Defending property in Virginia: Can I grip my gun?

This is a discussion on Defending property in Virginia: Can I grip my gun? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I often see officers grip their gun in their holster when in a situation that may require quick action. My question is can we do ...

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Thread: Defending property in Virginia: Can I grip my gun?

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    New Member Array toreador's Avatar
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    Defending property in Virginia: Can I grip my gun?

    I often see officers grip their gun in their holster when in a situation that may require quick action. My question is can we do the same thing?

    If we see our car getting stolen, can we approach the thief tell them to stop while griping our gun in our holster.
    No threats, no mention of the gun, no pointing, just gripping it.

    Normally, if you do things like lift your shirt and show your gun, you are making a threat. It seems like this would be the same thing...


    Virginia Code
    18.2-282.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.

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    Member Array aogiss's Avatar
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    (Please do not rely on my interpretation, I am only offering my opinions. You should check with LEO in your area.)

    Per the law you cited, gripping your firearm (brandishing) while not in a self defense situation is illegal.

    In Nebraska, the rules for concealed handgun permits which would make brandishing a weapon in the manner you describe illegal are the following: (paraphrased)

    1. You may not employ deadly force to protect property, only to prevent serious harm or death to your or others, kidnapping, and rape.
    2. You may not provoke a situation requiring the use of your concealed handgun.
    3. The permit is for a concealed handgun. Revealing your handgun when you have no justification to use it is a problem.

    I would think if you commanded the person to stop the illegal activity (without brandishing your firearm) you would be justified in employing your firearm if the situation then turned into one requiring self defense.

    I *think* in Nebraska it is only when you point a weapon at someone it becomes illegal when not in self defense, but I would still not reveal the firearm until self defense was required.

    My personal ideal concealed handgun employment method (I am speaking of self defense now, not trying to prevent a different type of crime) would be to draw the weapon and warn the bad guy. I do not want to shoot if I do not have to. My entire mindset regarding my concealed handgun is defensive only. I will attempt to do all I can to avoid shooting someone. If I ever shoot someone, it will be because they forced me to.
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    Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    I would not advise it. It could potentially land you in jail. While the criminal isn't likely to dial 911 and say, "I was trying to break into this car and a guy brandished a gun at me." There is always the possibility that a bystander may see it without fully understanding the situation and report a "man with a gun". That being said, I'm sure that what you suggest has been done many times and prevented a car (or other things) from being stolen without being charged with brandishing. But I would advise against such actions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toreador View Post
    I often see officers grip their gun in their holster when in a situation that may require quick action. My question is can we do the same thing?

    If we see our car getting stolen, can we approach the thief tell them to stop while griping our gun in our holster.
    No threats, no mention of the gun, no pointing, just gripping it.

    Normally, if you do things like lift your shirt and show your gun, you are making a threat. It seems like this would be the same thing...


    Virginia Code
    18.2-282.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.
    Seems clear enough.
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    Member Array DonPablo_VA's Avatar
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    Here in the commonwealth, we are not authorized to use lethal force to stop the theft of property. If you see your (boat, car, motorcycle etc) being stolen/driven away, and the perp is not driving it at you or pointing a weapon at you, then you're not justified to brandish or use lethal force.

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    New Member Array toreador's Avatar
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    In that case, approaching a perp is fairly high risk. I suppose it is risky no matter what.

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    Senior Member Array dripster's Avatar
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    Stealing your car isn't a reason to grip your gun, even upping the ante and pulling your weapon in such a case will cause more harm than good. Grip it if you're gonna pull it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by toreador View Post
    I often see officers grip their gun in their holster when in a situation that may require quick action. My question is can we do the same thing?

    If we see our car getting stolen, can we approach the thief tell them to stop while griping our gun in our holster.
    No threats, no mention of the gun, no pointing, just gripping it.

    Normally, if you do things like lift your shirt and show your gun, you are making a threat. It seems like this would be the same thing...


