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Detroit Chief Lauded, Slammed for Gun Stance

May 20, 2014  | 

Cover of the June issue of America's 1st Freedom magazine.
Cover of the June issue of America's 1st Freedom magazine.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has been vocal in telling the people of his city to take advantage of their Second Amendment right and defend themselves, was the subject of a cover story in an NRA gun rights magazine and that has brought him praise and criticism, both locally and nationally.

Following the release of the article in America's 1st Freedom magazine, Craig held a press conference yesterday to restate his message.    

The Detroit Free Press reports Craig said armed, law-abiding citizens can be a deterrent to violent crime. “I’m pro safety. I’m pro life. I’m pro law-abiding citizens staying alive, having the ability to protect themself in a dangerous situation,” he said.

Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Ron Scott decried Craig’s comments as “incendiary.”

“This is a public safety and community issue, not simply a Second Amendment issue,” Scott said in a statement. He also called on police to find ways to “de-escalate the violence spawned by the Stand Your Ground principle,” in which citizens can use justifiable force if they feel their life is in imminent danger without any obligation to retreat.

During the news conference, Craig said there have been two more justifiable homicides this year compared to the same time period in 2013.

He said these statistics and reports of firearm accidents are not going to change his mind about the merits of gun ownership.

“We’ve heard instances of accidental discharges; or guns getting into the hands of children,” Craig told the Detroit News. “That’s terrible. But we’re talking about law-abiding, responsible citizens. ‘Responsible’ is the key word here.”

Scott's press release criticized Craig's stance and the NRA article.

“In a time when the citizens of Detroit are trying to find their way out of the current cycle of violence, this is not the time for the Department to use the Chief's public persona to unify with the political posture of the National Rifle Association,” Scott said. “This is a public safety and community issue, not simply a Second Amendment issue.”

Craig said he doesn’t understand why anyone would have a problem with a police chief saying he supports the Constitution.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig says in the article, adding that he didn’t expect his stance to generate the controversy that it has. “I really didn’t, because it’s a Second Amendment-protected right.”

Craig drew an analogy between responsible gun ownership and responsible driving. “The majority of people on the roads drive responsibly,” he said. “So if a few people drive irresponsibly, what’s the solution? Do we take away all cars?”

Craig’s stance on guns, unusual for big-city police chiefs, made national news after he said in January that responsible gun owners could deter crime. He said he hasn’t yet heard criticism from fellow police chiefs about his views — “But I expect to.”

 “I believe responsible, good Americans have a right to protect themselves from an immediate threat to their life or to the life of another,” Craig says in the June NRA article titled “A Show of Courage in Detroit.” “I believe our focus should be on how to keep guns out of hands of criminals and those who aren’t responsible.”

Craig said he has noticed a “culture of violence” in Detroit since arriving in July. In another statement, which is featured on the magazine cover next to his photograph he stresses: “We’re not advocating violence. We’re advocates of not being victims.”





Comments (38)

Displaying 1 - 38 of 38

Mickey @ 5/20/2014 2:43 PM

Look at recent supreme court rulings: You have no right to police protection. This by definition means that YOU the average citizen are responsible for your own protection. Seems to me that the left side of the argument is once again more concerned with the safety of a criminal caught in the act than the safety of the victim that criminal has confronted. Until states begin to demand and change their laws to make violent criminals serve very long mandatory minimum sentences, masses of armed citizens will be the best solution to crime.

Mickey @ 5/20/2014 2:43 PM

Look at recent supreme court rulings: You have no right to police protection. This by definition means that YOU the average citizen are responsible for your own protection. Seems to me that the left side of the argument is once again more concerned with the safety of a criminal caught in the act than the safety of the victim that criminal has confronted. Until states begin to demand and change their laws to make violent criminals serve very long mandatory minimum sentences, masses of armed citizens will be the best solution to crime.

chuck @ 5/20/2014 3:39 PM

Way to go Chief, at least you understand what's going on and don't plant your lips on some higher ups a**.

Rick @ 5/20/2014 3:39 PM

Many areas in CA are relaxing their rules and providing permits to law abiding citizens.

Eric @ 5/20/2014 3:56 PM

Finally, a big city police chief that speaks like a police officer. I've never heard a street level officer in favor of gun control. It's only the big city politicians. It is refreshing to hear a chief that thinks like the people who work for him.

westcoastleo @ 5/20/2014 4:04 PM

I agree with Craig 100%....
Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Ron Scott is an idiot and can go pound sand in the wind.
I just wish the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles had a Police Chief and Sheriff who thought about this like Craig. Instead we have loosers who are idiots...

Active, LASD,
34 years...

Retired NY Boss @ 5/20/2014 4:05 PM

Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Ron Scott - Says all you need to know about where he's coming from.

