Detroit police chief: Armed citizens deter crime

james craif
Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Detroit police chief James Craig said Thursday his time serving on the force in Portland, Maine, in 2009 leads him to believe that legal gun owners have a big part to play in deterring crime.

“When we look at the 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, according to

Craig said he started believing that legal gun owners can deter crime when he became police chief in Maine’s biggest city.

“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, 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.”

This is not the first time Craig has drawn a connection between armed citizens and lower rates of violent crime.

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In a Sept. 2009 interview with The Bollard’s Chris Busby, Craig said, “I don’t know a lot [about gun control laws in Maine]. I think that the gun laws here in Maine, well, they’re certainly more liberal than they are in California. I also know that the level of violent crime here is nowhere near what it is in California.”

Craig also said he would support background checks before giving out CWPs. “I certainly wouldn’t want to approve a permit for someone who has had a questionable background, particularly one that involves any violent crime,” he said.

Criag is a native of Detroit.


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