Since 2008, the Belmont Police Department has seen a steady increase in residents coming to Police Headquarters requesting and being issued a state license to own and carry a variety of handguns and rifles.
In the past five years, the number of Class A licenses issued in Belmont, which permits the purchase, possession and carrying of all ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns and both large and non-large capacity feeding "clips", has jumped by 26 percent as currently 453 residents hold this permit.
Belmont is not alone to see an increase in licenses issued; neighboring Arlington as seen a third more permits issued in the past five years with 826 Class A license holders in town.
The Class A license is the only permit that allows a resident to carry a loaded or unloaded concealed handgun.
Under current state law, state residents who are 15 years and older who wish to possess, carry, transport firearms, ammunition and feeding devices are required to have a firearms license which are issued by the local police department.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a number of efforts Wednesday aimed at curbing gun violence in the United States.
Massachusetts is home to some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, with local members of Congress urging the federal government do more to prevent tragedies like that in Newtown, Conn.
The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security provided Patch with a summary of active firearms licenses in Belmont from 2008 through 2012:Permit 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Firearms Identification Card 63 68 64 55 63 Firearms Identification Card Restricted Chemical Propellant Only 38 46 45 44 38 Resident Class A Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms 360 399 419 444 453 Resident Class B Non-Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms 19 21 23 23 19 Resident License to Possess a Machine Gun 8 8 7 7 7 Total 488 542 558 573 580
More information on the kinds of firearms permits available in Massachusetts can be found here.