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See Stoneham's Active Firearms Licenses

What are your thoughts on President Obama's proposals to curb gun violence? Let us know by posting a comment below.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a number of efforts last week aimed at curbing gun violence in the United States.

Massachusetts is home to some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, with local members of Congress urging the federal government do more to prevent tragedies like that in Newtown, CT. 

That got us thinking. How many Stoneham residents have a gun license?

The answer: 861, if you're talking about the most common type of gun license, according to figures provided to Stoneham Patch by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security of active firearms licenses in Stoneham from 2008 through 2012.

In bureaucratic-speak, those 861 licenses are "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 861 person figure in context, Stoneham's population is 21,437 according to the 2010 Census. That means about 4 percent of Stonehamites have the most common type of gun license.

Since 2008, the number of people with a gun license in town has risen 23.9 percent. The single biggest jump came between 2008 and 2009 when there was a nationwide spike in gun permits sought. Some attributed that to fears Obama would restrict gun rights. But according to the Globe, the economic downtown may also have played a role in the increase, as people worried about their personal safety.

Among other types of licenses, numbers held pretty steady across that span, including Firearms Identification Cards solely for chemical propellants, such as mace or pepper spray, "Class B" licenses for small capacity guns, and machine guns licenses. In Massachusetts, machine guns licenses are only issued to firearms instructor for the sole purpose of instruction to police personnel or to a "bona fide" collector of firearms, per state law.

Here are the numbers for Stoneham:

Permit 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Firearms Identification Card 108 118 111 97 92 Firearms Identification Card Restricted Chemical Propellant Only 53 54 59 58 57 Resident Class A Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms 695 763 814 835 861 Resident Class B Non-Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms 1 1 1 1 2 Resident License to Possess a Machine Gun 5 5 4 4 4 Total 862 941 989 995 1,016

More information on the kinds of firearms permits available in Massachusetts can be found here

Charles Dell January 22, 2013 at 04:28 PM
This State is governed by paranoid police who really don't understand what our constitution is about! Most gun owners are veterans who know more about guns and the use of them than those paranoid police chiefs and politicians who are not educated to the conditions of the citizens and their knowledge!
Mark January 22, 2013 at 05:17 PM
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You are endowed by your Creator, not some manmade law, to protect your life........ by any means necessary. All Stoneham citizens should exercise their Second Amendment rights!
Jen January 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM
I think the right to own and possess firearms is an inherent, individual right set forth by the founders as a last resort check on tyranny. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens have been shown to save lives in countless cases, often foiling would be attackers without needing to fire a shot. Of course, these instances are rarely reported. I recommend that everyone take a firearms safety course, women especially. A weapon can be a great equalizer against an assault by a typically bigger and stronger attacker. To consider takingbthevrightvto self-defence away, is not only unconstitutional, it is dangerous.
Karl Ian Sagal April 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I got my first fire arms training in the Army. Anyone who is paying attention to this gun control debate should do some research on the net results of extreme gun control laws. All they do is make it harder for regular law abiding citizens to get guns to protect themselves. All they do is make it more likely that the criminal, who doesn't care about the laws, is the only one in the room with a gun. All they do is make people more unsafe. Do the research. Would you rather be that convenience store clerk at 11 PM in Texas where everyone (you, your patrons, and that prospective robber) all have guns, or the convenience store clerk at 11 PM in Chicago, where only the robber has a gun, and the police are only 6 or 8 minutes away? Check the stats. See who is more likely to get killed. For that matter, see if it is more likely to get shot while in the Army in Afghanistan, or on the streets of Chicago, or neighborhoods of New Orleans?

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