What does it mean to brandish a weapon?

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Monday, December 7, 2015.

Even if you legally own a weapon and you do not use it on someone else, you can still be arrested on weapons charges if you brandish it. As such, it's important to know what brandishing is and what it can mean for you.

Essentially, brandishing a weapon just means showing someone else that you have it. This is done in an angry fashion or as a threat. In many cases, the person who brandishes the weapon will point it at the other person; however, charges for displaying a weapon can come about even if it is never pointed at anyone.

The law basically thinks of brandishing as a way of threatening people. You may not shoot at them or harm them at all, but you're still showing them you have the weapon to intimidate them, or you're pointing it at them to make them think you're going to shoot.

In a lot of ways, this is similar to the way that you can be arrested for assault if you threaten to hit someone. You don't have to hit them to break the law.

There have been cases where people are charged with crimes like these and then claimed they never meant any harm. For example, a man in Texas was arrested for displaying a gun in his car, and he said he was just trying to adjust the sights while he sat in a traffic jam. It's important to be careful with how guns are used, though, since this story shows how arrests can be made even if you don't have any ill will.

If you're facing brandishing charges in Massachusetts, be sure you know all of your defense options.

Source: US Concealed Carry, "Brandishing Law," K.L. Jamison, accessed Dec. 07, 2015