Guns

Legal Gun Owners Can Deter Crime, Says Detroit Police Chief

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Reason

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has said that legal gun owners can deter crime, a position he adopted after becoming police chief in Portland, Maine in 2009. According to Craig, "Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed."

From The Detroit News:

Detroit— If more citizens were armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday.

Urban police chiefs are typically in favor of gun control or reluctant to discuss the issue, but Craig on Thursday was candid about how he's changed his mind.

"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.

The Detroit News also notes that Robyn Thomas, the director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, disagrees with Craig on the relationship between gun ownership and crime:

"I think at its core, his position is an emotional one, based on the idea that people feel safer when they have guns. But studies have shown more guns don't deter crime," Thomas said. "There's no research that shows guns make anyone safer, and it does show that, the more guns in any situation, the higher the likelihood of them harming either the owner, or people who have access to them."

Make sure to read the blog post by Reason's Ron Bailey on a recent study written by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius on the effects assault weapons bans and concealed carry laws have on murder rates. 

From the abstract of Guis' study:

Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level.

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H/T Chris Staley