LANSING, Mich. — People in Lansing who are turning 21 this year can get their concealed pistol license for free through an initiative started by organizations that want to break the stigma surrounding minority young adults carrying guns.
“We really want to kind of flip that switch in people’s head to think that Black and brown youth adults can own guns for the same reason that most of America does,” said Erica Lynn, co-founder of the Village Lansing.
That was the motivation to start the free CPL class in Lansing.
“So, we’re doing a 21 for 21, that’s what it’s called,” said Michael Lynn Jr., co-founder of the Village Lansing. “Anyone who turned 21 in 2021 can get free CPL classes and they’re sponsored by Village Lansing, Black Lives Matter Lansing and Mikey 23.”
The class is taught by Lynn. He said his goal is to prevent young people from getting in trouble with law enforcement.
“What we noticed over the last couple years is a lot of young people are getting their first felony by carry a firearm illegally,” Lynn said. “So, one of the things we’re doing is getting these kids licenses to carry already what they were carrying.”
The eight-hour course covers gun safety, how to handle guns, when and when not to shoot and more. Once the classroom learning is done, it’s then time to hit the gun range.
Lynn said one of his favorite parts of the day is building a bond with students.
“Even today, I’ve been able to mentor a lot of these young men, tell them about my life and they tell me about theirs,” he said. “ I’ve also been able to answer questions about guns that they may now feel comfortable asking others.”
The classes will be going on all year and Lansing residents interested are able to register after their birthday.
People who aren’t 21 can register but the cost is $100.
Students say they've learned a lot.
“A lot of people I know need to carry legally," said Sequon Gilliam, "and I wish they would’ve come or I wish I would’ve told them so they could have the same opportunity, before they got in trouble for protecting themselves.”