How Many Swampscott Residents Have Gun Permits?

President Barack Obama's proposals for new gun control measures have everyone talking. But do you know how many of your neighbors might be armed?


In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Barack Obama has made several new proposals for increased gun control.

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

The answer: 593, if you're talking about the most common type of gun license. In bureaucratic-speak, that's the "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 593 person figure in context, Swampscott's population is 13,787 according to the 2010 Census. That means about 4.3 percent of Swampscott residents have the most common type of gun license.

Since 2008, the number of people with a gun license in town has risen by 161 people. The single biggest increase came between 2011 and 2012, when an additional 59 people got licenses.

The second largest spike 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.

Here is a chart of active "Class A" gun license holders in Swampscott since 2008, according to the State Office of Public Safety.

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Trend (08 to 12) Class A Licenses 432 478 506 534 593 Up by 161 people

And here's something you might not know: There are two people in Swampscott licensed to own a machine gun. 

If you are interested in getting a gun permit, you must make an appointment with Swampscott police. 

NaemhOisin January 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM
with the rash of home invasions and car break-ins this town is enduring, nobody has been shot--in light of that, why was this article necessary? the recent SPD take-down of an armed man was in posession of a toy gun--the last take down i can remember was a student carrying a cell phone--not bashing the police dept here by any stretch-i have respect for each of them and the risks they take every day. Those risks are not imposed by law abiding citizens interested in self-protection and i would view those with permits/guns as a first line of defense which maybe, just maybe would save the life of a police officer. why is that never part of the conversation?
Laura Smith January 18, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Terry and Chris, Thank you for posting this story. When my children were young enough to have "playdates," I often wondered how to broach the subject about whether their new friends' families owned guns. It is a public safety issue. Good journalism! However, we can really get at the info we need, which is who owns those machine guns-- or concealed weapons. Currently there is a law against such a public registry, and also laws against the regulation of firearms and ammunition. In the interest of self defense, such a registry is reasonable and warranted. In addition, I believe guns and ammo should be taxed like cigarettes and other public health dangers to change perception and behavior. Did you know that the U.S. spends $20 billion a year on emergency room and hospital treatment for gun shot wounds? And 80 percent of victims are uninsured, which means we're all paying that tab. This travesty is a chronic health care crisis and economic problem that does not need to exist. The total cost for gun violence in the U.S. is about $170 billion per year, with most of that resulting from deaths, which put into motion a costly series of civic responses, from ambulances to judges and juries. As for the previous writer's comments, police do carry guns for self-protection. Your story was not about banning guns, but about revealing who owns them, and the public has a right to know.
Laura Smith January 18, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Typo alert! In the second paragraph, I meant to say we CAN'T get at the info we need. Thanks!
Evan January 18, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Laura, I see that you do not believe in the Constitution, nor other peoples privacy, nor are you aware that criminals will ALWAYS have firearms. (No matter what laws there are). You no more have a right to know someones personal (legal and constitutional) business than they do about yours. You should be more afraid of the high power cameras showing up on every street light in this arising police state. This article plays right into the sensationalism of the day to keep peoples minds off the real stories that are besieging us.
Buzz January 18, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Laura, Are you aware there has ALREADY been a theft of guns from one of those gun owners in NY who had their addresses published? Do we really want to advise criminals of who is armed, and who isn't ? Not a good idea.
Buzz January 18, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I am glad that Mass. has more sense then to publish this data. Amen!
Citizen Swamp January 18, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Laura, Your point being? These incidents for the most part are violent acts committed by uninsured people, what makes you think they will follow a new set of rules? CS
Sandie Bock January 18, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Good Lord, I am glad there are lots of gun owners in Swampscott, it may stop some of the boneheads doing home breakins. Anyone who goes into the woods hunting with an Assault Weapon is seen as a moron by the other hunters!! I see NO reason for a civilian to have an assault weapon, NONE! AND why do people in Swampscott have Machine Guns? OF what utility is a machine gun in Swampscott? BUT right now there is no law against it. What Obama is trying to do is to outlaw the ownership of assault weapons which include machine guns. Those who own them will own very expensive paperweights because they will be illegal to own. Small gauge shot gun for home protection sounds like a good idea until you realize that IF she shoot it, you could be blowing out the wall in your home and could injure someone on the outside of the house innocently. The gun stores are OUT OF GUNS, it has been like "the Run of the Brides at Filenes Basement at the gun stores. The gun manufacturers cannot keep up with supplying the stores. This says something, PEOPLE ARE SCARED so they are buying any gun available. I would like to see that a person PROVES they can handle the gun they are buying BEFORE they are allowed to buy it!
