The other day, I was riding with the guitarist and singer in my band (driver and front passenger seat respectively). We were coming downhill in the rain and he didn't brake hard enough and we tapped the car in front of us. It was a tiny love tap, but a tap nonetheless. The passenger, a fairly large man, got out of the seat and stared very angrily at us before leaning back into the car to retrieve something. We live in one of the cities with the highest murder rates and crime rates and it was a fairly bad part of town so it flashed through my mind that the man may be going for a weapon of sorts.
I wished then that I had a gun with me but I'm not old enough. Just in case things had gone that way. These kinds of incidents (specifically road rage induced homicides) are fairly common here.
The woman ended up requesting 911 assistance which involved 2 police units, 2 ambulances, and a firetruck. The police were very friendly toward us. They were very tired of the woman (who insisted that we had damaged her badly). They noted that there was no damage to either car, neither airbag went off, and all 3 of us were fine and reported no damages. He gave the driver a ticket (his first ticket) for reckless driving as he was legally obliged to (we're an at-fault state). The ticket was almost $200 and he stated that even if he paid it, his insurance would likely pay the woman out. Here he added that this would happen "whether it was legitimate or not" and rolled his eyes.
Anyways, as I played through a lot of scenarios I wondered something. In my state there's a challenge that would make open carry a constitutional right. When I turn 18 I would have no choice but to do this until I was old enough to apply for a CCP.
If I had gotten out of the car with a handgun on my hip to talk to the cop, would I have been treated differently? Had the passenger of the other car seen it, might he have been able to state I had made a threat? Could the vehicular collision be considered an assault if a handgun was in the car at the time?
I'm not saying that legally it would affect things, but given that the cops were friendly and helpful in reducing our involvement with the incident, is it possible that might have changed? Would the cops and paramedics there have handled it differently out of precaution?
I'm just trying to prepare myself the best I can to make the transition to a responsible carrier so that involves a lot of these hypothetical situations.