To brandish or not to brandish?

This is a discussion on To brandish or not to brandish? within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I know (or at least I've been told) from the NRA and training classes that I've taken that "legally" you can open carry, or ...

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Thread: To brandish or not to brandish?

  1. #1
    Member Array jrperri24's Avatar
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    To brandish or not to brandish?

    So I know (or at least I've been told) from the NRA and training classes that I've taken that "legally" you can open carry, or brandish, in PA. But I was also warned to be very careful if I decide to do so as someone could very easily call the police. I was confused as to how you could get in trouble with the police while not doing anything illegal, but was told that open carrying could land you with a "terroristic threat" charge, or some other similar charge.

    Now I have open carried in certain places. For example outside in the yard (I live in a relatively secluded area), as well as at my gun shop and other local establishments I know are OC friendly. But these areas I know to be OC friendly are usually considered more in "the sticks" than in "the city."

    South western PA has a tendency to change from urban areas filled with yuppies to pastures filled with cows in a very short period of time... which is good and bad I guess.

    Anyway, I'm not interested in which way to carry is better as I usually prefer for people around me not to know that I am armed, but am curious as to what one would say if encountered by the police while open carrying. What's the proper way to respond to them? More importantly what is the wrong way to respond? If I do open carry in a more urban, more populated area what is the best way not to end up on the 6 O'Clock News? Anyone have a story about a bad OC experience? Anyone have a story of OCing in PA?

    Thanks guys.
    "I have seen haste be folly, but I have never seen delay victorious."
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  3. #2
    JD
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    Open carrying by itself IS NOT BRANDISHING.

    Free Dictionary
    bran•dish (brndsh)
    tr.v. bran•dished, bran•dish•ing, bran•dish•es
    1. To wave or flourish (a weapon, for example) menacingly.
    2. To display ostentatiously. See Synonyms at flourish.
    n.
    A menacing or defiant wave or flourish.

    Websters defines it as:

    1bran•dish Listen to the pronunciation of 1brandish
    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
    synonyms see swing

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  5. #4
    New Member Array Hillbillyjef's Avatar
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    all the 'legalities" aside... Showing a gun *may* be enough to change a bad guys mind.

    People use buckets of bandwidth discussing "brandishing" and "draw or don't draw" scenarios. Yea... I have been trained that if I have to draw I should be prepared to shoot... and in the real world... I have been in a situation that "showing" made some gremlins leave the area.

    We all spend a lot of time learning and practicing 'situational awareness" ... and some of us need to venture into some less than ideal situations.

    When I worked outside with the power company my job would take me to some very rough places. Pull into a project... park for a minute to read a work order ... and draw a crowd. I'd call the dispatcher, turn on my outside speaker, and he'd read back my location. When the crowd knew that someone else knew I was there they would split.
    Over the years I've been in a few situations without the benifit of a radio... and letting a gun show cleared the area.

    Miami Fl... a few years back... I stopped in a C store. 2 cats in the store are chatting in Spanish ... discussing out loud their plan to rob me on the way back to my car. I guess they did not figure a gringo like me could savvy Spanish?

    Eye contact, a wink, and brushing my jacket back, 1911 exposed a bit.... their attitude changed measurably. Walked out and drove away.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    People need to better understand exactly what 'brandishing' means by definition (good play JD!).

    As well as in relation to keeping or carrying a 'weapon' (not just a firearm but a rock or wiffleball bat picked up and as to be brandished becomes weaponized) toward a given scenario.

    This is something CCW course instructors could and should better explain considering the question comes up so often at gunfu forums.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    New Member Array Hillbillyjef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    People need to better understand exactly what 'brandishing' means by definition (good play JD!).

    As well as in relation to keeping or carrying a 'weapon' (not just a firearm but a rock or wiffleball bat picked up and as to be brandished becomes weaponized) toward a given scenario.

    This is something CCW course instructors could and should better explain considering the question comes up so often at gunfu forums.

    - Janq
    Some state's need a dictionary. Michigan LEO's in some counties and townships will interpret "printing" with "brandishing".

    In my book..."brandishing" is a active verb. If I pulled the gun... waved it at a person while submiting some posturing and verbal nonsense that would satify the definition.

    We seem to forget... active use of the firearm... showing it or discharging it... will get the net result of meeting some law anyway.

    I'd rather pay to defend my self in court from an offended gremlin who felt "threatened" by my pistol that paying for the lawsuit from his relatives after I shot him (legally, mind you) in self defense.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I "brandished" a pair of speedos once
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Member Array jrperri24's Avatar
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    I did not intend, nor do I want this thread to be an argument of semantics... but stupid me for not specifying... and thanks for the dictionary post

    When speaking amongst my friends we always used brandish as the same meaning for open carrying... maybe its just a local thing. I'm well aware of meaning according to Webster's dictionary. I guess since there are people all over the country I should have considered that not everyone uses the same "slang" as my entourage.

