This is GREAT news! People need to understand they have the right to protect themselves.
When James Craig was a young man in the 1970s, he says law-abiding people wouldn’t dream of carrying guns. But then he left town to pursue a career in policing. In the years he was gone, Michigan liberalized its gun laws, making it easier for people to get concealed-carry permits.
When he came back to become Detroit’s police chief in 2013, he found a whole new reality.
“You would have thought, given the dynamic of people who carry weapons, that we were maybe in Texas,” he says. “But in fact, we were in Detroit, Michigan!”
Police chiefs usually don’t like the idea of citizens carrying concealed guns for self-defense, but Craig says he had to be realistic about the situation in his hometown.
“It was a well-known fact here in Detroit,” he says. “People didn’t have a lot of confidence that when they dialed 911, that the police were going to show up. In fact, we know they didn’t.”
So he endorsed a trend that was already well under way — the trend toward more people carrying legal guns.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of blacks now see gun ownership as a good thing, something more likely to protect than harm. That’s up from 29 percent just two years ago. In places like Detroit, more African-Americans are getting permits to carry concealed weapons.
At a practice range just outside of Detroit, Rick Ector trains new gun owners. He says the new chief’s attitude is a welcome change.
“He’s the only one that I can ever recall who has been fervently in support of ‘good Americans,’ as he terms it, carrying firearms for personal protection,” he says.
Ector thinks African-Americans nationally have been slower to embrace concealed-carry because so many of them live in places where it’s still more restricted. Both Chief Craig and Ector are black.
“When you look at New Jersey, you look at New York, you look at California, D.C. and Chicago, really it’s still a foreign experience,” he says. “When you really look at the city of Detroit, we’re kind of leading the way in terms of urban areas with law-abiding citizens carrying guns.”
Detroiters are even taking their guns to church. When Rosedale Park Baptist had trouble with drug dealers and car thefts, Pastor Haman Cross Jr. told his congregants from the pulpit that they should consider getting concealed-carry permits.
“I love the Lord; I’m a Christian,” he says. “But like I told the congregation, let’s send a message right in front. I want the word out in the community, if you steal any of our cars, I’m coming after you.”
Read more: NPR