Open Carry and Free Riders

I mentioned last week that open carry is a public good and anyone who doesn’t do it is a free rider. Jason remembered and brought it up again in last nights VC so I thought I’d throw it out and see if it would spark a discussion.

If it is a public good, and it appears to be, then there is a positive externality associated with open carry. Maybe we should tax the anti-gun people to help the open carriers recover the costs of guns and practice ammo.

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0 Responses to Open Carry and Free Riders

  1. Robb Allen says:

    I meant to bring up a point about that last night, but the discussion moved on before I could.

    A while back I made the assertion that liberal CCW had no effect on crime one way or the other. Gang bangers didn’t stop carrying because they didn’t have a license and those who did get them weren’t the kind of people who generally committed crimes. What I believed happened was the outcome of violent attacks were changed, not the number of incidents.

    I was proven quite wrong. It appeared that where CCW laws were enacted, violent crime went down. Now, I posit that increased gun OWNERSHIP was the reason for this, and still feel pretty strongly about that. So, it’s not just open carrying, but gun owners in general that provide a benefit to society.

    I’d LOVE to see a tax on freeloaders 😉

  2. B Woodman says:

    Define “freeloaders”, please.
    At first, I thought you were talking about those who possessed guns, but carried concealed.
    Then maybe I thought you were talking about anti-gunners.
    In which case, you would have to divide between those who don’t care to have a gun, but are OK with YOU having a gun -vs- those who are actively trying to take away YOUR guns.

    Thank you

  3. alan says:

    I didn’t say freeloaders, said free riders. A free rider, in economics is someone who benefits from a positive externality without bearing the costs. In this case I’m talking about people who benefit from decreased crime without having to carry a gun themselves. They don’t bear any of the costs, yet they enjoy a reduced crime rate.

  4. bluntobject says:

    In this case I’m talking about people who benefit from decreased crime without having to carry a gun themselves. They don’t bear any of the costs, yet they enjoy a reduced crime rate.
    Wouldn’t that resolve itself when (a few of) the free riders find themselves confronted with aggressive force and unable to respond? (In an average-utility sense, of course.) There’s certainly an incentive for critters to learn to identify free riders, which would presumably create an incentive for free riders to carry.

    Not that I’m one to talk; I haven’t bothered to move out of Canada to a free country yet.

  5. Robb Allen says:

    Blunt, not at all. That’s the whole point of concealed carry – to hide who is armed and who isn’t. Now, there’s a body language that thugs can key off of (do you make eye contact? Do you walk hunched over or straight up?), but even then it’s a crap shoot for them (pun not intended) as some people might carry and still be shy.

    And we’re more than happy to have you here in America. Just remember with Obama in charge, Freedom is a limited time offer.

  6. Bob S. says:

    I always thought of Open Carry as a public good and as a ratio signal.

    If Open Carry and Concealed Carry is allowed, probably 1 out of 100 carriers will show they are armed. (just my example)

    That means if a criminal sees 2 people openly carrying, then the expectation of 198 concealed carry is not unreasonable.

    Thus, as you say the free riders get the benefit of both Open Carry and Concealed carry.

  7. Packetman says:

    I actually had a discussion about the deterrence value of open carry with a LEO the other day (former Marine buddy). He had just recently seen someone open carrying at a Home Depot, and was not impressed. He said that the guy had an untucked shirt pulled behind his holster, and he was worried that the fellow didn’t have an adequate amount of training, and that he envisioned this fellow being the most likely to go ‘wild west’.

    I asked him if this wasn’t perhaps a function of his job as a LEO, what with looking for bad guys, and mostly dealing with not-so-well-behaved members of society, and he allowed that some of his opinion was a result of that. But he kept seeming to fall back on an undefinable ‘uneasiness’ with the public open carrying.

    He also thought that any deterrence value had to be put against the reality that by open carrying, bad guys knew where they could get at least one firearm (not even thinking that a gun owner might fight said bad guy for the weapon).

    Alan, I’m with you and Robb all the way.

  8. Kristopher says:

    Earmark 50% of sales tax for protecting people who have a permit to NOT open carry.

    People with such a permit ( and who use it ) should pay the full doubled sales tax. The rest of us normal armed folks would not.

  9. Eseell says:

    I agree with your premise.

    At first I was thinking, “this tax would be completely unworkable. We’d need a registry and other such things.” But I think it could really be done if we assume that we don’t mind levying another tax. First, tax everyone to build the ammo fund. In order to claim your share of the fund you have to show up at your local cop shop or courthouse openly carrying your firearm. Here in AZ it’s legal for non-LEOs to carry firearms into the lobby of those buildings, so it’s logical to have the distribution point for the funds there.

    I haven’t come up with a good way to ration the distribution yet.

    I suppose Kristopher’s idea would also work and would be less of a hassle for those of us exercising our rights, and doesn’t require a permitting system since shops can just discount anyone who openly carries a weapon.

    My one concern about any such tax is that it has to be workable without permits or registries to be palatable.

  10. Kristopher says:

    It also encourages shops to not ban open carry … shops that trespass people for exercising their rights get stuck with higher taxes for all of their remaining customers.