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      Concealed carry in Michigan: explaining the law

      Our Facebook viewers wanted to know more about Michigan's concealed pistol license, or CPL. How can you get it, and why do people have it?

      Things aren't exactly quiet for gun owner Mike Butler. He uses his pistol two to three times per week for target shooting but carries it under his shirt every day.

      "It's just a peace of mind," said Butler. "If you're walking in the woods, it's a peace of mind."

      He's one of more than 300,000 Michigan residents with a concealed pistol license since the law took effect in 2001. According to latest data from the Michigan State Police, those numbers are growing.

      "It's unfortunate Michigan requires people to jump through so many hoops to allow us to exercise a right," said Facebook fan John Parker.

      Those hoops are a loaded application, fingerprints and a background check. Any felonies or misdemeanors can disqualify you.

      "They're trying to ensure that when they give you the ability to carry concealed that you're doing so safely, that you don't have a history of violence, you don't have a history of mental instability, and certainly that you've been a good citizen," said Lt. Robert Pernanski.

      Getting a license may be tough, but losing it can be easy if you carry near pistol-free zones like schools or daycare centers. And when in danger, law enforcement say firing off should be the last resort.

      "Certainly try all other means necessary to protect yourself short of deadly force,' Lt. Pernanski said.

      Butler says he's never had to use his gun for protection, but knowing it's nearby puts him at ease.

      "I can actively protect myself, if need be, or others, and I'm not creating a scene," Butler said.