SWAN @ 5/20/2014 4:09 PM

"Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Ron Scott decried Craig’s comments as 'incendiary.'" and also said, “This is a public safety and community issue, not simply a Second Amendment issue.” Really? One of the guys who would stand behind "Amendment" rhetoric for any other cause dismisses the validity and sanctity of the 2nd Amendment for “safety.” I suppose the next event he wants to attend is shut down for “safety” concerns will be okay with him? “Safety trumps Amendment” seems like a headline he would agree to (heavy, heavy sarcasm), right?

Capt. Crunch @ 5/20/2014 4:30 PM

That's what I call a real police chief. Keep up the good work chief.

Chief Charles Sweatt @ 5/20/2014 4:37 PM

Thank You Chief James Craig for standing with the LEO's who truly support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Every law abiding citizen has the God given right to protect themselves and their family.

Cash @ 5/20/2014 4:39 PM

I'm a police officer of ten years. I know many officers and they all believe in the Second Amendment. Why is this so hard for a politician to understand. Why not come ask the professionals what their opinion is?

NJmotorcop @ 5/20/2014 4:48 PM

Wow! A big city chief who's honest and has the balls to tell the truth! Its been a long time since I've been this impressed! Good job Chief Craig! We need (a thousand) more like you!

LA-S.O.P. @ 5/20/2014 4:50 PM

Great cop to work for here in L.A. But his concepts would have been the death of his career as the Chief of Police with L.A.'s Libtards... To Ron Scott... It's so easy to be a critic than provide City of Detroit a vision that works. What have you done for the Detroit community other than whine like a B*tch?!

Cash @ 5/20/2014 5:25 PM

All the police I know completely believe in the 2nd amendment and have no issue with responsible citizens having guns. That being said, why don't the politicians like Ron Scott come talk to the real cops. Quit speaking for the liberal chiefs who got into office due to politics.

Serpico @ 5/20/2014 5:35 PM

Chief James Craig is advocating for a Freedom the 2ed Amendment, a Right created by God. Which no man or Government can take away! But the media that hates US Citizens, and doesn't mind them being slaughtered by Illegal Aliens. Is against US Citizens owning guns! But "Egyptian Freedom Fighters" and Muslim Brotherhood scum can own weapons in the Middle East for a so called Arab Spring. So I guess in the Corrupt Media anything by Gannett Media etc. Think Arabs over seas have rights to bear arms. But not the person next door who's protecting himself/herself from a gang.

Mike @ 5/20/2014 6:04 PM

100% behind you Chief, way to take a stand and your right on this issue! good luck to you in one of the toughest Cities in America.

Dan @ 5/20/2014 6:16 PM

More guns in the hands of law abiding citizens = safer streets, and more freedom. Why is this concept so hard to understand. Criminals have little to no empathy, and they are like wild animals. Law abiding citizens are law abiding and civil for a reason, and they deserve the right to protect themselves and their families. I appreciate what the police do, but calling a cop isn't always an option, and even if you do they are still precious minutes away when something dreadful happens.

Detroit's Finest @ 5/20/2014 6:58 PM

Detroit averages nearly 400 homicides a year in a town of 650k people. Compare those stats to NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, etc, and we topple violent crime for a city as big as ours. We cops favor citizens in the D arming themselves, being responsible, and taking care of business if they need to. Good stance, Chief. Now, can you convice those bankruptcy sultans to give us our pension and money back, lol?

TheRookie @ 5/20/2014 7:23 PM

Hats off to you Chief Craig. You have gotten to evaluate the situation there, seen what your Dedicated Officers have had to endure for ever it seems, and now appear to be taking the bull by the horn attitude. Hand in there D.P.D. Sounds like a cops cop.

CubsFan @ 5/20/2014 11:45 PM

Wow: a big city police chief with the guts to stand up for principals as opposed to being a lapdog for liberal city governments like so many other chiefs. Kudos to you Chief Craig. Keep fighting the good fight.

ResAgentSWA @ 5/21/2014 2:03 AM

“This is a public safety and community issue, not simply a Second Amendment issue,” Scott said in a statement. This is what the Chief Craig has been talking about all along. If the "public" can't keep themselves alive long enough for the cavalry to arrive then there is no "safety" in their "community." What Ron Scott is saying (if you read between his libtard lines) is that the public having guns is the real public safety issue. A true lib always believes the government is the solution to everything and the public are stupid sheep to be cared for by a kind and benevolent dictatorship (I mean government). I'm with Chief Craig on this 100%. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. and Detroit Chief Craig are the only big city/county law enforcement leaders that I have much respect for.

Rainer Ruettger @ 5/21/2014 2:15 AM

Only one question:
For what do you need LEO´s in the United States of America?????
You have the Second Amendment!! Give all so called "law-abiding, responsible citizens" a gun, and that´s it.
You will spare a lot of Money - no expensive squad cars, no expensive officers, no extremly expensive processes against the administrations.... oh I forgot - you still have the what do you need more??

