It is incredibly rare for big city police chiefs to publicly come out in favor of an armed citizenry, regardless of their privately held views. That is because police chiefs are typically appointed to their positions, and most urban areas have a long history of hiring anti-gun Democrats to the positions (Mayors, city Councils, etc) that hire police chiefs.
As a result, it is something of a bombshell that Detroit Police Chief James Craig has stated his belief that an armed citizenry deters crime.
If more citizens were armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday.
Urban police chiefs are typically in favor of gun control or reluctant to discuss the issue, but Craig on Thursday was candid about how he’s changed his mind.
“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, adding that he thinks more Detroit citizens feel safer, thanks in part to a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013.
Craig said he started believing that legal gun owners can deter crime when he became police chief in Portland, Maine, in 2009.
“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.”
Craig’s statements Thursday echoed those he made Dec. 19 on “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR (760 AM), when he said: “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.”
I wonder: how many urban police chiefs like Craig know the empirical data that shows concealed carry saves lives, but refuse to believe the facts because they are more worried about doing what their typically anti-gun bosses want, and don’t want to risk losing their jobs?
Perhaps now that Craig has “come out”—admittedly in a unique situation where the mayor cannot fire him without approval of the city’s Republican-appointed bankruptcy oversight manager Kevyn Orr—other police chiefs might have the confidence to challenge the “big city wisdom” that sees urban areas account for so many homicides of citizens that are largely disarmed due to restrictive “may issue” concealed carry permitting.
The facts are on our side. Eventually, more politicians and police chiefs will be forced to acknowledge them. In the meantime, it is nice to know that Detroit has a police chief that has the courage to learn and be open to new ideas.