Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English braundisshen, from Anglo-French brandiss-, stem of brandir, from brant, braund sword, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English brand
Date: 14th century
1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner
Open carry is legal in Michigan, although some people think that it is socially unacceptable without good reason (security/police officers, hunting, etc.), and choosing to do so in populated areas may result in being charged with disturbing the peace or even brandishing.
• Supporters of Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf are taking shots at Hastings Police Chief Jerry Sarver, a candidate for sheriff in the August primary. Sarver is seen by gun lovers as being insufficiently "pro gun." Sarver is drawing fire for his alleged opposition to "open carry," the legal right to openly carry your sidearm on your person in a public place. They no doubt feel emboldened by the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on handguns in Washington D.C. but mainly they feel like their support got current Sheriff Dar Leaf elected. Leaf's opponent in that election was the then-current Sheriff, Steve DeBoer, who was being attacked for sometimes denying concealed carry permits). I think Leaf's victory had more to do with former Sheriff DeBoer's drunken meeting with a mailbox while driving home from Grand Rapids and the attempted cover-up of the incident. Regardless, Leaf has long courted the extreme elements among the pro-gun crowd and counts himself among them.
• Sarver defended himself in a July 17, 2008 letter to the Hastings Banner in which Sarver relates his understanding of Michigan law concerning the open carrying of handguns and an incident in which a man was threatening to walk through a local grocery store openly displaying his firearm. The man in question backed down, perhaps deciding his Second Amendment rights could wait until election season to be exercised.
• And now that we are in the final throws of the primary campaign, Leaf's supporters have arraigned a political stunt, firing off these press releases:
In response to the Police Chief of Hastings, Chief Sarver, law-abiding citizens will be walking down Main Street in Hastings open carrying. Chief Sarver in response to a letter to the editor responded by saying it was brandishing, a misdemeanor. He failed to say that the Michigan Attorney General’s office wrote him telling him that open carry is not against the law. We are asking anyone who is interested in furthering their Second Amendment rights to join us on Thursday, July 24th at 4 PM. We will be meeting at Richie's Coffee Shop (146 W. State Street, Hastings, MI 49058).
An attorney that supports your right to keep and bear arms will be joining us.
It is important to note that this is a peaceful demonstration of our constitutional rights and everyone must be on their best behavior. All well mannered, law-abiding citizens are welcome to join us. Please RSVP if you can. Please do not dress like a paramilitary organization. Wear ordinary clothing that fits in well with the general public.
If you have any questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry County Citizens for Second Amendment and Firearm Rights (B-SAFR)
CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS WILL WALK DOWN STATE STREET IN HASTINGS THURSDAY OPENLY CARRYING A WEAPON TO PEACEFULLY DEMONSTRATE WHAT THEY SAY IS THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO OPEN CARRY. DAVID STEVENS, REPRESENTING BARRY COUNTY CITIZENS FOR SECOND AMENDMENT AND FIREARM RIGHTS, SAID LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS INTERESTED IN FURTHERING SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS CAN JOIN THEM AT RITCHIE'S COFFEE SHOP IN DOWNTOWN HASTINGS ON JULY 24 AT 4 P.M.
• Personally, instead of Richie's Coffee Shop at 4 p.m. I thought they'd have gone for Ponderosa at High Noon. I guess the plan is to draw a crowd, fired up with coffee and shoot on down to the Hastings City Hall so they can ceremonially display their Second Amendment rights and get out of Dodge, believing they've helped support the Sheriff's re-election bid by embarrassing Sarver. They likely think they've cornered Sarver into saying he'd arrest anyone brandishing their weapon. Either Sarver ignores the event and they get to say he backed down or he arrests anyone he believes is brandishing and they make a stink, take it to court and make political hay out of it.
• One has to wonder what a circus event clogging the city streets at the beginning of rush hour will do to win votes for Dar Leaf, who already has the support of 99.99% of gun enthusiasts who feel no restriction should infringe on their obsession with defending themselves from things that go bump in the night and fictional TV burglars. One also has to wonder what will stop people from trying to dilute the purpose of the event, perhaps even bringing along their own props and making a mockery of the event. Will people with squirt guns and toy weapons be barred from walking the streets of Hastings during this period? We've seen with the WTO protests and anti-war rallies that 100,000 people can march peacefully but it only takes one useful idiot to make the event backfire.
• There are all sorts of ways this could backfire, including revealing Leaf to be out of step with public opinion and costing him votes. One could even see this as a sign of panic in the Leaf campaign, a signal that they aren't confident they can win this on the merits and need a last ditch effort to cripple Sarver's campaign. Some might even wonder if the planners of this event are operating with a full clip or are they just shooting from the hip?
• Will Sarver's opponents shoot themselves in the foot and give him the ammunition he needs to win August 5 or will they hit their target? I guess we wait until the smoke clears...