Lenny January 18, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Easier to prove a positive rather than a negative, especially if there is “data” available, but the accuracy of data can be doubtful. Statistics can be twisted to promote a favored position, and I think the $170 billion cost is probably a bit dubious. What can't be calculated is the cost to society of not having legally registered guns. How many armored trucks robberies, home break ins, violent assaults, etc would there be if only criminals had the guns, or simply used knives & baseball bats in their commission of crimes because law abiding citizens lacked the means to defend themselves? The UK may have only had 35 gun related deaths last year, but violent crime in the UK is 4 times the rate as it is in the US. In arranging playdates, I’m more worried about parents possibly abusing drugs, or drinking while my child is there, or leaving children unsupervised outside. Those parents pose a greater danger, not the legally licensed gun owner who locks it in a safe. Its a fact that the overwhelming majority of legal gun owners are responsible people who maintain safe environments. It’s children who live with substance abusing parents, or who live in crime ridden neighborhoods rife with drug related gang violence, that are at risk. Just ask the scores of Chicago parents who lost children over the past year to violence, if the problem has been legal guns or illegal ones. Gun control advocates are chasing the wrong problem and the wrong people.
Steve Marino January 18, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Far more spent on auto accidents, so lets ban cars and trucks! Although I do not own a gun, I think those that do,should get a tax credit for preventing costly robberies and stopping criminals from home invasions! Think of all the lives saved! I bet all those that owned a business in Cuba prior to the communist Castro overthrow wish they owned automatic weapons, just saying!
Restless January 18, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Possession of a LTC does not mean you own a gun.
Evan January 18, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Breaking: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Fnew_york&id=8958116
Adam Forest January 18, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Laura, I think you do not know what a "right" is. The public does not have a right to know who owns guns, not matter how passionate your irrational argument is, that is not a right. You do have the right to free speech, which allows you to make comments like you have, but you do not have a right to know what anyone is saying at the same time. You may have the right to get court documents of testimony, or other events where people's right to free speech was being recorded, but I do not have the right to force your hair dresser to tell me when the first time you said you wanted your hair done like Richard Simmons. It is a right to own guns, not your right to know who exercises their rights.
Buzz January 18, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Who's Walther in the photo? Terry?
Mark Cathro January 18, 2013 at 11:15 PM
So a woman's right to privacy protects what she can do with her body, but no such right pertains to *how* she protects her body? Lets not even get into the fact when (not if) such a registry is hacked crooks will know who has guns they can steel and who doesn't have one to protect them.
Terry Date (Editor) January 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM
It was an illegal gun taken by the Tewksbury Police Department, Buzz. A Patch file photo. Here's the story it came from http://patch.com/A-fPDC
Sandie Bock January 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM
You can have a gun today and sell it tomorrow. HOW are they going to prevent mentally ill from buying or owning a gun. Guys and women coming back from Afghanistand and Iraq with PTSD getting disability for PTSD, are mentally ill according to the codes that hospitals use for billing etc so all those with PTSD will be prevened from owning a gun! Some of them should be prevented from owning a gun, some of them are very,m very angry and depressed and those people should not own a gun but should all depressed people, mentally ill be prevented from gun ownership? AND what of privacy of medical records which is a Federal Law, HIPPA. On top of that there is a rule that keeps mental health records separate from medical records. How is this going to be inaugurated? It is all hot air on Obama's part!
Lenny January 19, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Sandie, I understand your concerns, but there are ways to address them. Firstly, when you purchase and register a gun, a person voluntarily opens up his or her medical records for review. That happens in many areas of life. Becoming a police officer, joining the military, becoming a teacher or daycare worker. As far as private guns sales.....well that can be addressed the same way that private sale of cars are handled. In other words it would be a like a title transfer of the gun. The seller could only be released from responsibility for the licensed gun once the buyer is licensed by the local police department to take on the license for the gun. I might be pro-second amendment, but I think the gun show loopholes and the private sales need to be brought under the same rules for background checks and registration that gun shop owners comply with, and i think there is an appetite for tightening those laws amongst the vast majority of Americans. As far as the soldiers returning with PTSD, I don't think history has shown those issues to evolve into psychotic behavior. Depression, suicide yes...but random murder, no. In WW1 it was called shell shock. Returning soldiers with brain injuries and mental disorders have been with us for a long time. Our real worry has and will always be the criminal with the unlicensed gun, and rarely the citizen or returning soldier with the licensed one
David Gustavsen January 19, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Just because someone has a license to carry a firearm or a license to own a machine gun does not mean that they own one. It is the ones who buy a gun unlicensed who you have to look out for. They are the ones doing the shooting. Tighten the loop holes on buying so the unlicensed can,t get there hands on a gun.


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