And welcome to Florida.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Geoff, looked at the pics. We still have things that look like that around here. A year later. Woman I used to work with had an oak like that come down on her house during Michael. Crushed her husband. Two days before his body could be recovered. Yeah, the frogs piss pretty big here.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Been here since the early 80s. Was without power for 9 days total the year (July-August 2004) three hurricanes passed about 20 miles south where I lived.

          Saw damage from that over a year later.

          I’m a bit jaded on hurricanes, but was damn glad that cat 5 Micheal didn’t hit me last year…

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Geoff, born here. Before the early eighties. The U.S. Army was paying me to jump out of air planes by then. Yeah, central Florida saw more weather than we did in the panhandle. In fact it was so bad (not) my brother in law pulled his off shore boat out of the water. A waste of time. He was taking his wife to brunch when I spoke to him this morning. Me? I closed my windows last night. Damn wind was keeping awake last night. Nothing but a minor blow. Besides, we hadn’t had rain since August.. Planted food plots this afternoon during the “tropical storm.” We were glad for the rain.. Truth is, we didn’t get enough.

        4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Michael for the panhandle was what south of Miami, Homestead, saw in 1992 with hurricane Andrew.

          Utter destruction.

          In the 80s, made annual dive trips to the keys. The year after Andrew, Krome ave. in Homestead looked like it had been bombed. Over half of all buildings were *gone*, razed to the ground. If it had hit 25 miles north, a direct hit on Miami, there would have been thousands dead…

  15. avatar Centralvirginian says:

    There should never be a crime based on how someone feels and that’s exactly what brandishing is. Brandishing laws need to be changed to only include the specific act of pointing a firearm at someone. There was a case here in Virginia of a guy chambering a round at a stop light that was misinterpreted by a coach on a bus, details in the article below.

    https://www.richmond.com/news/local/appeal-denied-in-strange-henrico-brandishing-case/article_fbb05d5a-3211-11e3-a133-001a4bcf6878.html

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      I was overseas when this happened so didn’t hear about it, but this is scary. I usually carry small of back but driving that way is a pain, so I have to re-holster/conceal as I leave the car. I try to be careful but am always concerned that someone will see the re-holster and lose their biscuits over it.

      1. avatar CentralVirginian says:

        You could try other modes of carry or invest in some professional window tint that might block visuals of any furtive movements.

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          Right now small of back works well with my clothing and carry gun(s) but if I start carrying on a more regular basis (requiring a job change) then I’ll reconsider the holster and manner of how I conceal.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    There are actually three laws. First, there’s the actual statute. Second, there’s the law as interpreted by judges in their courtrooms. Finally, there’s the law as determined by cops on the street.

    So while “brandishing” may have a legal meaning in the statute book, it may have a somewhat different meaning in the courtroom and on the street.

  17. avatar Sam Hill says:

    My dear old dad gave me advice about lots of stuff, some good, some that was appropriate when he was my age then, not so much now. Two things I abide by now and forever. He said there are only three things to say to a cop, yes sir, no sir, and I want a lawyer. Oh, maybe four, have a nice day.
    The other thing he made me swear to was never, ever pull a weapon unless you intend to use it to it’s full potential, to defend yourself or another. PERIOD…

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Good advice, though I myself had to draw my weapon many years ago to convince a group of three men (advancing on me on a dark lit culd-se-sac) that the money in my pocket wasn’t worth the effort of attacking me. That was the only time I’ve ever drawn, and only because I sincerely believed it would result in a favorable outcome, avoiding physical injury to anyone. Fortunately, it did, but I agree with your father’s basic premise, and nowadays I stay alert to my surroundings and will choose to remove myself from a situation instead of “holding my ground” just to make a point.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Ugh. What the heck is going on with my keyboard?

        “cul-de-sac”

  18. avatar Northern_Michigan says:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/a-michigan-court-case-shows-the-right-of-armed-self-defense-is-broader-than-you-might-think/amp/

    You are all welcome to move to Michigan. Road rage stupidity isn’t tolerated, but we have case law supporting “brandishing” as non lethal force to be used where appropriate.

  19. avatar Dan W says:

    Shooting bums shouldn’t just be legal, it should be required.

    1. avatar Yeppp says:

      Hope this comment isnt presented as evidence in the trial following your next “defensive” gun use

      1. avatar Jabberwockey says:

        Thank you for your pretend concern.

