Large-Capacity Gun Permits Soar in Waltham

See how many gun permits were issued in Waltham over the past five years.


The Beretta 92 pistol. The SPAS-12 shotgun.

These are examples of the types of large-capacity firearms for which permits have increased 24 percent in Waltham since 2008, according to state records. Ownership permits for smaller-capacity firearms have moderately fluctuated.

'Large-capacity' firearms are defined by the state of Massachusetts as semi-automatic handguns or rifles with the capacity of more than 10 ammunition rounds in their magazines and shotguns capable of having more than five shells.

The numbers have emerged as state and federal officials have recently proposed new gun restrictions, and imposed others, in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.


Since 2008, the number of gun permits issued to Waltham residents has increased for some types of firearms but remained relatively flat for others, as shown in the chart below and graph in the photo box to the right. 

Police departments in each Massachusetts community review and issue gun permits to anybody that applies and those statistics are forwarded to the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Patch obtained the records from the EOPSS.














Firearms ID Card






Firearms ID Card (Mace)






Class A, License to Carry Large-Capacity






Class B License to Carry, Non-Large-Capacity






License to Possess A Machine Gun








CLASS A LICENSE TO CARRY: A class A license allows a person to possess or carry all types of ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns and large and non-large-capacity magazines, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife website. Licensees are also allowed to carry their weapon, loaded or unloaded, while concealed.

Applicants must be 21 or older, pay a $100 fee and pass a firearms safety course or hunters course. However, police departments are allowed to impose restrictions on a class A license. The permit lasts for six years.

CLASS B LICENSE TO CARRY: A class B license allows individuals to have or carry non-large capacity rifles, shotguns (large and non-large capacity) and handguns, according to the DFW website. Licensees must be 21 or older, pay the $100 fee and pass either the firearms or hunters course. Class B applicants are not subject to police restrictions and the license is valid for six years.

FIREARMS IDENTIFICATION CARD: An FID card allows individuals to have or carry non-large capacity rifles, shotguns and ammo, but not handguns, according to the DFW website. Applicants must be 18 or older, pay a $100 fee and pass either the firearms or hunters course. Police have 40 days to issue a written response after an application is filed and denials must be issued in writing. Extra conditions cannot be imposed. Also, for a $25 fee, applicants between 15 and 17 may apply, with parental consent.

Gun owners are not required to retake the safety courses to renew their licenses, according to the state website.

LICENSE TO POSSESS A MACHINE GUN: Licenses to carry machine guns (any gun capable of rapid fire shots through one trigger squeeze) are not issued in Massachusetts. Only firearms instructors and gun collectors are allowed to apply for licenses to possess machine guns.

NON-RESIDENTS: Anybody who is not a resident of Massachusetts can legally carry a non-large capacity rifle or shotgun for hunting as long as they are permitted to carry those in their home state, according to the DFW website. Non-residents are prohibited from buying ammunition in Massachusetts.

LEGAL IMMIGRANTS: As of April 30, 2012, legal immigrants can apply for licenses to carry a firearm as well as a firearms identification card, according to the DFW website. 

APPEALS: Anybody denied a gun permit has the right to appeal, according to state law.


In addition to the license rules, Massachusetts has several other regulations, including: (source: Massachusetts state law).

  • Gun dealers are prohibited from selling assault weapons or large-capacity magazines (e.g. a detachable drum magazine) unless they were bought before Sept. 13, 1994. Examples of assault weapons banned: FN/FAL, Steyr-AUG, TEC-9, Uzis, and AR-15s.
  • Individuals convicted of felonies or misdemeanors that included at least a two-year jail sentence may not apply for a gun permit. Also, anybody convicted of prior gun or drug offenses or violent crimes is also prohibited.  
  • Individuals who have been sent to mental health hospitals are prohibited from owning guns unless a doctor issues permission.
  • Individuals who have been treated for substance abuse are barred from owning guns unless a doctor declared the person “cured.”
  • Also, anybody against whom restraining orders have been filed against are also prohibited from having guns.


In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed new rules on guns along with Pres. Barack Obama. Obama has also issued new rules through his executive order powers. 