    Virginia Code
    18.2-282.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.
    You answered your own question with the code. Period. It's not written in legalese.
    saa.
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    Quote Originally Posted by toreador View Post
    Virginia Code 18.2-282.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to...hold...any firearm...in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another...However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.
    IANAL, but the law seems clear. 'Gripping' your handgun, even while still in the holster, would be a violation of this law, unless you are engaged in actual excusable or justifiable self-defense.

    At the moment you see your car being stolen, you couldn't justify self-defense unless the perp is engaged in attacking you.
    Ben

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)


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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    It depends.

    You are likely over thinking this. If you put your hand on your gun, what are the BGs going to do? Call the police? Have hurt feelings?
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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    Member Array Robby1276's Avatar
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    Unless my family is in the car I'm going to let them have it and I call the police let them deal with it or shoot it out with them not me. Just my opinion

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    Senior Member Array Old_Dog's Avatar
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    In general you never grip or show you gun until you intend to use it even though it may defuse a situation without firing a shot. The law is the law and does not have to make sense. We had a guy simply lift his shirt to expose a gun during an argument over a parking spot that was purely verbal and under Florida state law that is an automatic 3 year prison sentence with no parole. Since the guy was in his 70's they let him plead to a lesser felony, but a felony nonetheless. Still had to do time and is now a ex-felon with no gun.

    Basically most laws prohibit the exhibition or use of a gun in a threatening and reckless manner. I would think that gripping it is threatening coming from a civilian without police powers. I had displayed my gun once in my life to deter three would be muggers but that was when I was 21 (a very long time ago) and in Texas where they were very tolerant of things like that. Last year I switched to pocket carry as it allows me to grasp my gun and look natural while doing it. I did it once when a would be robber was doing the same. I saw his gun peeking out from his pocket when he cupped the pocket to feel it. He was a young man in a store that catered to old people and was just walking aimlessly about nervously glancing at the lone register. I was the only male in the store and the youngest which is saying a lot. I just stepped in his path and did as he was doing and placed my hand in my pocket and stared bullets at him. He looked at my hand, at the register and back to my hand again and then left in a hurry. I hung around for 15 minutes and sure enough a similar youth came in with a large drink in his hand and plopped down in a chair facing the register. I entered his field of vision so that he saw me and put my hand on the gun. He saw me and left and coincidently entered a black Escalade waiting for him out front driven by the first young man I suspected was there to rob the place. Where they there to rob the store or just some inner city youths visiting a retirement community shopping in a store that sold old fashioned things and filled with white haired women? I will never know for sure but I do know that I was able to grab my gun without exposing it and it made everything turn out OK without risking arrest for brandishing. This is why I also pocket carry when I carry on my belt.
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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    In SC we have a law on the books that allows you to effect a citizens arrest (AT NIGHT ONLY) if you presume a felony is being committed. This allows you to use your firearm to affect the arrest and if the presumed felon tries to evade your arrest (ie he tries to run away), you can prevent the evasion by "any means including death".
    Bottom line: AT NIGHT do not screw around in a felonious manner with anyone or anything in SC and do not try and run away.
    Reference SC Code of Law: Section 17-13-10, 17-13-20 and 18-13-30.
    Personally this is not for me. Property and killing someone over it is not why I CC. All my stuff is insured and replaceable. Some may disagree--so be it.

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    Member Array 2wheelGnnr's Avatar
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    From reading the law excerpt you provided. and being in NY. I would lean towards the thought, Brandishing is brandishing. Probably could be taken as a non verbal threat. Like lifting your arm with a bat to as if to hit someone. Assault actually. Although I like your intentions and I can see your thoughts behind it...like an OH CRAP look, I better stop, run.

    I think a case could be made for it and he will own your stuff anyways........(from a lawsuit)
    Please...work HARDER as MILLIONS on welfare depending on YOU !!

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    Agree with the others regarding "brandishing". Hand on the weapon or pulling back your cover garment to reveal it is sorta the same. Especially since, at the time, it was a robbery and not a situation where the BG showed a weapon. Disparity of force would seemingly come into play and pulling a weapon on a (at this point) unarmed person would put you in the wrong. Just my opinion, but be very careful 'cause that line is very thin....
    -- Robert
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