Annie Get Your Gun? Detroit Chief a Fan of Armed Citizens

January 03, 2014, 5:58 AM

James Craig

Is this is a big sign that we can really no longer  rely on our police force in Detroit, or is this just a way to add to our safety?

Detroit's top cop James Craig made a statement seldom heard by a big city police chief: If citizens in Detroit were legally armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them.

“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits, the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department,” Craig said at a press conference at police headquarters, according to a report in The Detroit News by George Hunter.

The statement is likely to spark a serious debate over the pros and cons of an armed citizenry. Big cities like D.C. make it tough to get a gun permit, and gun control advocates want more restrictive gun laws around the country. 

 Craig says his thoughts on this issue changed after becoming police chief in Portland, Maine, in 2009, Tthe News reports.

“Coming from California (Craig was on the Los Angeles police force for 28 years), where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs (carrying concealed weapon permits), and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation.

“I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

The News reports that Craig’s statements are similar to those he made on Dec. 19 on “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR (760 AM):

“There’s a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine.”

Legal gun owners in Detroit include judges, business people, service repairmen and seniors in high-crime neighborhoods. 

Gun control advocates won't remain silent.

Robyn Thomas, director of the the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, disagrees.

“I think at its core, his position is an emotional one, based on the idea that people feel safer when they have guns. But studies have shown more guns don’t deter crime,” Robyn Thomas, director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco said, according to the News.  “There’s no research that shows guns make anyone safer, and it does show that, the more guns in any situation, the higher the likelihood of them harming either the owner, or people who have access to them.”  

-- Allan Lengel

Read more:  The Detroit News

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