Detroit police chief James Craig said responsible gun owners may deter crime, the Detroit News reported.
"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 on Thursday.
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Craig’s comments buck a trend among major metropolitan police chiefs who are either opposed to more guns in their cities or are reticent to wade into a thorny political debate.
Craig said his attitude changed when he left California in 2009 to become the police chief 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 (carrying concealed 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."
According to the Detroit News, police have reported 73 justifiable homicides in the city since 2011, most of them citizens defending themselves against criminals.