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How Many Reading and North Reading Residents Have Gun Permits?

President Barack Obama's proposals for new gun control measures have everyone talking. But do you know how many of your neighbors might be armed?

In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Barack Obama has made several new proposals for increased gun control.

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.

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 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.

If you are interested in getting a gun permit, you must make an appointment with Reading or North Reading Police.

Ed Canney January 18, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Not advocating loss of gun ownership. Individual ownership of military style assault machines is the debate, i.e, mass killings. Don't see the freedom of speech connection just because we have additional means to use that right. Understand that the 1789 citizens had arms also to feed themselves. But I would argue the Constitution is a living document, meant to evolve as society does. Just feel that there are certain high capacity weapons that are not needed for personal protection nor hunting, and limited to "a well regulated militia".
CommonSenseCitizen January 18, 2013 at 08:07 PM
OldTownie: With regard to freedom of speech: are there appropriate restrictions on speech within the law? Of course there are! I point you to "Schenck V United States" in 1919 which set forth the "clear and present danger" doctrine. In other words, you have free speech... within reason. Following your argument about single-shot weapons, should citizens be allowed to own rocket launchers, fighter jets, tanks, and Apache helicopters? Because frankly, I wasn't aware the second amendment was a prescription for an arms race with one's own government.
Dan January 18, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Not sure if anyone said this already, but the line "Both towns have seen an increase in permits since 2008, but not a large one" is a stretch. Over a four-year period, gun permits in Reading rose ~18% while rising ~25% in North Reading. That seems to be a pretty substantial increase when compared to the change in population over the same period.
Mary B January 18, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Mr. Canney, I agree with you 100%. The right to own a gun is fine. Well controlled guns do have a place. Hunters use guns to kill animals and I do not want to trample on that right. However, the last time I checked, The United States is not war or even a threat to be a war. So, there is absolutely no reason for a common citizen to own an assault rifle or have a high capacity magazine with his/her weapon. It is time for the hysteria to stop, put controls on attack weapons and high capacity magazines. I and my children did not go to school with armed guards present. I do not want my grandchildren to have to go to school with armed guards. It is time for peace to prevail in the nation.
OldTownie January 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM
There are already limits on what firearms can legally be possessed in the USA. Already military grade weapons are not allowed except for what they issue as a sidearm. Anybody that thinks an 'Assault Weapon' that they can purchase in Mass. is a 'military' weapon doesn't know much about either. As has been pointed out many times before, 'Assault Weapons' are not, statistically, a big problem compared to many other dangerous things like knives and blunt objects but they look mean and our politicians are quick to jump on something that will make the masses feel better. BTW - I'd love to own a fighter jet if I could afford one. Sure would cut all the hours spent at and between LAX and BOS.
Ed Canney January 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM
" I'd love to own a fighter jet..". Not weaponized of course, just for speed? I would too!
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 12:39 AM
OldTownie: I agree with the idea that people want to use this as political fodder and be the first to enact bans, etc, simply to make people feel better. And yes, I think there are some discussions to be had on the issue of "assault" weapons. My main point is there exists a hair trigger (pardon the pun) on both sides of this issue. We can't be too quick to ban things, and we certainly can't immediately jump into screaming that any further regulation is "tyranny." Much like gun ownership, discussion after a tragedy of this sort should undergo a mandatory waiting period. ;)
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Dan: On the surface it makes a nice talking point, but it doesn't hold much water when you get down to the nitty-gritty. How has SUV ownership risen in a comparable period? Flat screen televisions? You'll say those are completely unrelated points, but isn't that the case with gun permits as well? Gun permits rising in each town is inconsequential unless you can tie it to a statistic such as violent crimes rising by an equal amount over the same time period. If you found a link that showed gun deaths in these two towns rising in a direct or close proportion to the number of permits issued, perhaps I'd agree. But you can't. I challenge you to assign any other meaning to it aside from more people owning guns-- which hasn't led to any negative consequences in the same time period. And to take it a step further: how many gun crimes are committed with a *legally* owned and possessed firearm? Your statistic would have to account for those committed with guns purchased and acquired illegally. For example, take this except from a NY Post article written in July, before the Sandy Hook tragedy: "New York’s tough-as-nails gun laws aren’t doing much to stop illegal weapons purchased in other states from getting into criminal hands here, according to a federal analysis released yesterday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced 8,793 guns seized in New York in 2011 and found that just 1,595 were bought in the state."
