Imagine this: A man is threatening you on your porch. You come outside with a rifle (muzzle pointing at the ground in a open carry stance) and politely ask him to leave.

Is this brandishing or open carry or assault with a firearm? What if the man was in the neighborhood and not on your property?

Assume open carry and stand your ground.

  • 1
    If something happens, the first question you will be asked is "Why did you approach a threatening man?"
    – SJuan76
    May 15, 2018 at 18:48
  • 1
    State statutes can differ quite a bit on this. For example the infamous George Zimmerman case, he followed his "suspect" throughout the neighborhood in his vehicle, then approached him which resulted in the death of another person. He was acquitted on Florida's "stand your ground", even though he was arguably more the aggressor than the victim up until the confrontation.
    – Ron Beyer
    May 15, 2018 at 18:54
  • 2
    @SJuan76, I think the key is in the question: a man is threatening you, and he is on your porch.
    – user6726
    May 15, 2018 at 19:37
  • You may also wander into trouble if you escalate or provoke the aggresor; also see Can you be shot in “self-defense” for attempting to disarm someone?
    – jww
    Sep 20, 2018 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


No. First, assault occurs when you point the gun at a person (even if you do not intend to shoot... even if the gun cannot shoot... even if it's a toy with the orange safety cap taken off). Since open carry and this is a clear case of Castle Doctrine (defending your home/shop/your stuff) and not Stand Your Ground (Stand your ground does not obligate you to attempt to flee an aggressor against you, provided you have a legal right to be where you are currently standing) and you are well within the right to display the weapon while asking the person to politely leave.

This is less so on an open street, but again, as open carry is in effect and the man is clearly the instigator of aggression, this still falls under Stand Your Ground. This could also be Castle Doctrine if the threatening individual is reasonably likely to cross onto your property, though it's advisable to keep your distance. There is a sub-optimal distance where the outcome of a gun verses some form of melee becomes likely and it's not as close as you would think (I cannot find the distance at this moment).

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