By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — About 200 guns that were confiscated by Dearborn police over six months laid on a conference room table inside the police station May 24 as Police Chief Ronald Haddad spoke out about guns in America.
“I support the Second Amendment, but I don’t see why anyone would need to carry one of these guns loaded in their car,” he said. “If the nation says it’s OK to keep those in your home, I don’t necessarily agree and there’s no data that will support that these types of weapons have ever been used in any constructive way to protect your home other than intimidation.”
Haddad said reports of loaded weapons being stolen from unlocked vehicles are made on average of once a week in Dearborn.
“The FBI reports every year that over 1 million guns are stolen in America,” he said. “We have 800,000 cops that protect the country every day and yet every year there are at least a million guns stolen. Something has to happen where people are more accountable to make sure they better secure those weapons.”
During the press conference, Haddad emphasized the city’s law enforcement and mental health intervention model which was created after a mass shootings case study.
“In all these mass shootings there was a bunch of common denominators,” he said. “No. 1, there was always a mental fitness issue. No. 2 is that the vast majority of people involved in the shootings did not come to law enforcement’s attention, and the third item is that someone close to them knew about what their intentions were.”
Haddad said the situations could be avoided if the community or country addresses incidents similar to the mass shootings in a different way, or intervenes and files reports them, the incidents can be stopped before they become a crime or someone gets hurt.
Haddad said that since he has been in Dearborn there have been seven major interventions where there were high level threats with the capabilities to carry them out.
Haddad also spoke about gun free zones, such as sporting venues and school property.
“The United States sports leagues have made every sports venue gun-free,” he said. “I think that we can all learn as a nation from the United States teams here because they clearly know that gun-free zones give law enforcement a much better shot at ending anything that might happen there.
“I’m very proud of the Dearborn Public Schools. I think very local district should decide for themselves whether they want them gun free or not, but from a law enforcement perceptive, I support the fact that all of our Dearborn schools are gun free.”
As for gun reform and gun laws, Haddad said he wishes Congress, state legislatures and governors would step up to pass laws that would make Michigan and the country safer.
Haddad said that after discussions with young people in the community, he believes they will be the ones who fix the gun problem when they come of age.
“We tend to criticize our young people that all they do is play video games, and now that they’ve taken a stand on national high priority issues, I’m really disappointed that anybody would have the nerve to criticize the kids” he said. “There will be a change, but at what cost?”
Haddad encourages residents to sign up for the city’s special needs registry and to inform police ahead of time if someone in a household has an alcohol problem so officers and first responders are aware.
To sign up for the special needs registry and for more information on the mental health intervention model go to www.cityofdearborn.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])