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Dear Commonsense, You speak with such conviction that a less informed person might actually think you know what you are talking about. It takes incredibly audacity to tell a group of citizens that a conversation about gun possession has nothing to do with the second amendment. Somehow we all "hurt the cause" by bring the whole messy idea of constitutional rights into the conversation. Exactly what cause are you referring to? Finally, your analysis of the second amendment couldn't be more wrong. I very clearly understand the entire second amendment; it is only one sentence long. It is a parenthetical sentence though in that the former part "well regulated militia" cannot be separated from the latter. Please don't try to tell me what a militia is. I know very well who the militia was that Thomas Jefferson was referring to. It was the militia that drove General Gage and the Redcoats back to Boston from Concord. It was the militia that kept them under seige in Boston. It was the militia who took out over a third of the British regulars at the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was the militia who wiped out the Hessians in Bennington Vermont screaming vengeance for Molly Mcrea. It was the militia who so disabled Burgoyne that his entire army surrendered at Saratoga. George Washington and his continental army fought hard but they were purely symbolic; better at retreating than fighting. Still Washington new as long as there was an army there was a revolution.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Commonsense cont. It was the militia that won the Revolutionary War. So who were the militia? They were unpaid, unprofessional citizen soldiers. The "minutemen" and that is who our founding fathers referred to. And they knew that a well regulated militia was essential to the security of a free state. So what did they mean by "well regulated"? Again we need to look at the 18th century definition of well regulated: Princeton's wordnet defines regulated as orderly; marked by or adhering to method or system. i.e "a well regulated life". It did not refer to multiple laws or regulations. So, our constitution recognizes that a well regulated militia is essential to the security of a free state but, remember that that first part of the amendment is attached to the last, so "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Our founding fathers recognized that a time may come again to prevent tyranny such as they experienced under King George. They were so anti monarchy and felt so fervently that the citizens maintain the right to form a well regulated militia that they provided a constitutional amendment to ensure that right. Twice the supreme court has upheld that right. Lastly "commonsense" your arguments would have more credibility if you had the same conviction of our founding fathers and signed you "John Hancock".
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Absolutely Tom. When did exercising your constitutional rights become news? I wish people would take the time to understand our system of government.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Dear commonsense: I hardly think that noting that the majority of these massacres have occurred at the hands of young, white, upper middle or middle class white males is "class warfare" I call it "commonsense". Forensic science can help us truly understand the root of this relatively new phenomena. Jumping to more regulations on gun ownership does not at all look at the cause of these massacres. It may make some people feel better but, it has made a whole lot of other law abiding citizens really angry.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 03:26 AM
What "perplexes" you was very clear to our founding fathers. The fact that we have progressed technologically is irrelevant. The minutemen were fighting against people with similar technology to their own. The truth is totalitarian governments have been responsible for the deaths of 100's of millions of people worldwide. What sounds extreme or even impossible to you our founding fathers knew was very real. Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist papers "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed". Is this perplexing to you? George Washington wrote "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference-they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" Does this require further interpretation? You have liberty not because you happen to live in some enlightened era. You have liberty because of the checks and balances in place in the constitution; including the right to bear arms. I am sure you would like to believe we are far too civilized that somehow we have "evolved" from the need to protect ourselves. I bet the citizens of Rome felt the same way. Radical American Revolutionaries are not the only ones who felt this way. Here is a quote from Mahatma Gandhi "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Janine Largent: The "cause" is that of gun rights and gun owners (like me) not being ostracized and marginalized by non-gun owning citizens for political points. People like you who get heated about how reasonable regulation is an outrage and anti-constitutional are the reason people view normal gun owners like myself as potential nut cases. You expect all arguments that start with "But the second Amendment..." to be trump cards that can't be refuted. You don't understand that doing so trivializes everything you just went on at length about in your last post. You're equating the patriots and minutemen bravely fighting the British monarchy for sovereignty, losing their lives for a cause, feeling strongly for their convictions in such a manner that they would rather fight and die and never know the outcomes of their efforts... with the preservation of 30 round clips and limited background checks. I ask you: is "flash suppressor or death" a cry you're willing to yell at the gallows? After all, hang together or hang separately, right? As for your last line regarding my "John Hancock", I give you points for wit. Though I could very easily change my current name to "Silence Dogood" and that would make me noble in your eyes, yes? I think "her" first letter says it best: "...it is observed, that the Generality of People, nowadays, are unwilling either to commend or dispraise what they read, until they are in some measure informed who or what the Author of it is, ... "
