That got us thinking. How many Reading and North Reading residents have a gun license?
The answer: 706 in Reading and 960 in North Reading, if you're talking about the most common type of gun license. In bureaucratic-speak, that's the "Resident Class A Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms." According to the Globe, it's the only Massachusetts license that lets individuals carry a concealed weapon and own any type of legal gun.
To put that 706 person figure in context, Reading's population is 24,747 according to the 2010 Census, and North Reading has 960 gun permits with a population of 14,892 according to the 2010 Census.
Both towns have seen an increase in permits since 2008, but not a large one. In 2008, the number of people with a gun license in Reading was 598, and 766 in North Reading.
Here is a chart of active "Class A" gun license holders in Reading and North Reading since 2008, according to the State Office of Public Safety.
|Class A Licenses Reading||598||648||675||694||706|
|Class A Licenses North Reading||766||837||886||914||960|
And here's something you might not know: There are four people in Reading licensed to own a machine gun and three people in North Reading. That number has remained pretty steady since 2008, give or take one permit.