    If anyone seriously thought I meant:

    "1. To wave or flourish (a weapon, for example) menacingly"

    then sorry for the confusion... I care as much about being "definitionally" correct (and yes I made that word up) as I care about being politically correct. Which is not at all.
    "I have seen haste be folly, but I have never seen delay victorious."
    - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    And that is my point HBJ.

    Instructors teaching CCW courses (whihc always are specific to a given state and it's laws) could and should be doing a better job of explaining what this means to students. This exact question as a confusion comes up very often at gunfu forums, not just here but everywhere I set eyes.

    As I am licensed to carry across multiple states and actively do same, I've for myself (not a suggestion for the general public!) developed a rule of manner...

    Concealed means _concealed_. Period!

    No ifs, ands or but but but officer I was just reaching for a box of cereal and my shirt/cover rose then that lady she began to point, gasp and scream...I didn't mean no harm.
    No oh the wind blew back/up my unbuttoned Tommy Bahama shirt and no ehh so my suit jacket was tailor fit to my shape as without a gun but no matter you can't actually 'see' the gun.

    All of these have been items I've seen folk tell tale of at various gunfu forums and are items I've seen IRL.
    The latter of which just this past spring at a UMass convocation for professors where I was an invitee three campus police were on site acting as security in 'street clothing'. They were standing around always together chatting wearing suits, shoes with thick rubber soles (dead giveaway)...And two of the three had guns very much visibly printing through their suits that clearly were not sized to fit them while armed. Oh, and they stood around wearing sunglasses on what was an overcast and grey day.

    Most people are not visually oriented and they pay little attention to anything other than the most obvious and startling such as if they had been wearing pink colored suits.
    I though happen to be opposite and I noted these guys right off the bat as I approached the building the event was held at. And they noted me too....All three stopping their talk to as a trio look directly at me. No doubt scanning me and I did same to them. One nodded and I did same, and kept on pushin.

    In my book of world walking while armed with _anything_ defensive purposed by intent be it a gun, knife, or can of OC/CS...The SOP is that concealed means concealed, always.
    Printing is not concealed...It's obscured but not concealed.

    Holding a gun in a pocket or bag and saying to a person I might hurt you, is not printing that is brandishing..Even if it turns out that the 'gun' is just a banana or a hand with fingers fixed in a manner.
    Same goes for carrying and reaching for some object only to have your gin print never mind expose it self.

    By definition the required primary component for brandishing is; 'To display'.
    The secondary component of the definition is for a person to upon display become in 'fear'.

    Display so as to cause fear. Simple.
    This is _not_ dependent on intent expressed or otherwise (negligence).

    A person does not have to utter a sound to cause another person to become in fear. We know this from having lived real life among this world.
    Further we all know what 'display' means. Nobody needs a dictionary for that word.

    Now in the few states where open carry is not just legal but is _functionally supported_ as in meaning you are not likely to be harassed or even arrested by police for doing as much, then in those areas open carry is not brandishing...per se.
    You still in those states have to use good judgment and understand local ways, customs and views as related to yourself, others, and that of where you are at in the immediate.
    You can play like you were born yesterday as some OC persons in threads have done, and you might get away with that excuse with people on the street and even responding LEOs. Other times not so much, as threads here alone have well detailed.

    But at the end of the day brandishing is an item that should be a known and well discussed by instructors, state to state, with students as in detail greater than what people are getting currently. Which clearly as based on how often this topic comes up as a question is not getting good coverage.

    - Janq is an instructor and does make sure to cover this in detail
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  11. #10
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrperri24 View Post

    then sorry for the confusion... I care as much about being "definitionally" correct (and yes I made that word up) as I care about being politically correct. Which is not at all.
    If you ask for coffee, expect to get coffee and not a hot chocolate.

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    Member Array jrperri24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    If you ask for coffee, expect to get coffee and not a hot chocolate.
    haha touche!

    I'll be sure to be more specific in the future.
    "I have seen haste be folly, but I have never seen delay victorious."
    - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbillyjef View Post
    all the 'legalities" aside... Showing a gun *may* be enough to change a bad guys mind.

