More accurately, speaking truth from power.
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.”
I did have to laugh a little bit. I think the reason that he might have changed his mind “real quick” was that Maine is a true “shall issue” state. More than one chief if Portland has run afoul of the courts and the legislature by trying to impose “may issue” permit policies. Coming from Los Angeles, where just about no one has concealed carry permits, I can see his confusion. Still, one must give him credit for not only adapting to a different approach to armed citizens, but bringing his new philosophy with him to a very troubled large city. As I recall, Michigan has reasonable firearms laws and there are a lot of people who carry concealed weapons.
While this is encouraging, I don’t expect to see a lot of other big city chiefs following suit. Big City Police Chiefs are very political positions and thus subject to the whims of Big City Mayors. Even Sorta Big City Police Chiefs are political positions, so the same rules apply.
That’s unfortunate because Chief Craig understands that more concealed carry by law abiding citizens reduces crime.