Top Cops Warm to Idea of Armed Citizenry to Confront Terrorists
Detroit Police Chief James Craig wants to see more people in his city walking the streets with CPLs (concealed pistol licenses) and the handguns that go along with that paperwork.
He has added his voice to that of Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who told 60 Minutes that people facing someone with a gun in a terrorist situation should “take the gunman out.”
Another big-city cop, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that Americans confronted with a terrorist should fight back if they have the opportunity.
Still, they should realize the chance of beating the terrorist is pretty slim.
“The reality is somebody with a handgun up against somebody with an AK-47 is going to be outgunned and putting themselves at serious risk,” Bratton said. “But at the same time, if the scenario allows for that, then certainly we would support that.”
There is no question there are hundreds if not thousands of guns — legally and illegally — on the streets of Detroit.
“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Craig told the Detroit News. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”
Oakland University criminal justice professor Daniel Kennedy couldn't agree more. He told the Detroit News that terrorists would be reluctant to attack armed citizens.
“We don’t have laboratories where we can test these theories, but there is something to the argument that terrorists want a high body count — and if they can only shoot a few people before they’re taken out themselves, it wouldn’t have the kind of impact they want.”
The Detroit Police Officers Association has not commented on Chief Craig’s call for an armed Motor City citizenry to battle ISIS. However, the union does want its rank-and-file to be allowed to carry their department-issued weapons to the next Detroit Lions game.
The DPOA is lobbying the NFL to lift its policy that forces police officers to leave their department-issued guns at home or in their cars before they walk into a football game.
“Law enforcement officers often carry a weapon while off duty not only for their own personal protection but to provide a critical response when circumstances call for immediate police action,” the DPOA wrote to the NFL.
The ISIS attacks in Paris and the threat of similar combat in Detroit prompted the DPOA request.
“Current events, not least the unconscionable acts of terrorism we have recently experienced, only add to the desirability of having readily available armed law enforcement officers even if they are not officially ‘on duty.’ ”
But Detroit cops are not the only members of the law enforcement community who want to pack heat at NFL games.
The New York Police Department Sergeants Benevolent Association is running an online petition drive that asks the NFL to lift the no-guns-for-cops policy. More than 2,600 people signed the petition in two weeks.
“This is not only a law enforcement issue, it is a public safety issue that must be immediately addressed,” the NYPD SBA wrote on its “NFL Compromises Public Safety” petition drive web page.
“NFL stadiums are often publicly funded and receive monetary incentives paid by tax dollars. We urge all nationwide law enforcement personnel to sign this petition to help put an end to this illogical ruling that puts the lives of so many fans at great risk.”
The NYPD-SBA launched its petition drive after the ISIS attacks in Paris. However, the NYPD brought up the idea of legal action to force the NFL to change the no-guns policy in 2014.
At the time, Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News in March 2014 that there would be nothing wrong with having armed off-duty police officers sitting in NFL stands.
"I think stadiums and the people in them would be a lot safer with off-duty cops carrying guns,” he said.
However, Napolitano also said the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry a gun onto private property like an NFL stadium.
The NYPD might have decided not to put its lawyers to work against the NFL, but the Minneapolis Police Department did take the NFL to court over its no-guns policy.
However, a recent appeals court ruling in the case supported the National Football League's position.
Brian McCarthy, speaking for the NFL, said the league is afraid police with guns in a football stadium could make a bad situation worse.
“The well-intentioned display or use of gun(s) could have serious unintended and potentially tragic consequences,” he said.
Ed Mullins, the head of the NYPD-SBA, said McCarthy's argument misses the point.
“The real question is, do we want to be sitting back … questioning the policies of the NFL, asking why they instituted these policies if something happened?”
Two NFL stadiums in America do allow police officers to carry their department-issued weapons to a game: Dallas and Houston, Texas, where there has always been an abiding faith that Lone Star State law trumps anything that comes out of Washington, or anywhere else on planet Earth.