    People use buckets of bandwidth discussing "brandishing" and "draw or don't draw" scenarios. Yea... I have been trained that if I have to draw I should be prepared to shoot... and in the real world... I have been in a situation that "showing" made some gremlins leave the area.
    ...
    ...
    Miami Fl... a few years back... I stopped in a C store. 2 cats in the store are chatting in Spanish ... discussing out loud their plan to rob me on the way back to my car. I guess they did not figure a gringo like me could savvy Spanish?

    Eye contact, a wink, and brushing my jacket back, 1911 exposed a bit.... their attitude changed measurably. Walked out and drove away.
    BTDT, didn't get a Tshirt...

    In Iowa, that "brushing the jacket aside move" is considered "brandishing" dictionary or not (and could be considered assault). Thing is, if you're doing it to deter a crime to your person, the "brandishee" just doesn't report it... wonder why?

    It's effective, it's been statistically shown that it can act as a deterrent, but it can be illegal.

    Now back to the topic...

    Many OC states probably require actual (as defined above) brandishing to be in violation of a law... And I have heard that many municipalities in OC states use public disturbance laws to harrass OCers. If you can CC, I would opt for that... As OC, even legally, could put you on the 6 o'clock news.

    I'm not suggesting that those who have the option of OC not use it. I am not suggesting that those who are in states (which through flukes in the state law), that allow open carry should not exercise the right (as in California). But that can lead to changes in the law being considered (also California), and BACKED by it's "enlightened-pacivist" citizenry .

    There is NO reason for other law abiding citizens to fear a person who is legally carrying a weapon, exposed or not.

    That said, the OP doesn't want to end up on the news... If it's a slow news day... and there's a MWAG on the scanner... you might end up with a visit from the local constabulary... AND THE PRESS...
    It could be worse.
    "A law that burdens the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right by simply making that right more difficult to exercise cannot be considered “reasonably adapted” to a government interest, no matter how substantial that interest may be."
    Wollard V Sheridan

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrperri24 View Post
    ...I care as much about being "definitionally" correct (and yes I made that word up) as I care about being politically correct. Which is not at all.
    No disrespect at all intended jrp...

    But your own personal view of being or not being "definitionally correct" AND not caring about being 'politically correct' is not worth a hill of beans as in relation to walking among the world with a gun or other tool of sort at your side.

    For example just look at our own community alone.
    The gun owners/RKBA/Pro-2A/DC.com/forum community.

    How many times have you first person heard IRL a supposedly pro-gun person refer to a firearm, ANY firearm, as being related to ANY given application as being a "weapon".

    Weapon

    1 : something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy

    Source - Weapon - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    Going duck hunting, with a 'weapon'.
    Going to an IDPA match, with a 'weapon'.
    Going to shoot some clays with family & friends, with a 'weapon'.
    Going to a gun show to look at and maybe buy/sell, 'weapons'.
    Visiting the NRA headquarters, Smith & Wesson or Springfield Armory museums to look at their collection of, 'weapons'.
    Going to go up the street to the bank to make a deposit and before I leave the house I think I'll go put on a belt and holster my, 'weapon'.

    Do you see the picture?


    Image source - Soccer mom with her child and WEAPON

    That term is more often incorrectly used and applied toward firearms than it is that folks will refer to a 'magazine' as being "clip".

    To whit my point; Action is what determines a condition.

    A device of any sort does not become a weapon until it is 'weaponized', by it's handler through express intent as in the immediate.

    So if those of us among your own community will and do commonly view a firearm, ANY firearm, to be in their own mind and by their own view to be a "weapon"...Then why would you or anyone expect anyone else who is not necessarily of our community to think any different or _better_ than us?

    It's just not logical to expect as much.
    Especially considering we are supposed to be the informed and progressive thinkers of the world.

    So for you to think and say;

    "I care as much about being 'definitionally' correct...as I care about being politically correct. Which is not at all."

    Sadly makes no sense at all, and is completely illogical as related to your goal AND as in relation to being an ambassador of We The People who wish to exercise our rights as well as inform, educate and even possibly convert some of the confused and ignorant as to joining our side of the camp.
    You, me and we are missionarys whether you like it or want to be as much or not. Missionarys are exemplars of what they believe in AND are selling to others.

    I would implore you to begin to care, and to take note that you are a representative for ALL of us not just yourself. Whether you believe this to be so or care , or not.

    Being definitionally correct as well as politically correct as it goes with regard to keeping and carrying arms (of any sort) is how we are now able to do these things and exercise our rights.
    The persons who do not care to be definintionally nor politically correct very often find themself, and ourselves as the community they represent, being looked at and thought of as being an idiot, dangerous, criminal and at that unfit for having said rights because simply the person/community cannot find it to act responsibly.

