- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Detroit’s police chief says he believes the number of armed citizens in the city would deter would-be terrorists from carrying out attacks similar to those in Paris for fear of return fire.

“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug, Chief James Craig said, The Detroit News reported. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”

In Detroit last year, 1,169 handgun permits were issued and more than 8,000 guns were registered with the police department, The Detroit News reported. Statewide, more than 115,000 gun permits were issued, according to Michigan State Police and more than 30,000 Detroit residents are legally armed.

Although officials maintain there are no specific or credible threats, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last week released a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, warning police there could be attacks similar to the Nov. 13 terrorist strikes in Paris.

Chief Craig made waves in 2013 when he said more armed citizens would help drive down crime in the city. In 2014, he attributed a 37 percent drop in the number of robberies in Detroit to armed citizens.

His most recent comments come as Michigan on Tuesday removed local three-member county gun boards, making it easier for citizens to obtain concealed carry gun permits.

Michigan was the last state with local gun boards, which meant different rules in each county. The National Rifle Association has said the new rules will eliminate licensing delays and arbitrary denials.

Craig praised the new state law, and said they will help citizens fight back against criminals and terrorists.

“If you look at what happened in Paris, I’m not saying if more citizens had had guns it would have stopped the terrorists,” he said. “But it sure might have helped.

“If you’re sitting in a restaurant, and you aren’t allowed to have a gun, what are you supposed to do if someone comes in there shooting at you? Throw a fork at them?” Chief Craig said, The Detroit News reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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