Public officials from President Obama to Governor Deval Patrick to local state representatives are stepping forward to offer new proposals aimed at curbing gun violence these days. To gain some local perspective, this website checked in with Lynnfield Chief of Police David Breen and Wakefield Chief of Police Rick Smith.
The president’s gun control proposals include things like background checks, a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips, and a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban that expired a few years ago.
Chief Breen said that he had not fully reviewed the gun control proposals from the White House, but he expressed support for the assault weapons ban and also noted that the current proposals can only do so much.
“I think most people in law enforcement feel that there should be some legislative restrictions on this type of weapon,” said the Lynnfield Chief. “That being said, because of the manner in which the weapons were obtained, these laws if enacted already would not have deterred the Newtown shootings.”
Firearms Info For Lynnfield
The chief also replied to an inquiry from Lynnfield Patch about the number of gun permits in town. There are reportedly 579 active licenses to carry (LTC) in the town, and 104 active Firearms Identification Cards.
In 2011, Lynnfield reportedly issued 144 LTC cards and 34 Firearms ID cards. In 2012, that figure came in at 119 LTC cards and 15 firearms ID cards.
In a separate interview Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith emphasized that one of the most important approaches to gun violence is the issue of mental illness. He reported that local police can only see if a gun applicant spent time in a state psychiatric facility – not a private or out of state one.
In the interview, Smith also said that the current gun control proposals in the news would not have prevented the Newtown shootings, largely because of the killer’s utter determination to commit mass murder.
In Lynnfield, Breen concurred with his Wakefield colleague.
“I agree with Chief Smith,” said Breen. “I believe there needs to be better information sharing between states. However, that probably wont happen unless there is a federal mandate because each state has vastly different laws regarding gun ownership.”