Let's talk about "brandishing."

This is a discussion on Let's talk about "brandishing." within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This forum seems to have the most knowledgeable folks around when it comes to CCW topics (and quite a few others), so let's discuss a ...

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Thread: Let's talk about "brandishing."

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    Let's talk about "brandishing."

    This forum seems to have the most knowledgeable folks around when it comes to CCW topics (and quite a few others), so let's discuss a topic that doesn't seem to come up every day: brandishing.

    I've heard several different viewpoints on the matter and a few of them go to extremes. Some seem to think that if you ever draw a weapon under any circumstances and don't pull the trigger, it's brandishing. I disagree. A pistol isn't a sword and we aren't Samurai's.

    Others seem to believe that if you get accidently "made" while carrying CCW, it's brandishing. I disagree.

    To me, and some of you can correct me if I'm wrong, the classic definition of brandishing is waving the gun around with the intent to intimidate or persuade. "Got something to say to me now, punk?!?!" That sort of thing.

    Of course, I realize that different states and cities (plus different LEO mindsets) can dictate the genuine practical definition, but where do you all draw the line on this? To you, is "brandishing" just momentarily printing in the grocery store or does it require aiming the gun at someone?

    What do you think?
    "I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array digitalexplr's Avatar
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    From Merriam-Webster Online:

    brandish[1,transitive verb]


    Main Entry: 1bran·dish
    Pronunciation: \ˈbran-dish\
    Function: transitive verb
    Etymology: Middle English braundisshen, from Anglo-French brandiss-, stem of brandir, from brant, braund sword, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English brand
    Date: 14th century
    1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
    2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner

    Printing is not brandishing. You must menace (cause another to feel threatened) with the weapon to be guilting of brandishing.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    I'm not an attorney, nor do I play one on this forum, so I always refer to the applicable statute.

    In Florida, that means 790.10. Improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms.-- "If any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

    Pretty straight forward to me, and no, printing doesn't qualify.

  5. #4
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    I define brandishing as using a weapon to cause intimidation of another. Whether it be using a verbal threat of having a weapon, or showing it to intimidate. I do not consider a shirt sliding to reveal a weapon as intimidation. Unfortunately I do not make the decisions on that. State law, the police and the local district attorney will make that call.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what was said above, but it varies state by state. For instance, in TX, drawing a gun as a threat of force does not equal lethal force. Therefore, if any use of force is justified, I would be so justified in drawing a weapon.

    In a state like IL, if I was unarmed and pointed my finger at somebody I could concievably be arrested for brandishing.

    I think it would depend a lot on how your state feels about concealed carry and who the LEO that responds is. I believe your intention would play a lot into an actual charge of brandishing.

    If you drew your weapon to cause alarm or to threaten, absolutely brandishing. If your printed, somebody noticed and panicked...that might be a hard call. I figure concealed is concealed, and I also think most people aren't paying attention anyway. My cell phone 'prints' a lot more than any grip.
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  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    Brandishing is illegal in my state. Brandishing is for thugs and want-a-be tough guys.

    I am from the school of thought that if you pull a pistol than you better be firing it to stop a lethal threat.

    *Unless said threat flees then you can't shoot them in the back.

    Being made though in Ga is not brandishing that i am aware of.
    Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

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    Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what has been said here, but bottom line is that each state defines brandishing and you must be aware of what it is for each state. What I think is not admissible as a defense.

    I have seen reports of people being arrested for “brandishing” because their cover garment got hung up and was exposed. I also saw one report of a person who was arrested for “brandishing” because he had his pistol on the car seat next to him. These were of course in states where “open carry” was NOT legal.

    Bottom line…. Regardless of what you think always know what the state “thinks”. The best way of doing this is to check with an attorney, or even better a prosecutor.

  9. #8
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    digitalexplr has posted the same definition I have used before.

    I feel there is a difference between brandishing a weapon as defined in the dictionary and "flashing" a weapon as in your cover garment gets caught on an object or in the wind, thus momentarily exposing your weapon.

    However, there are probably numerous LEO's and jurisdictions who would view that "momentary flash" as brandishing. Like everything in life, interpretations differ and folks will argue their points clear up to the supreme court if they can.

    I also feel, that if you meet a perceived threat to your life or safety that you feel meets the criteria of the threat having the ability, opportunity and has placed you in immediate jeopardy, and you draw your weapon to meet the threat, which causes the BG to back down and end the assault... You have just successfully used a firearm to defend your life in a clearly justified self defense situation without having to pull the trigger.

    That scenario, could not... and should not, be considered brandishing. The threat to your life was real, it was immediate, and the assailant had the ability to kill or cripple you. The only reason he isn't shot full of holes is because he immediately saw the foolishness of his ways and surrendered in time to keep you from shooting him.

