MARQUETTE COUNTY — Gun violence seems to make headlines every week. With so many up in arms over gun control, more than 480,000 have their concealed pistol licenses in the state of Michigan according to the latest numbers from the state police.
“You have the right to defend yourself in your home,” said NRA certified instructor and owner of 906 Concealed Carry Avery Smith. “You also have the right to defend yourself out in abroad, so getting the license allows you to exercise that right anywhere you go in the state of Michigan.”
According to Michigan law you must be 21 years old and meet the criteria outlined by Michigan Law to get your concealed pistol license. Persons must complete an eight hour class including an in-depth look at gun laws in Michigan, have at least three hours on the range, and shoot at least 30 rounds on target.
“That’s the greatest value of a CPL is it gives you the education you need to be safe and responsible with a firearm,” said Joseph Lavey, attorney at law.
The class required of CPL holders outlines gun safety, handling and gun laws to create informed citizens. Once the class is completed a gun owner’s training isn’t done. They must continue to learn about their weapon and stay up-to-date on the constantly changing gun laws. The license must be renewed every five years.
“If you own a firearm and you’re carrying it with a license, it’s a deadly weapon and you never want to be in a circumstance or event where what you’re doing is illegal,” said Lavey. “I think there is a responsibility that goes with a CPL of constantly updating your own education to make sure you’re complying with the law.”
After you complete the requirements for the CPL, pay the 105 dollar fee, and obtain your license, you can conceal a pistol in places not otherwise prohibited like federal buildings. Those who have taken the course say they appreciate the lessons learned.
“I like to know that I’m protected if I have to be,” said Erica Smith, a CPL holder. “I’ve never had to use it and I’m thankful for that, but it’s still nice to know that you can protect yourself.”
“I feel more safe having it on me,” said Denise Black, a CPL holder. “Even out in the woods when you’re hunting because you have a lot of predators out there if you need to use it.”