Monday, December 21, 2009

Guns permits surge in Massachusetts

From the Boston Globe:
The number of gun permits issued in Massachusetts surged by more than 15 percent over the past two years, reversing nearly a decade of steady declines and marking a pronounced departure for a state known for its antigun sentiment.

The magnitude of the rise, evident in nearly every corner of the state, surprised law enforcement officials, and gun advocates and opponents alike.

Some saw it as an echo of similar spikes across the country after President Obama’s election, when heavy gun sales were attributed to fears that he would impose strict new gun laws. But with more women and elderly residents signing up for gun classes in Massachusetts, many said the increase here has also been driven by worries about crime and a growing sense of vulnerability in the wake of the financial collapse and lingering fallout of the damaged economy.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,’’ said Mike Burchman, who teaches gun courses in Hop kinton, where the number of permits rose 25 percent. “There’s a general insecurity, and people are looking for personal protection. In the past two years, I’ve seen a real shift.’’

The increase in Class A permits - the largest and broadest category of gun license - amounted to a jump of more than 28,000 statewide to about 224,000 as of last month, according to data provided by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

The number had previously been dropping, from about 239,000 in 2001 to 192,000 in 2007. Class A permits, commonly called “a license to carry,’’ are the only permits that allow individuals to carry concealed guns and own all types of legal firearms.

Among those who recently got a permit was Ryan Fairbanks, a 23-year-old National Guardsman from Haverhill. Guns were anathema in his childhood home, he said, but a few weeks ago he got a permit and bought a gun to protect himself.


Law enforcement officials said that, while the sharp increase in permits is unexpected, it does not portend any increase in gun violence.

“We’re concerned about criminals with guns, not law-abiding citizens,’’ said John A. Grossman, undersecretary of forensic science and technology for the state Office of Public Safety and Security. “It’s the illegal gun trafficking we’re really focused on.’’

Police chiefs and district attorneys echoed that, saying they see few crimes committed with legally licensed firearms. ...

Read it here. Even in Massachusetts, a state overrun with anti-gun liberals, ordinary folks can see the writing on the wall.

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