BELLEVUE, WAâ€”The decision Monday by Wayne County, Mich. Prosecutor Michael Duggan to charge former Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver for having an unregistered handgun was â€œthe right thing to do,â€ said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).
â€œIt doesn’t matter who you are,â€ Duggan was quoted as saying Monday by the Detroit Free Press. â€œIf you do not license your handgun … I am going to charge you.â€
â€œIâ€™m satisfied that Mike Duggan is sticking to his â€˜anti-gunsâ€™,â€ Waldron quipped.
Earlier, Waldron had challenged Duggan to charge the now ex-chief. Had Duggan not charged Oliverâ€”as he would have any other citizen caught in the same set of circumstancesâ€”it would have been a blatant exercise in elitist hypocrisy, Waldron suggested.
â€œJerry Oliver deserves a day in court, same as any other citizen who has been accused of a crime,â€ Waldron stated. â€œLikewise, the law-abiding gun owners in Wayne County also deserve for Oliver to have a day in court, as it demonstrates that nobody, even the chief law enforcement officer of the stateâ€™s largest city, is above the law.
â€œEvery law-abiding gun owner in Michigan is aware of the registration requirement,â€ Waldron continued, â€œso it is incredulous for Jerry Oliver to say that he wasnâ€™t. While there is no evidence that any registration law ever prevented a violent crime, it is still the law in Michigan, unless and until the Legislature wisely repeals it. Until that happens, the law applies to everyone, even police chiefs.
â€œJerry Oliver learned the hard way why police should never be exempt from any law they are required to enforce, and that especially should apply to gun laws,â€ Waldron observed. â€œToo often over the years, such laws were deliberately written with exemptions for police, in order to garner their political support. For too long, the public looked upon police as â€˜gun expertsâ€™ and therefore were often mistakenly influenced by a police endorsement or opposition to a particular gun law proposal.
â€œChief Oliverâ€™s incident, and it is really nothing more than that,â€ Waldron concluded, â€œshows that police, and especially police administrators, are not always gun experts. Carrying an unlicensed handgun is bad enough, but packing a loaded gun in your luggage, not declaring it at an airport check-in, and not even being able to identify its correct caliber are stunning lapses. Real experts donâ€™t do this, and all other average citizens face the same consequences that Jerry Oliver now faces.â€