When James Craig was a young man in the 1970s, he says law-abiding people wouldn’t dream of carrying guns. But then he left town to pursue a career in policing. In the years he was gone, Michigan liberalized its gun laws, making it easier for people to get concealed-carry permits.
When he came back to become Detroit’s police chief in 2013, he found a whole new reality.
«You would have thought, given the dynamic of people who carry weapons, that we were maybe in Texas,» he says. «But in fact, we were in Detroit, Michigan!»
Police chiefs usually don’t like the idea of citizens carrying concealed guns for self-defense, but Craig says he had to be realistic about the situation in his hometown.
«It was a well-known fact here in Detroit,» he says. «People didn’t have a lot of confidence that when they dialed 911, that the police were going to show up. In fact, we know they didn’t.»
So he endorsed a trend that was already well under way — the trend toward more people carrying legal guns.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of blacks now see gun ownership as a good thing, something more likely to protect than harm. That’s up from 29 percent just two years ago. In places like Detroit, more African-Americans are getting permits to carry concealed weapons.
Read more at: NPR