JP gun permits not tracked, but low

February 1, 2013
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The number of gun permits issued to residents of Jamaica Plain and other Boston neighborhoods is not tracked by government agencies. But the number is surely small, as citywide data obtained by the Gazette shows that only about 1 percent of Boston’s adults have gun permits.

In 2012, a total of 5,723 gun permits of all types were active and valid for Boston residents, according to data provided by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The City’s population is more than 625,000.

The Boston Police Department is the agency that issues gun permits in Boston. BPD does not track gun permits by police districts, ZIP codes or neighborhoods, according to spokesperson Cheryl Fiandaca. So there is no way to know how many of those permits were issued to JP residents.

The names, addresses and other personal information of licensed Massachusetts gun owners are confidential under state law.

If the current gun permits were spread evenly around the city, about 310 JP residents would have them.

New gun control proposals, both local and national, are coming fast and furious in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Massachusetts already has some of the tightest gun laws in the country, and the state data shows that only a tiny minority of Bostonians are licensed to own guns.

The vast majority of gun permits active last year in Boston, totaling 4,839, were for the “Class A” license. That allows the possession and carrying of virtually any legal firearm, including so-called large-capacity weapons. “Large-capacity” means a handgun or rifle that can hold more than 10 rounds or a shotgun that can hold more than five rounds.

Only 28 permits were active for the “Class B” license, which allows possession and carrying of most guns, but only “non-large-capacity” handguns.

A total of 842 Firearm Identification Cards were active. Those allow the possession only of non-large-capacity rifles and shotguns.

Fourteen Bostonians were licensed to possess machine guns. Those weapons require significant federal licensing as well.

A total of 765 residents possessed active Firearm Identification Cards that are restricted so that, despite the card’s name, the owner can possess only chemical-based self-defense sprays such as Mace. The restricted card does not allow the holder to own or carry a gun.

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