You might thank that in a severely gun rights-challenged state like Massachusetts, citizens who jump through the hoops necessary to obtain a permission slip to carry a concealed handgun would be few and very far between. And while the state’s onerous laws certainly take their toll (Indiana, a state with about the same population has almost twice the number of active permits), Bay State gun owners aren’t doing too badly, all things considered.
Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Second Amendment sends the following info:
We thought we’d share some of the insight gained from firearms licensing data provided to Comm2A under the Commonwealth’s public records law. The ever-increasing number of Massachusetts gun owners stands in contrast to the claims of gun control advocates that fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns.
As of January 8, 2018, there were 421,010 active firearms licenses in Massachusetts. Just over 92% of these licenses are Class A licenses to carry. FID cards make up about 7% of the overall number and the now obsolete Class B license to carry is about .5% of the total. Although gun control legislation in 2014 eliminated the Class B LTC, the town of Hubbardston managed to issue a single Class B LTC in 2017.
LTC/A LTC/B FID Total 387,873 1,964 31,173 421,010 92% 0% 7% 100%
The issuing of new and renewal license continues at a healthy pace, often despite the less-than customer friendly approach of many licensing authorities.
Licenses Issued by Year (New & Renewal)
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total LTC/A 101,015 61,273 40,430 67,655 72,346 342,719 LTC/B 1,091 487 7 0 1 1,586 FID 7,587 6,025 3,187 3,970 4,545 25,314 Total 109,693 67,785 43,624 71,625 76,892 369,619
Restricted LTCs continue to be a contentious issue for many gun owners living in just a few cities and towns. The overwhelming majority of LTCs are issued “Restrictions: None” allowing the license holder to carry a loaded, concealed gun in public. Compared to most other states, it’s very hard to become a gun owner in Massachusetts. However, unlike other restrictive states like New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, etc., once a Massachusetts resident is able to own a gun, they’re able to carry it.
Of the 76,892 LTCs issued in 2017, first time license holders were restricted at rate of 8.8% and individual renewing LTCs were restricted at a rate of just 2.2%. Towns like Watertown and Winchester which are known for their policies of restricting virtually all non-law enforcement license holders, restrict renewal licenses and a much lower rate than they apply to new license.
We’re unable to separate licenses issued to law enforcement personnel from those issued to members of the public at large. This is probably not a significant distinction in most of the state. However, in a city like Boston with very low rates of firearms ownership and a large police force, it’s safe to assume that a large number of the unrestricted LTCs issued by the Boston Police Department are issued to police officers.
The complete town-by-town breakdown of LTCs issued in 2017 can be found here: 2017 LTC Scorecard.