New Proposed State Gun Rules (Press release from Patrick)

  • Abolishing high-power ammunition.
  • Requiring background checks be performed for gun sales done at gun shows.
  • A limit of one gun purchase per month.
  • Prohibiting anybody under 21 from buying a machine gun.
  • Sharing relevant mental health information with a state database, which would more easily help federal officials perform background checks on prospective gun buyers.
  • Also, Patrick proposed an additional $5 million for increased mental health services.
  • The bill, if passed, would create four new gun crimes, which prosecutors could use to put offenders who use a gun behind bars.
  • New authority would be given to police to arrest individuals without having a warrant if they encounter a dangerous situation.
  • The bill would also increase penalties for having a gun on school grounds.

Obama’s Proposed Gun Regulations (Source: Huffington Post)

New Gun Rules Imposed by Obama (Source: Huffington Post)

  • Modifying health care privacy laws to make more mental health information available for background checks.
  • Authority for police to do background checks before returning a gun seized from its owner.
  • Federal law enforcers must now trace the origins of any gun used in a crime.
  • Increased prosecution of gun crimes.
  • Clarification of the Obama’s health care law to say doctors are allowed to ask patients whether they have a gun in their home.

 What are your thoughts on the kind and number of gun permits issues in Waltham? Are you surprised at the jump in permit applications for large-capacity weapons? Let us know in the comments section below.

