Unlawfully displaying a firearm is also known as brandishing. This means that an individual has pointed or held a firearm, weapon or object resembling a weapon, whether capable of firing or not, in a manner that induced fear to the public. Brandishing is a common occurrence in traffic disputes such as road rage or in an action of self defense. However, this still constitutes a crime.
Some areas that are prohibited places to carry in Washington, regardless of whether you are lawfully carrying a concealed weapon with a permit, include: restricted access areas of a jail, the area used in connection with court proceedings, restricted access areas of a mental health facility, that portion of an establishment classified by the liquor control board as off-limits to persons under 21 years of age, restricted access areas of a commercial service airport, and public or private elementary and secondary school premises.
In order to convict someone of the crime of unlawfully displaying a weapon in Washington State, each of the following elements of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about (date), the defendant [carried] [exhibited] [displayed] [or] [drew] a [firearm] [dagger] [sword] [knife] [cutting or stabbing instrument] [club] [or] [any [other] weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm];
(2) That the defendant [carried] [exhibited] [displayed] [or] [drew] the weapon in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that [manifested an intent to intimidate another] [or] [warranted alarm for the safety of other persons]; and
(3) That this act occurred in the [State of Washington] [City of ] [County of ].
RCW 9.41.270 describes the unlawful display of a firearm or weapon as:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
(2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.
(3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:
(a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;
(b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;
(c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;
(d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or
(e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.