    Now again, I'm sure there are LEO's and prosecutors out there who would have a different interpretation on what is brandishing in that case. and because of that... God invented defense lawyers!

    JMHO IANAA YMMV Have a nice day!
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  10. #9
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    Our instructor, a LEO, said holding a gun behind your back while a potential issue develops is not brandishing.

  11. #10
    Ex Member Array jmsstnr's Avatar
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    Indiana Code, simplifies brandishing to pointing. That kind of sums up what i was thinking. Pointing is not printing, printing is not pointing, etc.

    The section doesn't apply to the Castle Doctrine portion of IN Code

    IC 35-47-4-3Pointing firearm at another person
    Sec. 3. (a) This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer who is acting within the scope of the law enforcement officer's official duties or to a person who is justified in using reasonable force against another person under:
    (1) IC 35-41-3-2; or
    (2) IC 35-41-3-3.
    (b) A person who knowingly or intentionally points a firearm at another person commits a Class D felony. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the firearm was not loaded.
    As added by P.L.296-1995, SEC.2.

    All source information found here

  12. #11
    Member Array MadDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmsstnr View Post
    Indiana Code, simplifies brandishing to pointing. That kind of sums up what i was thinking. Pointing is not printing, printing is not pointing, etc.

    The section doesn't apply to the Castle Doctrine portion of IN Code

    IC 35-47-4-3Pointing firearm at another person
    Sec. 3. (a) This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer who is acting within the scope of the law enforcement officer's official duties or to a person who is justified in using reasonable force against another person under:
    (1) IC 35-41-3-2; or
    (2) IC 35-41-3-3.
    (b) A person who knowingly or intentionally points a firearm at another person commits a Class D felony. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the firearm was not loaded.
    As added by P.L.296-1995, SEC.2.

    All source information found here
    Looks like you beat me too it, However I wanted to point out open carry is legal in Indiana, therefore being “made” is defiantly not brandishing. I think everyone else summed it up well, with you must be trying to intimidate.

    I think also if you “show off” your gun your walking a fine line, and in some cases it could be taken as brandishing.
    I believe in gun control...... Thats why I use TWO hands.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Oregon's statute is in regards to "menacing," under the Person Crimes section of the Oregon code:
    ORS 163.190 Menacing.
    (1) A person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.

    (2) Menacing is a Class A misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 §95]
    Like many other states, the specific (Oregon) requirement for it to be criminal is that the display is intentional. Beyond that, the fear must be of imminent, serious injury, not merely having some measure of fear. Mere display, printing, technically even dropping it, or baseless fear on the part of another ... those don't qualify.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I live in a concealed carry only state. No option for open carry, but I wish things would change. "Brandishing a weapon", or brandishing my weapon, would entail me intentionally exposing my firearm with the intent of initiating a situation other than what would normally happen in the given circumstances. Being of sound moral character, and the law-abiding citizen I am, I've never felt the need or cause to do such a thing. It's a criminal act no matter what the intention. If one is not in a draw your weapon situation---never expose the arm at hand. As far as drawing your weapon in a life and death situation, and not firing your weapon?---------If not firing your weapon gets the desired results, or ends the situation, all the better IMO. Draw your weapon ONLY in those situations---fear for your life or others. It's possible for some to not see things as well defined as I do, but with all due respect--there are no 'gray' areas here. Interpretations are for lawyers and law enforcement. If you think you can convince ALL twelve of the jury members----then you're still probably wrong. Remember others' rights---if you display your firearm without the correct cause, you're trampling on other's rights. You do value your own----don't you? It's rather simple now isn't it?

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    ---------If not firing your weapon gets the desired results, or ends the situation, all the better IMO.
    Exactly. This touches on something I've said many times. There are some folks out there who are so scared of "brandishing" that they seem to insist that a gun should never be drawn unless it's to the point of firing it, no matter what. I strongly disagree with this.

    I posted here once about a friendly disagreement I had with a Staff Sergeant back in the Air Force. Two guys are approaching across an open parking lot with tire irons swinging and yelling threats. He said to verbally warn them. If they don't back off, pull the gun and shoot them both.

    My way would be to actually pull the gun and give them one last chance to live, assuming that they were still far away enough to have this option.
    "I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."

    -miklcolt45

  16. #15
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    My way would be to actually pull the gun and give them one last chance to live, assuming that they were still far away enough to have this option.
    In that situation, I'm down with that---all of it. I remember posting in that thread as well. Actions do speak louder than words, and in this day in age---we all don't have an interpreter along by our side----comprende?

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