Tonight I had a pretty scary encounter, at around 10 pm. My girlfriend and I took a trip down to the local 7-11 for a pack of smokes (I usually go alone at night for this very reason, but she insisted on coming with me). We dont live in a great part of Phoenix (on the W edge of Phoenix/Tempe, about 4 miles from ASU's main campus) in a nice, gated, patrolled apartment complex. There are a few trailer parks right across the street, and cops are frequently patrolling the area. You get the picture. Anyway, on the way back, I was being tailgated by about 10' by a car with its high beams on. I continued along just a bit over the speed limit before turning left onto the street that connects the 2 halves of my complex. Unbeknown 'st to me, my GF had flipped the car off as it passed (stupid move, for sure). I continue down the road and hear "They are chasing us" - in my rear view, I see the car reverse on the 2 way street, and chirp tire coming towards me. Not wanting to let them know where I lived, I proceeded past my gate and around the bend before stopping at the exit only gate where there is a lot of vehicle traffic. I considered loosing them, but being in my GF's FF stock 1.8L A/T Jetta, that probably wouldnt be as easy as it would be in my 72'. So, I pulled to the side of the road and rolled my window down as I now had 3 young hispanic men yelling at me. The passenger seemed to be the "tough guy" of the group and asked my why I flipped him off. I calmly told him I didnt, and my girlfriend said that she did. "Why!?" Because you were tailgating me with your brights on. "Well thats the only way it works. You know people get shot for **** like that every day!?" Are you going to shoot me? I responded. "DO YOU WANNA GET SHOT?" I'd love to get shot. Are you going to shoot me? (I realize I shouldnt have been egging him on at all, but I wasnt really thinking by this point). He started to reach down, but did not produce a firearm. My girlfriend by this point had already reached for her phone, written down the plate number, and held it to her ear. The passenger in the back seat said "She's getting her phone man, just go, he's scared." With that they sped off.
Im sure I didnt act the way I should have; as I said, I wasnt really thinking once the topic of being shot came up. I just figured there is no way this guy is going to pull out a piece and start shooting in front of the several cars that kept driving in and out. I stared him right in the eyes; my voice didnt waver, and I just tried to clearly present that I wasnt going to be intimidated by his threat. Had he actually produced a weapon, my tone would have changed as all I would be considering was getting my girlfriend safely away from the situation.
I ended up not calling the police. With it being as close as it was to my residence, him getting a very good look at my girlfriends vehicle, not actually seeing him with a gun, and the fact that it would most likely just be considered a road rage incident and the vehicle would only be stopped by absolute chance, I decided the risk outweighed the benefits. Sorry if you disagree with me; maybe im wrong. But, I figure that at best that vehicle would be pulled over within the next week or so, and it would obviously be clean at the time (im sure they went strait home and took any contraband out of it), resulting in possibly
******* someone off bad enough that they would want to come back, meanwhile I am un-protected. I still have the plate number and a solid description of the vehicle if you think I should call non-emergency tomorrow.
The event left me feeling... well.. scared. I shook it off alright, unlike my GF who was shaking for the next 30 minutes. I left the situation thinking damn I cant wait until I turn 21. I had no idea I could legally carry and would have been able to defend us if it came to it tonight.
Getting to the point of the post (sorry for the long story). Tonight I have been researching AZ's gun laws. I have determined from the Revised Statutes that, being over the age of 18 (im 19) and not a felon (nor meeting any of the other carry-preventing criteria) that I can legally possess and openly carry a weapon (handguns included) on my person as long as it is holstered and openly visible or partially visible (a lot of gray area here, thus I would OC with the weapon in plain view) as well as transport it in my vehicle as long as it is holstered or in the glove box (holstered as well, it seems). Unfortunately, I commute to ASU daily and would have to leave my weapon at home, but that is not where I am very concerned about needing it. That may not be the case soon though, after the events following the recent university shootings.
My dad has a Bersa 380 that I have gone and shot with him many times at a range. Im a naturally good shot and got my Boy Scouts marksman badge. lol. I plan on taking an 8 hour CCW course (in addition to a lot of time at the range), along with my girlfriend, before taking the burden of OC'ing. But, after tonight, I really feel the need to.
A few of my buddies' dads are gun nuts, and I plan on talking to them before I make a purchse (most likely through them). I figure a larger frame .380 or a 9mm would suit me well as a firtst weapon. I want to spend some trigger time with a .40 though, to see if I can handle it.
Im looking forwad to being a part of this forum, Ive been lurking around for a few hours and you seem like very decent, whole hearted, strict constructionist Americans; something I wish there were more of.