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Detroit police chief defends stance on backing citizens carrying guns
Detroit— Police Chief James Craig responded Thursday to a citizen who criticized his pro-gun stance by reiterating his opinion that “good citizens” who legally carry firearms could help deter violent crime.
Craig made national news earlier this month after he told The Detroit News he’d changed his mind about the gun issue, and came to the conclusion that armed citizens could dissuade criminals from attacking them — a rarity among urban police chiefs, who generally don’t publicly support citizens’ right to carry firearms.
Detroit resident Sandra Hines on Thursday challenged Craig’s stance during a Detroit Board of Police Commissioners meeting, and asked why he supported citizens arming themselves.
“It could lead to vigilantism,” Hines said. “We already have the open-carry law here, and we have the stand-your-ground law. We don't need anybody encouraging citizens (to carry guns).”
Craig responded: “I did, in fact, say that good Americans, good Detroiters, if responsible, could get CPLs (carrying pistol licenses), and that it could — emphasis on the word ‘could’ — be a deterrent to violent crime. I said that because of my experience in four cities, having seen good Americans and good Detroiters that have CCWs (carrying concealed weapons permits), and what effect it has had on deterring violent crime.
“In fact, there’s been research ... by the Department of Justice and some scholars that armed citizens, good citizens, can have a deterring effect on violent crime,” he said. “While I sit here with lots of optimism and encouragement that crime is declining, we still have incident after incident where individuals like elderly people get dragged out of their cars at gunpoint.
“There was a study done comparing the U.S. to Great Britain that suggested that home invasions, while people were in the house, were less likely in the United States than in Great Britain. And the reason why is because the suspects know there’s a greater likelihood that people in America are more likely to have guns inside their homes. So they tend to wait until the home is vacant to commit the home invasion.
“In England, suspects, because of the restrictive gun laws, 50 percent of the home invasions are committed while the people are in their homes.
“Most telling, there was research done by felons who were incarcerated, and what they said is that they’re more fearful of armed citizens than they are of police officers. In fact, what I’ve seen in Detroit that’s very different than other places where I’ve lived, is that the suspects here wear body armor. There’s a fear that a good citizen may respond with a firearm.
“In addition to body armor, in some instances here in Detroit, suspects have directed citizens to disrobe ... because they’re trying to determine whether the citizen is armed.”to read more: detroitnews.com
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