Detroit’s police chief on Thursday did something rare for a prominent cop: He spoke out in favor of gun ownership.
At a press conference announcing a drop in the city’s crime rate — Detroit saw 333 murders in 2013, down from 386 in 2012 — James Craig spoke about his experiences in the Los Angeles Police Department and as chief of the police department in Portland, Maine. “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 CCWs [concealed carry weapon permits], and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying,” Craig said. “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.”
“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits,” he said of situation in Detroit, “the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.” Detroit has seen a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013.
The Detroit News, which covered Craig’s press conference, spoke to a local firearms instructor, who noted the rarity of comments like Craig’s. Though rank-and-file cops are largely supportive of gun ownership, it is rare to hear the sentiment come from the mouth of a police chief.
“It’s a huge, radical departure for the police chief to say good people should have access to firearms,” said the instructor. “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.”