Use good judgment when you are handling firearms in public in Virginia.
Your intent has no bearing on whether an individual might be "in reasonable fear" for his safety. If you are holding a gun in your hands, it won't take much to establish the "reasonable fear" element of a brandishing charge.
Waving a rifle around outdoors in a northern Virginia residential neighborhood - even if you are just "showing it to a friend" is sure to get you EXACTLY the sort of trouble you got. That's why God created gun cases.Use some discretion. I don't know why you would want your neighbors - especially if they are the kind who like to call the police - to see you carrying guns back and forth to your cars anyway.