One reader points out that you could get kicked off a gun range for pointing an unloaded rifle at someone. I have no quarrel with that. As I said, "I agree that pointing guns is bad practice".
Another reader points to California Penal Code 417, against "brandishing":
(2) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is punishable as follows:Brandishing in public does not seem to be punished much differently from private. I don't know what that is all about.
(A) If the violation occurs in a public place and the firearm is a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months and not more than one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(B) In all cases other than that set forth in subparagraph (A), a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months.
So I guess that the dad could be charged if he did it in California, and if the daughter or some other witness filed a complaint that he pointed the gun "in a rude, angry, or threatening manner". According to the story, no witness made a police complaint, and the daughter denied that she was threatened. Perhaps she could be coaxed into saying that her dad was rude.
A lot of people don't approve of civilians owning guns, or having guns in the home, or having AK-47 style rifles, or dads pressuring kids to get straight As. But even if he is guilty of brandishing, our lawmakers have decided that it is just a misdemeanor, and not a felony.
My quarrel is with (1) making an arrest when no witness made a complaint and no one was harmed; (2) charging the dad with two terrorist felonies; (3) putting the daughter in a shelter; (4) using spies to intercept personal messages; and (5) forbidding family communication.
I am a believer in freedom and family autonomy. 100 years ago, or even 20 years ago, the govt authorities did not actively try to bust up families as they do today. Maybe if a cop heard some hearsay about some unsafe gun handling, he might knock on the door and suggest that the dad take a gun safety class. And that would be all, because the cops and prosecutors would realize that they don't have any admissable evidence and they would not have a policy directive to bust up families.
Yes, I know that gun accidents occur, and a common cause is a mistake about the gun being loaded. But swimming pool accidents occur at a much higher rate. Suppose a dad permitted an unsafe swimming pool practice like letting a child swim alone? Would you charge him with a felony and bust up the family?
If the authorities have the power to bust up this family, then they have the power to bust up every family in the USA. There is no bigger threat to freedom today.