AFP AUDIO INTERVIEW
Rick Ector, a prominent Detroit gun rights activist and firearms instructor born and raised in The Motor City, recently spoke with AMERICAN FREE PRESS reporter Keith Johnson for the below article, and participated in a follow-up audio interview with Dave Gahary.
Dave Gahary sat down with Rick to to discuss Detroit’s past, present and future, and the recent trend of legally-armed citizens fighting back to get their city back, in this enlightening interview (36:49).
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
Detroit’s Top Cop Stands Up for Gunowners
• Bucking the establishment line on the Second Amendment, Detroit’s top cop says average citizens are the first line of defense against crime and should have access to legal weapons to defend themselves.
By Keith Johnson
Across the country, the rights of gun owners are being snuffed out in many of the nation’s larger cities. AMERICAN FREE PRESS is pleased to report, however, that the Second Amendment is still alive and well in Detroit, Michigan, where the city’s top cop is actually encouraging citizens to take up arms in defense of their lives and property.
“A lot of good Detroiters are fed up,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig during a recent interview with WDIV-TV. “They’re tired of dealing with this epidemic of violence. They’re afraid and they have a right to protect themselves.”
Detroit is continuously ranked among the nation’s most violent cities. To make matters worse, its ongoing financial crisis has resulted in severe budget cuts to law enforcement resources that have left the city with fewer cops to patrol the streets and notoriously slow response times.
As part of his solution to this growing problem, Craig has been on a crusade to remind members of his community that they are often the first line of defense against violent criminals.
“If you’re confronted with an immediate threat to your safety, you don’t have time to dial 9-1-1,” said Craig. “It becomes an issue of—the threat’s here—I have to respond to the threat.”
Fortunately, those words have not fallen on deaf ears. In the few months since Craig first began calling on citizens to arm themselves, many have followed his advice and some of those have even been responsible for thwarting several potentially devastating acts of violence.
“In just one recent two-week period, we’ve had over five situations where citizens with lawfully-owned firearms successfully defended their homes, their families and themselves,” said Rick Ector, a prominent Detroit gun rights activist and firearms instructor who recently spoke with this AFP reporter. “It started last month with a woman whose home had been burglarized on several previous occasions. This time she had a high point carbine rifle (which in places like New York would be classified as an assault weapon) and used that firearm to successfully drive out three home invaders that kicked in her door and came into her house.”
Shortly thereafter, another quick thinking Detroit woman used her firearm in defense of her life. As Ector explains: “She came home late one night and parked her car in the garage. As she was walking down her driveway, two men appeared and put a gun to her head. Good thing about Michigan is that we don’t have a duty to retreat. She was able to distract those guys and produced her firearm. One guy got shot seven times and didn’t make it. His accomplice took off.”
Ector continued: “This is what’s important relative to New York’s stringent gun laws. Had that accomplice stayed and further engaged that woman, she might not have been successful in fending off that second assailant had she been limited to only seven rounds of ammunition.”
These stories hit close to home for Ector, who is no stranger to the mean streets of Detroit.
“About nine years ago, I was accosted by two armed men who robbed me in my driveway,” Ector said. “I was thankful that I wasn’t hurt but angry at myself for not taking advantage of a recent change in the law concerning the issuance of concealed pistol permits.”
In 2001, Michigan converted from a “discretionary” to a “shall issue” system for issuing concealed pistol permits, allowing anyone to conceal carry as long as they met specific uniform requirements. Ector believes that had he availed himself of the change in the law early on, he may have been able to fend off his attackers and quite possibly prevent them from moving on to their next victim.
“That [incident] made me realize that it was time to get off the fence about gun ownership,” Ector said. “I started taking classes and soon became an NRA-certified firearms instructor, which was a natural outgrowth of me wanting to do whatever I could to empower and protect myself and other members of my community.”
Ector isn’t the only one whose attitude about guns was dramatically affected by their own personal experiences.
“Chief Craig spent some time in California as a police chief where he routinely denied requests for carry permits,” said Ector. “However, when he took a job in Maine as the chief of the Portland Police Department, the local community made it known to him that his policy was not acceptable. Fortunately, he made an adjustment in his thinking after realizing that Maine was one of the safest states in our country precisely because there was a high percentage of carry permits among residents. So, when he moved to Detroit he brought that mindset with him.”
Ector went on to say that an overwhelming number of Detroit residents have embraced Craig’s arrival in the Motor City as something that is long overdue.
“He’s our seventh police chief in 11 years,” said Ector. “As a gun rights activist, I can say that it’s very refreshing to finally have someone in power that is pro-carry. We have a lot of crime in Detroit. We have 1.9 carjackings per day on average, and more than 200 sexual assaults and over 300 homicides every year. It’s a dangerous town, but at least we now have a police chief dedicated to using his resources proactively to address crime and imploring citizens to help.”
When asked what effect Craig has had on his own firearms training school, Ector replied: “In the last two weeks, interest, enrollment and participation in personal protection has been through the roof. People are starting to realize that no covenant exists between violent criminals and victims. Here in Detroit they will violate you, have their way with your body, take your possessions and invade your home. If you’re faced with that life and death decision, youmight as well fight for your life. And I’m here trying to empower people to do just that.”
Keith Johnson in an investigative journalist and creator of Revolt of the Plebs.