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Monday, August 1, 2011

Thin line between open carry and brandishing

In a lot of places it’s theoretically legal to open carry a firearm. That’s all well and good until someone complains about it. Next thing you know you are talking the guys in blue. Maybe they’ll talk to you a bit and let you go. On the other hand, what if that complainer claims you threatened them with that gun. That’s called brandishing, and that you are not supposed to do. The whole issue might get you locked up until a trial sorts everything out. Who wants to deal with that? I’m no legal expert, but it seems “brandishing” is one of those things open to way too much interpretation.

Some people try and do an end run around the whole open carry/brandishing issue. They get a concealed carry permit, but make sure any numskull can see they’ve got the outline of a powerful handgun under that tight T-shirt. I don’t really know how that will stand up in court either, but my guess is that it stands a better chance.

Get to know the laws in your state before you decide what to do. Just as important, find out how actual court cases are being decided. What the law says and how it’s interpreted are two different things.



  1. I may be wrong, but I thought the legal definition of 'brandishing' was when the firearm was actually in your hand when confronting another individual. I may be way off, but that is my understanding of it.

  2. Screw the "law", I carry when I leave the house, which isn't often apart from work these days. And when I set sail, you're damn right my pistol will accompany me. Snakes, coyotes, and two legged varmints abound...