    Enter Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Bloomberg (NYC), Mayor Daley (Chicago), The Brady Campaign for Handgun Violence formerly known as 'Handgun Control Inc.' (70s as before Reagan & James Brady being shot) and a host of other that we discuss here daily who do and will at every opportunity scheme to reduce if not wholly remove your freedoms. And mine and everyone else of our community.

    It is very important, critically important, that you and everyone else among our community begin to care about being definitionally correct as well as yes politically correct too.

    That picture is and has been quite clear and apparent...


    Source - Idiot Shoots Self With Flare GunVideo


    News item - snopes.com: Safety First


    Source - Oklahoma City Pharmacy Shooting


    News item - Police file murder charges in Citadel Mall shooting | WCBD
    P.S. - Because of fools like these two acting as they have do you know that real and adult supposedly thinking people have in the past, do now and would if allowed in the future deem me as in myself and all others who happen to be of these two peoples community from having the right to possess never mind carry a firearm!


    News account - CNN.com - Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter - Feb 13, 2006
    P.S. - Because of incidents such as this very many people would like to see hunting reduced if not ceased entirely as under the guise of 'public safety' and 'child safety'.
    This item gets discussed in _every_ hunter education, waterfowl education (duck hunting) or trapper education course that I instruct [USFWS, MA, NH, and with Smith & Wesson Co.].
    It also never fails to come up as an item of thought, discussion and concern by students in the classroom, not all of whom BTW are pro-gun or pro-hunting being there to simply see how the other side might think, and act (!).

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  15. #14
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    Not PA...

    specific but dictionaries and State Law (statutory or case) can be different.

    Here in VA we have a "in the mind of a reasonable person" approach.

    The circumstance, the events leading up to the incident, what's said, body language employed, etc all enter into determining if one's actions would "induce fear in the mind of another."

    § 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

    A. 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. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

    B. Any police officer in the performance of his duty, in making an arrest under the provisions of this section, shall not be civilly liable in damages for injuries or death resulting to the person being arrested if he had reason to believe that the person being arrested was pointing, holding, or brandishing such firearm or air or gas operated weapon, or object that was similar in appearance, with intent to induce fear in the mind of another.
    ....
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrperri24 View Post
    ... but am curious as to what one would say if encountered by the police while open carrying. What's the proper way to respond to them?
    Assuming one is in a state where OC is perfectly legal, then there is NO REASON at all why an upstanding person going about his own business should ever be hauled in by the scruff of the neck, cuffed and stuffed, for doing anything illegal.

    Why? The mere fact another human can see a firearm on a person is NOT tantamount to a threat by that person, does not mean that person is a criminal, does not mean that person is engaging in any behavior warranting police action or attention at all.

    We see people wear green sneakers every day. Big deal. So, we see people wearing firearms. It's a non-issue, so long as a person is behaving within the laws of one's own state, isn't threatening anyone and is simply going about one's own business.

    How should one behave in order to avoid the proverbial cuff-and-stuff by holier-than-though police officers ranging well past their authority as public servants? Be yourself, be legal in your behavior and statements, and make every attempt to work with an officer ... even one who is obviously seriously gunning for your butt with some cruddy trumped-up non-charge to please the wealthy voters in his district.

    At the end of the day, your actions speak louder than the words of screaming ninnies in the wealthy voting districts. You are NOT a criminal merely for being a citizen daring to protect your family, nor being seen prepared for it, nor even seen doing it. At some point everywhere, people will realize this: we're all in the same boat together, against the criminals. Some are simply daring to attempt greater preparation for such encounters with criminals. That, by itself, is hardly criminal.

    Which is one big reason why so many people are openly carrying these days. The screaming nellies who fear their own shadows simply refuse to understand the simple reality: being armed and trained to use it dramatically reduces one's chances of being a victim. By going visibly armed, one's chances of having meaningful dialog with more people about the nature of the 2A and RKBA goes up. I, myself, don't openly carry often, but many times I have the opportunity to have a very productive conversation with someone about the realities of being a citizen and armed in Oregon. Most folks are mildly surprised, but in a good way. Most walk away thinking about the possibilities.

    And THAT is all to our good, to help push back the anti-constitutional tide that continually seeks to crush us as citizens. The anti-gunner and anti-constitutional freaks who dare to operate well beyond their legal and constitutional authority in public seats of power would do well to remember their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, not to set it aflame at every opportunity. So long as they seemingly have a rough time remembering that duty, it's our responsibility to remind them. Hence, OC. At least, from my perspective, it's a fine way to help people realize they aren't utterly powerless to act.

    'Nuff said, really. Carry ... and be happy about it, so long as it is done within the guidelines required by your state's statutes.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
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