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As has been explained to you, the Virginia law places the decision on whether or not the firearm, regardless of how carried, is being brandished, on the person observing the firearm. This is not just in the statute (below) but "enshrined" in case law. (A basic primer can be read here http://www.virginia1774.org/Page5.html .)
§ 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
We also have a law here about brandishing a machete (18.2-283) that was passed back when there were a rash of MS-13 hackings going on. But it still can screw you over when you are attacking the creeper vines along your fence line.
It would be nice if both the statutory and case law in Virginia on brandishing were like other states, but it just aint so. We have, as previously mentioned, had folks jammed up because someone got their panties all twisted up just seeing a firearm. We lean that we carry at our peril.