Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Friday, August 12, 2005

The deterrent effect of concealed carry

There was a story on this morning's KTLA news (nothing online yet) about a pair of armed robbers whose modus operandi is to hit restaurants at night, cleaning out cash registers and customers alike - apparently they hit two places last night alone in the Northridge area, and police suspect they've been doing this for quite some time. With the current controversy between the NRA and ConocoPhillips regarding an Oklahoma law that requires companies to allow their employees to keep firearms in their cars parked in company parking lots - a spirited exchange regarding which can be read here - this story spurred some thought. While the conflict created between the private property rights of a property owner and the self-defense rights of an individual is certainly an interesting dilemma for those of a libertarian bent, I think an important facet of the discussion is being ignored completely - the deterrent effect of a liberal* firearm policy.

Some companies may want to ban their employees from bringing guns (or licensed employees from carrying concealed) onto their property; some states may want to prohibit such bans; some companies and/or states can't be bothered enough to care. But what about those businesses that would welcome the presence of CCW permit holders, thinking that would make for a little bit of extra protection for their employees and customers from criminals and current or former employees who feel like "going postal"? We probably haven't heard much about them because even in California there hasn't (thankfully) been an effort on the part of the state to force all private businesses to ban firearms or concealed carry. And along the same lines of the danger that's posed by a neighborhood (e.g., one near a school) who proudly (and foolishly) posts "Gun-Free Zone" signs, think about the potential value to such a business of posting its firearm policy for all to see. Out of two otherwise identical restaurants next door to each other, do you think this pair of criminals would pull their masks on and charge into the one with a sign welcoming CCW permit holders or the one without the sign? Of course I'm not asserting that all one needs is to post the sign and they'd never get robbed - one can never be too certain of the intelligence of your average criminal, and you'd certainly need to back up your stated policy with the public. But it's kind of like the Club - it's not enough to stop a determined car thief, but it's almost always enough to make the thief pick another car.

I think I smell another column submission to the Register - this one might be pretty different from what they normally see.

* And of course here I mean "liberal" in the classical sense, not in the modern political sense.


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