Half Of Detroit Council Packs Heat
Council President Says He Has Received Death Threats
POSTED: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
UPDATED: 7:52 pm EST November 10, 2009
DETROIT -- By Thanksgiving, five members of the of the newly elected Detroit City Council will be packing heat.
Charles Pugh, Kwame Kenyatta, James Tate and Gary Brown have said Tuesday that they are usually armed.
"I wish we lived in a community where we didn't need a gun," said Brown.
The Rev. Andre Spivey, pastor of St. Paul AME, said he soon plans to get his concealed weapon permit.
Spivey said he's applying for a concealed weapon permit because church members have been urging him to get one for years.
Pugh said he got a concealed weapon permit in December 2007 before he entered politics because he had received death threats.
"The reality is there are people who are homophobic and they are not happy with me as an elected person who happens to be gay," said soon-to-be Council President Pugh.
Kenyatta said he packs heat because council members sometimes must ward off irate citizens.
Tate and Brown are former police officers.
Spivey said carrying a weapon is not "an indictment upon the citizens of Detroit," but he will "feel more comfortable having it."
The nine-person council has a full-time, nine-officer police unit. Members can request individual security when they feel threatened.
However, because of the city's financial woes, the security budget may be cut.
Concealed weapon permit permit holders must be over 21 to apply and they must complete a safety course. Holders are not allowed to bring guns to schools, hospitals, stadiums, taverns and casinos in Michigan.
"It's a precaution. Put seat belt on and you don't expect to crash, but if you do, you want to be ready for the crash -- so it's the same thing," said Pugh.
Saunteel Jenkins, who finished third in the council race, said her 14-year-old sister was killed by gunfire years ago.
She told a local paper that the heat packing council members are setting a poor example for the rest of the community.