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Mary, you don't want to take away someone's right to hunt but, someone else probably does. Either way the whole "we just want sane regulations" is a precursor to more and more restrictive gun laws. Our founding fathers had a very real intent with the second amendment and it had nothing to do with hunting. I don't have a gun or a gun license, but I feel safer knowing that there are many law abiding citizens in my town of North Reading who do. Real peace is found in strength. You have much more faith in human kind than I do. The government can't guarantee your safety through gun regulations. Especially if it is the government who is the one who is harming you.
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 04:05 AM
Janine Largent: I had two other posts in the last few minutes in this thread responding to you but I feel they were needlessly sarcastic and I deleted them just now. I think we're getting caught up in rhetoric here and are both getting dragged down into a poor level of discourse. I think you have valid points about drawing a very firm line on any legislation that bumps up against the the constitution. I sometimes think that people are reactionary (both sides, in this issue.) So we can agree to disagree on specific parameters. But we agree that the fundamental right to bare arms is a necessity.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Commonsense, The bill of rights are exactly that , rights. I don't find anything trivial in them.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Not yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre is hardly restriction on freedom of speech. Do you truly believe that law abiding citizens who are exercising their right to keep and bear arms present a "clear and present danger".
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Commonsense, You fall prey to the same argument that others with your "cause" do. If restricting these semi automatic weapons will save so many lives imagine how many more lives you could save by banning guns altogether. To deny that the federal government would like to disarm the American people is naive. I know, as do most second amendment supporters, that there is an absolute agenda to disarm citizens. In fact, I believe President Obama signed a small arms treaty with the UN to reduce the number of small arms in the hands of American citizens on the very day of his reelection. Comments such as "no one wants to take away your right to have hunting or sporting weapons" are what really hurt the cause. Most people do not get gun licences because they want to hunt, they get gun licenses because they want to protect themselves and their families.
Sal Rege January 19, 2013 at 02:29 PM
An earlier reference to a Gandhi quote that sounds as if he supported arming the people is explained further here: "Arms" in this context were military arms not the personal weapons of private individuals. The context of "depriving of the whole nation of arms" was the refusal of the British to conscript Indians into the British Army during the First World War. Gandhi was an extreme anti-militarist. The statement is odd coming out of him, but he used the circumstance for political purposes to advance the cause of Home Rule and Independence. http://www.potomac-inc.org/gandhi.html
Sal Rege January 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM
The role of government is to protect the public health and well-being. Those who are terrified of the government probably have family members who benefit from Medicare, Medicaid, Family Leave, Social Security, Unemployment pay, subsidized housing, Veteran's benefits, housing assistance, and food assistance. If gun deaths were caused by a new disease, we would expect the government to put resources into finding a prevention and cure. It is appropriate that they are addressing guns in the same way.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Gandhi was indeed referring to the right of India to protect herself with guns. If Gandhi were a citizen of Russia under Stalin's rule do you think he would feel differently about the Russian citizens right to defend themselves simply because their oppressor was their own government? If Gandhi were a Jew in Hitler's Germany would he deny the Jews the right to protect themselves? Guns aren't just a protection in the event of tyranny they are a deterrant to it. If you wait until you are oppressed you are no different then the Russians under Stalin or the Jews under Hitler.
Janine Largent January 19, 2013 at 03:59 PM
It would appear that 50% of the population has become accustomed to relying on one or more of the above mentioned programs. Of course if you have become dependant on these programs you would be nervous about the possibilty of losing them. The reality is though that outside of Veteran's assistance there is no real constitutional basis that any of the other benefits should be provided by the government. Certainly not the federal government. Truth is there is no end to areas of life we could assign to the responsibility of the federal government. The extreme end of this nannification is communism. Truth is we have bankrupted ourselves with entitlements and the layers of bureauocracy that accompany them. We are 20 trillion dollars in debt. That means we are broke and we are paying for these programs with our children's futures. It is not the governments job to be our parents. Heck even our parents expect us to move out eventually.
