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Firearms Brandishing

Firearms Brandishing

Virginia Citizens Defense League

Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA --( Several people have asked me what the definition of “brandishing” is in Virginia law.

Brandishing is when someone displays a firearm in a manner specifically intended to induce the fear of being shot in another person. The key is INTENT.

Generally one has to be holding the firearm to brandish, but not always.

One can brandish by:

  • Pointing a gun at another person (clearly intended as a threat)
  • Drawing a gun, but not pointing it at the person as part of a threat
  • Pulling back a cover garment to intentionally show the person is armed with a holstered firearm as part of a threat
  • Touching a holstered gun as part of a threat

Simply wearing a holstered gun or handling a gun is NOT brandishing if it is NOT done with the intent of inducing fear in another. Handling a gun in public is generally not a good idea, however, unless at a shooting range or at a gun show.

A person can only brandish a gun legally in a situation where they would be justified in shooting the gun in self-defense. In that case the threat must be imminent and either lethal or extremely grave.

Here is a story about someone who thought brandishing would help him get hired for a job… Didn’t work for some reason:

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit:

  • 8 User comments to “The Virginia Definition of Firearms ‘Brandishing’”

    1. “”induce the fear of being shot (in)another person””?

      Didn’t they mean by another person?

    2. So by their definition, if I were to stick my hand into my coat or jacket pocket, I would be banishing.

      Even if there was no weapon and the person that is worried didn’t know that?

    3. To Phil: I understand what you are getting at, but some armed robberies have been committed in the same manner. People wearing hoodies with the hood up and darting around or otherwise acting suspiciously, wearing the long duster type coats with their hands in their pockets and several other maybe non intended threatening gestures can get some people in convenience stores and other businesses very nervous.

      I have known some armed employees telling customers to remove their hands from their pockets or possibly get shot. The long dusters can very easily have a concealed shotgun under it. People that have their hoodies up in a store and moving around in a suspicious manner, cause attention to be created for themselves.

      Just be careful of the motions you make in certain situations. Don’t give reason for an employee to think you are a criminal. If you don’t act like a criminal, you won’t be perceived as one.

    4. Buck Crosby on December 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM said:

      The ignorant Virginians have elected an anti-gun Governor , I hope they get what they deserve for this love of communist bastards .

    5. Elder Ambassador on December 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM said:

      I like our law better, to wit:
      Exhibition or use of deadly weapon. Every person who, not in necessary self-defense, in the presence of two (2) or more persons, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon in a rude, angry, and threatening manner, or who, in any manner, unlawfully uses the same, in any fight or quarrel, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    6. Daniel Greer on December 28, 2013 at 7:50 AM said:

      As a Virginian, I take great pride in our history.
      Over this past year I decided to open carry my
      Sidearm. I have found it welcomed in all establishments
      I visit and even got a few managers and employees who
      Have thanked me. Maybe because I wear my Mason ball cap
      With it may also set some at ease. I don’t touch it or show it off
      To anyone. If asked, I simply tell them what type of weapon it
      Is. I stand up straight and carry myself in a positive and
      Welcoming mannor. People recognize that if something bad
      Should happen, I will do my best to protect them.

    7. That is one law that needs immediate attention. But NO one will. With the coming and current Liberalist take over of Virginia, this “Loop Hole” law will be utilized over and over again, as “intent” will defined by the one offended NOT the one carrying. Virginia is just a few steps away from the events unfolding in New York.

    8. I was recently arrested in an attempt to stop some agressor from reaching me, I revealed my weapon, he stopped, I was arrested a week later. So much for protecting yourself. Next time, I’ll just let him hit me, if Im not too banged up. I’ll press charges when able.

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