Ladd Debates, and Almost Succeeds

Ladd Everitt seems to be pretty proud of his performance here:

I am not really impressed, to be honest. For those of you who don’t want to listen to Ladd debate for ten minutes, Everitt’s main assertion seems to be that imperfect enforceability and imperfect deterrence don’t mean the laws are not worthwhile. Our folks note, quite correctly, that laws barring people from carrying guns accomplish nothing, because the likelihood a murderer will be deterred by a sign or law against carrying the gun is vanishingly small. Everitt contends that the same thing could be said for the law on murder itself, so by our logic, we shouldn’t have laws against murder.

The problem Ladd has here is that he hasn’t really spend much time thinking about the law. While I think he brings up a good point, his mistake is to assume that the primary purpose for laws punishing murder is deterrence. I contend that it is not. When people form governments, we surrender certain natural rights to it, and retain others. One right we surrender is the right of retribution. In a natural states, if you come over to my house and kill my brother, I have a natural right to seek retribution for your depriving a loved on of his life. It is difficult, in a civilized society, to allow for individual punishment of crime. So we surrender retribution to the state, who formalizes the process, and ensures justice is served. The primary purpose of laws against murder is not so much that it will deter someone intent on committing it, so much as offers the living a sense that justice was served. If the state fails to be effective as this function, you risk a break down of law and order, and a reliance of vigilantism.

But this is not to say that laws against murder don’t also have deterrent effect. One has to examine how this deterrent effect works, however. Generally speaking, unless you’re scrupulously careful, if you murder someone, you are much more likely than not going to be caught and brought to justice. About 70% of murder cases are solved in the US. This qualifies as a fairly powerful deterrent. I would wager this probably does help keep the murder rate down significantly.

Serving justice can’t possibly be a justification for preventing someone from carrying a firearm, because there is no victim of the crime who will be seeking it. It’s fair to judge a law against the practice solely on its deterrent effect, which is not also true for murder. The problem for Ladd is that the likelihood of being caught with a concealed weapon is infinitesimally small unless you do some kind of screening in the place where carry is prohibited. I’ve been carrying for a decade, and I’ve never been stopped by law enforcement who noticed. Sure, a law prohibiting carrying concealed weapons will have a deterrent effect; it will deter people who are generally law abiding and don’t intend to commit crimes. It will not deter someone who is intending to use that firearm to commit more serious crimes that do have victims that will require justice served. It certainly won’t deter someone who is mentally deranged.

So if the law has a relatively zero change of deterring someone, other than someone who is not intent on committing a crime of violence, why is it incorrect to question whether this is a worthwhile law? What Ladd Everitt defends has a deterrent effect on one intending violence, either through criminal inclinations or madness, that is so vanishingly small is to be logically of no use to society. I think he’s wrong to so quickly dismiss this fact, and to make poor analogies to laws against murder.

10 thoughts on “Ladd Debates, and Almost Succeeds”

  1. I think he got schooled…the fact that the video has VERY rough cuts right in the middle of the conversation also pointing to Ladd and Colin getting painted into a corner.

    But hey if that’s what they think winning looks like, let ’em think it!

  2. I think the best argument against Ladd would be to ask him publicly why he’s so afraid of me. Why’s he such a chicken? Why does he need to spend time and effort trying to keep me disarmed? Is he so terribly frightened of me that the only way he can feel safe is to ban me from carrying a gun? How sad that must be for him to live in that perpetual state of paranoia that he cringes and begs the government for protection against a person he doesn’t even know, who has been certified by two Sheriffs (Lehigh Co, PA and Wake Co, NC) and two State level licensing agencies(Utah and Florida) as being one of the law abiding.

    It’s bad enough he wants to let his fear rule his life, but now he wants to let his fear rule the lives of everyone else.

  3. I think Sean says it quite correctly. Why does he fear me?
    What goes on his mind that he can’t understand that some law abiding folks having a gun might be a good thing?!?!?

  4. The key issue here is separating offensive force from defensive force. No discharge, no murder are manifestations of the monopoly we’ve granted the state on offensive force. No carry is only a limit on defensive force as no arm available when attacked by someone violating the monopoly on offensive force only hurts the use of defensive force.

