The city’s police chief said he believes violent extremists would be reluctant to target Detroit, as they had Paris last month, for fear armed citizens would shoot back.
“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Chief James Craig said. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”
Oakland University criminal justice professor Daniel Kennedy agreed that terrorists would be reluctant to attack armed citizens.
“We don’t have laboratories where we can test these theories, but there is something to the argument that terrorists want a high body count — and if they can only shoot a few people before they’re taken out themselves, it wouldn’t have the kind of impact they want.
“An armed citizen won’t give them a high body count. Look at the theater in Paris,” the Bataclan Café, where four men with AK-47 assault rifles killed 89 people during a rock concert. “If some of those people had been armed, it would’ve been a much different story.”
Although no specific threats have been identified, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last week released a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, warning there could be attacks similar to the Nov. 13 terrorist strikes in Paris that killed 130 people.
In Detroit last year, 1,169 handgun permits were issued; more than 8,000 guns were registered with the police department. Statewide, more than 115,000 gun permits were issued, according to the Michigan State Police. More than 30,000 Detroit residents are legally armed, according to Michigan State Police. There were 6,974 concealed-pistol licenses issued to residents in 2013, more than double those in 2009, and 7,584 issued in 2012, the state police said.
Craig, who made national headlines after he told The Detroit News in 2013 that he thought more armed citizens would help drive down the crime rate, said some gun control advocates are softening their stances amid the concerns about terrorism.
Craig pointed to comments Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier made last week during a “60 Minutes” segment about active shooting situations, in which she said citizens should “take the gunman out” if faced with a threat.
Lanier, who has been criticized by some for the low number of gun permits her department authorizes, told host Anderson Cooper: “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.
Read more: Detroit News