  20. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

    “Florida – likewise prohibit open carry of a handgun”
    Last I checked, Florida does not prohibit open carry. It heavily restricts, but not prohibit open carry of handguns or other deadly force weapons.
    See FS 790.25(3), in relevant portion:
    LAWFUL USES.—The provisions of ss. 790.053 and 790.06 do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes:
    (a) Members of the Militia, National Guard, Florida State Defense Force, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, organized reserves, and other armed forces of the state and of the United States, when on duty, when training or preparing themselves for military duty, or while subject to recall or mobilization;
    (b) Citizens of this state subject to duty in the Armed Forces under s. 2, Art. X of the State Constitution, under chapters 250 and 251, and under federal laws, when on duty or when training or preparing themselves for military duty;
    (c) Persons carrying out or training for emergency management duties under chapter 252;
    (d) Sheriffs, marshals, prison or jail wardens, police officers, Florida highway patrol officers, game wardens, revenue officers, forest officials, special officers appointed under the provisions of chapter 354, and other peace and law enforcement officers and their deputies and assistants and full-time paid peace officers of other states and of the Federal Government who are carrying out official duties while in this state;
    (e) Officers or employees of the state or United States duly authorized to carry a concealed weapon;
    (f) Guards or messengers of common carriers, express companies, armored car carriers, mail carriers, banks, and other financial institutions, while actually employed in and about the shipment, transportation, or delivery of any money, treasure, bullion, bonds, or other thing of value within this state;
    (g) Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from this state, or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for target, skeet, or trap shooting, while at or going to or from shooting practice; or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for modern or antique firearms collecting, while such members are at or going to or from their collectors’ gun shows, conventions, or exhibits;
    (h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;
    (i) A person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person while engaged in the lawful course of such business;
    (j) A person firing weapons for testing or target practice under safe conditions and in a safe place not prohibited by law or going to or from such place;
    (k) A person firing weapons in a safe and secure indoor range for testing and target practice;
    (l) A person traveling by private conveyance when the weapon is securely encased or in a public conveyance when the weapon is securely encased and not in the person’s manual possession;
    (m) A person while carrying a pistol unloaded and in a secure wrapper, concealed or otherwise, from the place of purchase to his or her home or place of business or to a place of repair or back to his or her home or place of business;
    (n) A person possessing arms at his or her home or place of business;
    (o) Investigators employed by the several public defenders of the state, while actually carrying out official duties, provided such investigators:
    1. Are employed full time;
    2. Meet the official training standards for firearms established by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission as provided in s. 943.12(5) and the requirements of ss. 493.6108(1)(a) and 943.13(1)-(4); and
    3. Are individually designated by an affidavit of consent signed by the employing public defender and filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the employing public defender resides.
    (p) Investigators employed by the capital collateral regional counsel, while actually carrying out official duties, provided such investigators:
    1. Are employed full time;
    2. Meet the official training standards for firearms as established by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission as provided in s. 943.12(1) and the requirements of ss. 493.6108(1)(a) and 943.13(1)-(4); and
    3. Are individually designated by an affidavit of consent signed by the capital collateral regional counsel and filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the investigator is headquartered.

    And per U.S. Code § 246(b)(2) legally anyone registered with SSS, for example , is a member of the militia.
    So by Federal law, Florida law should allow me to open carry any time per 790.25(3)(a), try to convince local LEO that I am right. They don’t even believe that Florida law allows me to open carry not only when fishing, but to and from fishing.

  21. avatar GS650G says:

    If a bad guy calls the cops on yoh after you pulled a gun to defend yourself you’re going to face a brandish charge.
    Whoever gets the cops on the phone first wins.

  22. avatar Arizona Free says:

    Why do I love Arizona? Constitutional carry. I’ve been around enough LE in public and open carry and they are over the “oh no a gun” thing. I was pulled over for speeding once and by the time the deputy came up to me he knew the owner of the car had no criminal record. After handing over my license I informed him I had a firearm and did he want it you know for their safety. His response was “no thanks” wrote me a ticket and off I went. I have never had a problem open carrying in AZ ever.

  23. avatar "keep your paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    You can not wave your gunm and shutes at the sky in the United States of America. Even if you make e e e e e e e e e e e female noises

  24. avatar You Know It's True! says:

    The only thing worse than a 47-year-old man who drives a jacked-up F-150 to compensate and wears cargo pants are the preening, feminine hipsters of Austin, TX who write for gun blogs at $150 a pop. Hopefully this guy was able to afford Corn Pops this month.

  25. avatar Ronno says:

    Actually people that drive in the passing lane deserve to die.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      *Staying in the passing lane
      *fail to merge, ever, in any situation
      *fail to use turn signals
      and
      *fail to inspect vehicle, or unsafe driving due to negligence

      Should ALL be punishable by death.

      We technically all drive in the passing lane somewhere sometimes 😉

  26. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    As far as I’m concerned nobody in the public should know you are carrying unless you need to use it. That way nobody tries to shoot you before they engage in criminal activity and YOU have the element of surprise when use is required.

  27. avatar Iron Cat Beast says:

    You sound like a very judgmental and unpleasant guy, Sam. I’ll make a point to skip your articles in the future.

  28. avatar Busterdog says:

    This clown showed his true colors almost immediately in this article. He’s probably beta male that is intimidated by concealed carriers or those that carry open so he wrote this article with obviously a liberal spin to it. Otherwise why did he have to point out Chad was a Trump supporter? I lost interest after his opening analogy and realized I already know Florida’s CWP laws having had a permit for over 21 years now. What more could that dimwit teach me?

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      This.

      Why did I even come back?

      This site is terrible.

  29. avatar PTM says:

    A responsible citizen carrying a firearm will not “brandish” the weapon. He will present it and fire.

    Anyone who does not understand this fact needs to be pitied…and needs to seek out professional training.

    1. avatar Northern_Michigan says:

      Not true, but unfortunately the case (“training”) in places with bad laws. The point of a firearm is to defend oneself and/or others by stopping a threat. If drawing a firearm stops a threat, there is no reason to fire. Unfortunately because of crappy “brandishing” laws in many localities, drawing is basically made illegal unless you shoot (which is stupid). One size fits all rules are almost always wrong is some cases. If you draw and an assailant turns to flee (or drops, stops or puts their hands up) the threat has been stopped. Brandishing laws in localities and states that prevent people from using the display of a firearm to stop an incident are just as stupid as any other form of gun control.

  30. avatar Fosty says:

    Are you not allowed to wear cargo pants pants after you hit 47? Do people suddenly not need to put things in pockets when they reach this age?

    This author is a joke.

  31. avatar B.D. says:

    If you have to ask….

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