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Janine, you misunderstood the Ghandi quote. It was one of the posts I graciously deleted from the thread last night. You assume that because you interpret something one way it must be fact. You are wrong, plain and simple. "NRPARENTS" is correct.
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 05:15 PM
You still don't get it! I'm not for taking guns away. I am a defender of the second amendment, MORE SO than you! Since you absolutely insist on being obtuse, I will try one last time: The Constitution is considered a final firewall against tyranny, but people like you want to retreat to it *immediately* at the first sign of trouble. Battles are not won by sitting in a foxhole and waiting. And that's what you are doing. By bringing the battle to the final and ultimate point, the second amendment, there is no where else to go. You weakened your position by opening it to interpretation, context, history, and many other factors. By yelling "second amendment" every time you weaken the strength of it as an argument much like the boy who cried wolf. You may be right that there's a wolf someday, but because you yelled it so many times before, NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU. That is what I referred to as trivializing it. Legislation is better argued with statistics. Gun permits have risen every year in this town. Gun violence and deaths have NOT. Gun crimes have not. And you can even break this down nationally by saying the people who DO kill with guns have them illegally the VAST majority of the time! All this is more than enough to stop people from banning "assault weapons." But no-- you just want to yell "second amendment" and duck in a hole. Sorry, but I prefer to actually get on the battle field and fight the battle with more effective means. I'll leave you to your misinterpretations.
CommonSenseCitizen January 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Yeah, I'm definitely not wasting my time in this thread any longer. I had no idea you were one of these "OMG communism sohshullist" types. Ugh. You're never going to understand the points other people are going to make. You're just upset there's a democrat in office. I bet you cried on election night. For goodness sakes. I'm out.
Janine Largent January 20, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Commonsense, And you, my friend are not gracious, nor a very good debater.
Michael L January 22, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Let's get these newspapers to print HOW many politicans and anti-gunners are benefiting by the anti-gun craze. As an example Bushmaster is 6% owned by the California teacher's union. How is that for hypocrasy? In addition Mr. Canney. What differnece does it make how many rounds are legal? 1- It is just as easy to rleoad another 7 round magazine and keep shooting. The Sandy school killer was reloading after a few shots as he learned in games like DOOM etc. The issue is that if someone is intent on causing massive carnage he will find a way regardless of the numbe ror type of gun he uses. PS: The largest school massacre occcured in the 1920s by a janitor who used bombs. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer. 2- There have been numerous attempts at school shooting prevented by Armed guards.....the media does not publish that. How many school shooting have been caused by the armed guards or the teachers that carry weapons? NOT ONE. 3- And what does having to transfer a gun at a dealer at a cost of 40++ have to do with safety? We have laws in place now that work why make us pay for new law that will not do anything to prevent crime? I just hope that all the anti-gunners never have to face a situation tto save their family and not be able to as I have. I am a legal gun owner and observe all laws but I am the one the govternment is after versus the criminals who are let off with a slap on the wrist for their crimes.
Janine Largent January 22, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Michael, I the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy the appropriate response should be grief. Sadly, as so often occurs in situations like this the human need to grieve turns to anger and a call for action. The call for action comes from concerned citizens; parents with young children in schools who want some guarantee of safety for their children and sadly, often times, from politicians who seek to gain political ground or advance their agenda. I have a child in the public schools. I realize that I cannot ever receive a guarantee of her safety. Even if the second amendment were repealed and every gun confiscated an individual intent upon creating such carnage would find a way to succeed. Massacres such as Sandy Hook or Columbine or Aurora are emblematic of a more serious social problem. To find the solution we must take a good, long look at ourselves. We also have to seriously try to profile the type of person who commits these acts in order to truly get at the cause and eventually the solution. Any conversation of gun control should naturally lead to a discussion of the second amendment. Conversations that tell gun owners to somehow convince society through statistics that the the majority of gun owners are law abiding, etc. etc. become convoluted and render gun ownership to the level of a privilege. We are a republic. As such, we are ruled by law. The constitution is the basis for that law. Any conversation on gun control should be lead by the law.
JJ Mclure November 27, 2013 at 03:47 PM
guns only shoot bullets....people kill people

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