Detroit— 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.”
Robyn Thomas, director of the the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, disagreed.