Rainer Ruettger @ 5/21/2014 2:32 AM

Serpico....Serpico....big really believe, the Second Amendment is a Right given by
And the earth is made 5 thousand years ago....
So, for what do you and your fans need administration....oh I don´t need it.
And people like you have nuclear what do we need more?

Chief Joe George @ 5/21/2014 5:25 AM

Chief Craig is just stating what a large number of law abiding citizens feel. I support Chief Craig and his views and support of the Second Amendment. I choose to be politically correct only when being politically correct is CORRECT. No one should want anyone killed; but if it is going to be that way, I much prefer the bad person going down and not an innocent person.

James L Prince @ 5/21/2014 6:19 AM

It is refreshing when you hear leadership speak the truth on these matters! Go ahead Chief!

Steve Melczer @ 5/21/2014 6:35 AM

Thank you Chief. More Chiefs should believe in your stance that lawful people should defend themselves form thugs or anti-gun nuts. It's a shame when L.E. buckles to bully's of government (of course they have protection). Vote out the anti American jerks and re-claim our Country from predators.
Fire the crappy voted in people! No more, I need another term, I have a plan, trust me, please...they aren't qualified when they say bull like that! "But...but...but" That's right stick it up their butts.
No More! America belongs to Americans!
Thanks again Chief!

Adam @ 5/21/2014 7:11 AM

For a really good example of responsible legal gun owning citizens making a difference in violent crime. Look at Chicago, since the Supreme Court ruled ill. gun laws were unconstitutional their murder rate has drop drastically.

jeff @ 5/21/2014 9:43 AM

You Rainer Ruettger are a complete and total idiot.

Jack Betz @ 5/21/2014 1:09 PM

Many years ago, the finest cop I ever knew told me that the police cannot protect the public. That said, WHY IN BLOODY DAM BLUE BLAZES DO THE POLICE HAVE A REP OF BEING ANTI GUN. Most of the time we show up n time to start the cleanup and file a report. So what is wrong with John Q. learning howto take care of themselves. I for one am none to fond of those dammed, sempty shattered eyes looking at me silently asking, where were you.

Greg @ 5/21/2014 1:57 PM

I've been in law enforcement for 27 years. I've been a Chief of Police for the past 6 years. My belief is the same as Chief Craig's. The police can't be everywhere.

mike @ 5/21/2014 5:09 PM

We shold have more chiefs like him in urban areas. Too often in "big cities" our chiefs are politicalized to the point that they become pawns of mayors who are anit-gun, anti-crime, anti-authority and anything that is anti-enforcement.

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/21/2014 10:39 PM

I am so happy not to live anywhere near that disaster area.

REH-Jr @ 5/22/2014 6:00 AM

Well one thing is for certain, there are no police officer "slamming" him for his stance. Cops do not support gun control.

Bobby Perry @ 5/22/2014 6:02 PM

Quite simple, our fore fathers and son's were not stoned or drunk when they wrote the constitution, they knew what could happen in the future because history does have a way of repeating itself Thank goodness for officers like him, and I am so damn proud to see other officers that believe in the constitution as well here's to you guys love ya and respect ya.
I have your back, WTSHTF . Here's to those fallen officers and men and woman of our armed services that gave their all so we can live in a country that has a living and working constitution.
Sorry but I just can't resist a soap box another right under that very piece of parchment

Tom @ 5/23/2014 5:59 AM

Remember, Chief Craig has been on the other side of the guns rights issue on the left coast. He has the guts to admit that the BS he was dished up early in his career, was just that. He has the experience of real life situations behind his beliefs. He also has the guts to state his opinions based on real life experienc, and not let the politics get in the way. As far as Mr. Scott's comments are concerned, he is obviously not living in our real world. Oh year, by the way 37 years in this business, over 34 as a full-time sworn officer. Not once in my career has a good guy or gal with a gun been the problem. However, they have stopped a lot of crime. Carry on Chief Craig.

Johnn Law @ 5/23/2014 9:22 AM

Way to go Chief!! An honest professional stating fact. I would certainly be proud to work for this Chief! Way to stand up to politicians and speak the truth about citizen's right to protect themselves. We can't be everywhere all the time.

Louie Enrique @ 5/26/2014 11:14 PM

Chief Craig, stand tall, proud, intelligent and strong voice for the law abiding armed Americans. Thank you and god bless sir.

OldTxHal @ 9/15/2014 12:32 PM

Chief, you are to be commended! I retired after 38 years in law enforcement, and if we had Chief's like you all through the years, our towns and cities would be in much better shape today! Keep up the good work as the "slobbering white liberals" and "black racial pot stirrers" will keep on sniping at you! God Bless.............

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