    To be clear there is a monopsony on defensive force where we allow, the people, the state, and the Federal Government to have and use defensive force. To further elucidate this point, note how the Constitution grants the military offensive force to the Feds leaving only state defensive military force for limited times.


  5. There is an open air drug market in Washington DC, Quincey Avenue North East, by the playground, not far from a metro station. Men selling drugs to motorists, and the word-of-mouth is that stolen guns are available. The sellers courier back and forth to cars with darkened windows (which I presume have the management and security staff). DC has a police force, the federal government has jurisdiction, yet those thugs are still there (well, to be precise they show up in time for commuter traffic, they have been there every time I’ve needed to pass by during daylight hours and early evening, and they were still there 2 weeks ago).

    DC police cars drive by there. Exactly what additional laws would fix this problem? Congress could make illegal guns a thousand times illegaller, but they can’t force the police to enforce the law.

  6. @DustyDog: Please forward the address of this open air market to Ladd and Colin. I would like to see the video of them attempting to convince the drug/gun sellers to conduct a proper background check.

    I mean, unless they are total pussies. They don’t have any fear of confronting college students who aren’t likely to be committing any crimes. Maybe they could show that they aren’t total cowards by confronting those who are actually causing the problems.

  7. “Maybe they could show that they aren’t total cowards by confronting those who are actually causing the problems.”

    I’ll bet they get a new appreciation of the right to bear arms if they do, and live.

    I agree with the statement that you are highly unlikely to be caught carrying illegally. I’ve accidentally carried my gun in NJ on several occasions (and almost shit a brick when I realized it!) but never stopped or questioned. Once was at a fairly crowded rabbit show too. Did get hassled for carrying a pocket knife into Great Adventure though. Guess NJ has changed their knife laws for the worse too since I lived there. I had bought the knife at Bob Kislin’s in NJ a few years earlier!

  8. All of you gentlemen don’t get it apparently, you must have not made it to the end of the video. All they want is peace on Earth……………

  9. This argument that “carry bans don’t stop would-be murderers” is true, yet insufficient.

    As for Ladd’s comment that laws against murders don’t stop murderers either…

    I think this issue is really quite simple. Murder is “mala in se” (wrong in and of itself) while carrying guns is “mala prohibita” (wrong merely because it’s illegal in some states/places).

    In other words, murder is wrong but carrying guns is not. That’s the difference, and that’s why murder is criminalized and why carrying guns is lawful.

  10. Zermoid said: “Guess NJ has changed their knife laws for the worse too since I lived there. I had bought the knife at Bob Kislin’s in NJ a few years earlier!”

    @ Zermoid: In New Jersey, anyone can be arrested for possession of even the tiniest pocketknife if the possession of said pocketknife is not “manifestly appropriate” in accordance with New Jersey’s statute on weapons.

    So, what does this key phrase in New Jersey’s weapons law – “manifestly appropriate” – actually mean? Answer – whatever a police officer in New Jersey wants it to mean! If a cop in New Jersey finds any kind of knife on your person, or in your vehicle, and really wants to arrest you for whatever the case may be, you will be arrested on a fourth-degree indictable offense. In other words, you will be charged with a felony, even for a having that little friggin’ pocketknife you have had since you earned your “totin’ chit” back when you were in the boy scouts at the ripe old age of eleven. New Jersey’s law on pocketknives is just about as draconian, ridiculous, and downright unconstitutional as the laws on pocketknives are in any one of those socialist nanny-state countries over in Europe.

    Later on, the county prosecutor will probably decline to indict you and take you to trial for having your old boy scout pocketknife, but you will still have to make at least a few appearances in municipal court on the “amended” charge of a “disorderly conduct” offense. In most cases, you can forget about prevailing in municipal court though, no matter who your lawyer is or what arguments are presented in municipal court – most townships in New Jersey hold municipal court solely for the purpose of generating revenue by means of levying fines and court costs against the defendants, and both the township’s prosecutor and municipal court judge both work in tandem toward this end. Most municipal court judges act as prosecutors in robes actually, and they typically acquit none of the defendants in their courts.

    Don’t just take my word on all of the above – for more perspective on New Jersey’s knife law nonsense, see here:

    Here’s your Boy Scout knife, and here are the handcuffs

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