Brandishing isn’t Child’s Play and Can Put You in Jail

Brandishing is a slippery slope for gun owners and one many don’t completely understand or choose to ignore. But it is a very serious action and one that in most cases can land you in jail.

Take the latest example of something many might think isn’t brandishing or is on the edge…but it ended the driver in jail. It comes out of Issaquah, WA and the article, “Driver arrested for flashing airsoft gun in ‘act of road rage’” describes just how serious this can be. And this wasn’t even a real firearm…

As the story was told by KIROTV, during a road rage incident, a driver “flashed an airsoft gun” while driving at another motorist. He was later confronted by the Washington State Patrol and what they discovered was not an actual firearm but an airsoft gun. It was a Smith & Wesson replica and like many airsoft guns, it looked incredibly accurate to its real gun model. These guns are used in some of the training exercises with police and military so they are made to look very realistic.

The end result was the driver was arrested and booked into a King County Jail for the “unlawful display of a firearm” or brandishing.

I’m sure the driver felt it would be fine since it wasn’t a real firearm…but it obviously wasn’t. While we don’t know what the outcome will be, the fact is the driver was arrested and booked. Law enforcement take brandishing very seriously for a reason…many times it can lead to a confrontation of a more serious nature. Brandishing is brandishing and as a gun owner it is important to understand the laws around exactly what that means.

And while this didn’t happen in this situation, what if the driver of the other vehicle had a real firearm in their car and they felt like they were being threatened? What if they decided this person might fire on them and in return decided to take action and fire a live round at the airsoft driver? There are a host of scenarios, all bad, that can happen from this type of action.

I strongly encourage all my readers (and clients) to fully understand both the brandishing laws and think through the potential risks that can occur from brandishing. While many might think of it as something minor, it can carry major consequences…from spending time in jail to something significantly more serious and deadly. Learn about it and be aware of it and if you see it or are part of it, make sure you alert the authorities about it. It isn’t child’s play…

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