Guns licenses jump by 66% in Massachusetts

MAP: See Gun Totals by City Below

CHARLEMONT, Mass. (WWLP) – As the debate over gun laws continues, more and more people in Massachusetts are getting their gun license. The 22News I-Team discovered the amount of licenses in the state has grown by more than 65 percent since 2010.

The reasons vary, we hear protection, the fear of new laws, sport or just fun. In our investigation, we found it’s not just men who are carrying firearms anymore.

The number of legal gun owners in Massachusetts is growing. The 22News I-Team obtained and analyzed state data showing how many people have a license to carry from 2009 to September 2015. .

378,642 people or one in every 14 adults has a gun license in Massachusetts. Up from 227,612 in 2010. A 66% increase.

A license to carry permits the purchase, possession, transportation and carrying of all large and non-large-capacity handguns, rifles, shotguns and feeding devices a well as ammunition. This is the only license that allows the carrying of concealed handguns-either loaded or unloaded.

Another 38,666 residents have a FID card, which permits the purchase, possession and transportation of non-large-capacity rifles, shotguns and ammunition.

Credit: Rich Legg/Thinkstock
Credit: Rich Legg/Thinkstock

When the 22News I-Team examined the numbers, we discovered the amount of women getting firearms licenses was rising

(When did you start to notice a rise in women getting gun licenses?)
“Within the last few years there’s been a significant rise in the last 3-4 years,” said Denise Arcieri, a NRA certified instructor.

We met her at the Overwatch Outpost in Charlemont.

“After a long day at the office there’s nothing more fun than meeting with up with a bunch of girls at the range and letting off some steam,” said Arcieri.

In the entire state, Springfield has the highest number of women with firearms licenses (1,142)

Per person, Westfield had the largest spike in women obtaining gun licenses (883).  Westfield is the 32nd largest city in the state, yet has the 6th most women with gun licenses.

“You’re right the numbers have increased dramatically,” said Westfield Police Chief John Camerota.  He issues the firearms licenses in their city.

(Is their any specific reason why?)

“The main reason is they’re concerned for their safety and they want to be able to do something if they’re in a position where their live was threatened,” said Chief Camerota.

At a shooting range in Leyden, Arcieri stresses safety and practicing at least 30 minutes a week. In Massachusetts, you can get a license to carry a gun without ever shooting one.

(For a license how many hours do you have to put in?)

“For training, it’s a minimum four hour safety class that you have to take,” said Arcieri.

(Is four hours enough?)

“In Massachusetts they do not require live fire, they only require classroom, they don’t require live fire training there are other states that require that you demonstrate proficiency with a firearm… that’s not a bad thing,” said Arcieri.

Arcieri told the I-Team she believes it’s everyone’s right to own a firearm, but everyone should be safe.

See the number of gun licenses and FID cards by community in Massachusetts: 

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