New Detroit Police Chief Gets It Right: Widespread Legal Gun Ownership Deters Crime

It is really refreshing that the Detroit Police Chief, James Craig, is on the side of the people. He explained it took some learning. From the Detroit News:

“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.”

Craig’s statements Thursday echoed those he made Dec. 19 on “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR (760 AM), when he said: “There’s a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) 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.”

This good sense is rare among urban police chiefs—as the story notes. Naturally, the article had to get “balance” by finding someone to deny there is any link between widespread gun-ownership and deterrence of crime. But it is not merely “wishful thinking” to claim that places where most people legally own guns are safer from crime. Kennesaw, Georgia is one piece of evidence. It is providing a positive example.

What seems strange, despite the rarity of urban police chiefs promoting private legal gun ownership, it isn’t a rare opinion among police officers.

According to a March 2013 anonymous poll of 15,000 officers by the law enforcement website, almost 90 percent of the respondents believed casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present during shooting incidents, while more than 80 percent supported arming teachers who were trained with firearms.

If this is accurate, it raises the question of why police chiefs are so different than the average police officer. Do police officers who support gun prohibition get preferential promotions? Why aren’t there more out there like James Craig?