Detroit police chief: Citizens, arm yourselves

James Craig

James Craig spent 28 years on the police force in Los Angeles. Back then he believed the mantra that California was trying to peddle: “fewer guns leads to fewer violent crimes”.  That all changed when he moved to Portland, Maine in 2009 as their new Chief of Police. There he witnessed a different culture: law-abiding citizens were generally armed, and guns actually made people safer.

Now he’s moved on to Detroit, Michigan, and he has a message for the law-abiding citizens of his new town: arm yourselves and criminals will think twice about attacking you.

At a press conference at police headquarters, the Detroit News reported the Chief praising the power of deterrence a legally armed citizenry presents to the criminal element.

“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits,” he said, “the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.”

He also took to the airwaves on WJR Radio’s The Paul W. Smith Show:

“There’s a number of [concealed pistol license, or CPL] 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.”

At the press conference, Craig described his how he changed from a gun hater to gun advocate:

“Coming from California, where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of [carrying concealed weapon permits, or CCWs], and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation,” he said. “I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Robyn Thomas, director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco criticized Craig’s conclusion saying “Studies have shown more guns don’t deter crime… There’s no research that shows guns make anyone safer.”

Unfortunately for Thomas, her statement is incorrect. The very research Thomas says doesn’t exist was published in Volume 21, Issue 4, of the prestigious Applied Economic Letters, whose editorial board includes professors from Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, and more.

According to the study, published November 26, 2013, Mark Gius (Quinnipiac University) found that making concealed weapons laws more restrictive may actually increase murder rates.

“The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009. The results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level.

“These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).”

Rick Ector, a gun safety instructor at the Firearm Academy of Detroit, told the Detroit News that Craig’s comments are unusual for a police official.

“It’s a huge, radical departure for the police chief to say good people should have access to firearms. I’m not ready to say he’s pro-gun just yet, but it’s vastly different from what police chiefs have said in the past.”

Source: Detroit News via WND

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