Catch Wity January 22, 2013 at 03:44 PM
I don't particularly like guns myself, in the wrong hands they can be dangerous & sometimes in the right hands they can be dangerous!! But what I do like is the Constitution and the rights that our forefathers fought to give us. Protect the 2nd amendment!!
TheHam January 22, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Thank you Barack, for scaring the crap out of everyone by threatening the 2nd amendment and forcing us all to arm ourselves to the nines .... try to take them away.
moe howard January 22, 2013 at 07:25 PM
That's what happens when a radical runs the country. Everyone should arm themselves because when the economy collapses (it will) you need to protect your family. 4 years of failure so let's re-elect him again.....
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) January 22, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Cairo Kid, You have 10 minutes to take the comment down for violating Patch Terms of Service or I will delete your comment. You are not allowed to call users names.
Cairo kid January 22, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Another College shooting today, in TX! Thanks GUN OWNERS!... AGAIN and AGAIN! GUN owners think they can protect their family with their puny weapons?..what a stupid xcuxe! Ever hear of the US ARMED forces?
WHSHawk January 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Is that chart of new applications? Or total residents with permits? Class B licenses carry too many oddities and you're better off with a class A even if you never intend to carry a concealed large capacity weapon. Many people get a class A for this reason.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) January 22, 2013 at 09:45 PM
WHSHawk, This chart is for ACTIVE permits. Not residents. Residents can have multiple permits.
Joan Garniss January 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM
WHY are there so many machine gun permits in Waltham? Who really needs a machine gun, I mean really! Or an assault rifle? What a paranoid collection of comments. More guns do NOT make you safer. They make if more likely it will be used on you or your family. Check out the number of gun suicides and assaults on family members. GEEZ! Astounded!
moe howard January 23, 2013 at 01:23 AM
See a shrink Cairo....u need it
Marie Daly January 23, 2013 at 02:01 AM
I worry that a kid, a thief, or an angry, disturbed person will get a hold of one of these guns, and they live in my neighborhood. Locking up guns won't do any good if kids get the keys.
Cairo kid January 23, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Moe: Speaking of shrinks....when 'the economy collapses' u gonna "protect" ur family with a machine gun, wy don't u move to TX or AK...full of UR type!
Cairo kid January 23, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Yeah Frosty: Come on over to my house, want to show u my collection of MACHINE GUNS!....EVERYBODY :) does it, in Waltham! :)
Alice H January 23, 2013 at 09:48 AM
Racism and stupidity rule here.
RRM January 23, 2013 at 02:35 PM
the shooting in texas was two gang bangers so before you blame gun owners get all the facts typical knee jerk reaction you tool.
RRM January 23, 2013 at 02:36 PM
you have to be an instructor or a collector in order to get a machine gun license they dont just give them to anyone like a pistol permit.
Keith L Hatfield January 23, 2013 at 10:56 PM
We have hundreds of homeless mentally ill wandering the streets of our fair city on any given day and they do not fit the typical profile of a mass muderer. We have minority kids with plenty of reason to feel let down by the rest of us and they really can't figure out what these crazy white school shooters are all about. So, think hard, how do we stop the next Jarred Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho, Adam Lanza or James Holmes? Gun-Free school zones, how's that working for the 65K of 90K schools that don't have armed guards or SROs? Outlaw Assault Rifles and 10+ round magazines, well the worst of this plague was Virginia Tech with 32 dead and 25 wounded in SEVEN MINUTES! This was done with two semiauto pistols and when one ran dry, the other went to work. With each having a round chambered and ten in the grip, that's twenty two dead before the magic moment when those remaining alive rise to stop the shooter. I'm still waiting for common sense gun control suggestions that will stop this madness and all I hear is last years' guesses that don't even address the problem at hand.
Keith L Hatfield January 23, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Here are some common sense gun control suggestions: 1. If you have a "challenged" male child, don't train them up as competitive 3 Gun shooter or" PREPPER" and think you've got everything well-in-hand. 2. Unlike the state of Virginia, if someone has two+ involuntary commitments, do forward their info to FBI/NICS so they will be listed as prohibited persons when they attempt to legally buy a gun. 3. If you don't have any budget for armed school guards or SROs, get some volunteers, armed or unarmed because it is not wise to delay any longer. Train them up. 4. Malls and big box stores can stop posting firearms prohibited warnings at their entrances, they make off-duty LEOs who don't know HR-218/LEOSA all that well feel nervous and they discourage concealed carry permit holders from shopping in your store for no good reason.
JohnnyMass January 24, 2013 at 04:40 AM
When are these liberal dorks going to go away? If thieves and angry, disturbed persons live in your neighborhood, what do you plan on doing when confronted inside your home in the middle of the night? Handing them a card with an outreach service number on it? Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six!
Aron Levy January 26, 2013 at 05:34 PM
'Liberal dorks.' That's really the best you can do. Your level of stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Some of us defend our houses without firearms. It's possible, you know! I guarantee you if you broke into my home and I whacked you in the side of the knee with my Louisville Slugger you wouldn't be going anywhere quickly. Get a life, loser.
JohnnyMass January 27, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Yeah, Aron-baseball bat outpowers a gun everytime! Who's a loser? The dork with the bat!
Steven Cavaretta January 27, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Johnny When was the last time you were confronted inside your home in the middle of the night by an angry disturbed person? Other than your companion when you stumbled in stoned.
Tina January 28, 2013 at 06:57 AM
All of the above comments scare me. We keep our doors locked, and the phone is near our bed. Remember 911?
Steven Cavaretta January 28, 2013 at 01:27 PM
You're watching way to much TV Snowman. You really think they're out there trying to get in? You don't have anything to steal worth all that effort.
SDK January 28, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I think Massachusetts has great gun laws -- there are restrictions and oversight but anyone who wants to exercise their Second Amendment rights can do so. (This is assuming that you agree with the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment rather than the NRA). We have safe storage laws that require people to maintain clear ownership, responsibility and control over their firearms. CT has no such law, which explains why a suburban woman was storing high-capacity weapons in her troubled son's bedroom. Safe storage is the only gun law that helps prevent mass shootings and accidental deaths. MA is one of the few states that registers all gun owners. In most states, it is not clear who is responsible for a gun -- did the shooter in CT have his mother's permission to use her guns? Anytime? That day? We don't ask those questions here. The licensed and registered owner is responsible for his or her firearm. Many people point out that criminals do not follow gun laws and of course, that's true. We have gun crime in MA despite our regulations. But we have far fewer crimes committed by friends and family members of legal gun owners. The only thing I would change is our convoluted LTC process. People seems to hate it and find it inconsistent. I think law enforcement should weigh in on how to improve the process while maintaining public safety.
Steven Cavaretta January 28, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Yo Frosty Nobody wants your PC AT, not even for a boat anchor. You're safe at home dude.
Keith L Hatfield February 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Can someone tell me what limiting gun purchases by licensed MA citizens to 12 per year/1 per month is supposed to do to stop mass shootings or inner-city gun violence? I listen to folk's answers and they immediately switch the subject to lax gun laws in surrounding states as the cause of the problem. So, we're gonna be a good role model for an adjascent state to follow??? Shame NH into beefing up their laws to MA standards??? A straw purchase in NH, VT, or ME is already a fellony, not because the Federal Straw Purchase laws are that strong, but because any firearm purchased out of state must have a MA eFA-10 submitted to our state FRB database. Oh, I now remember that a straw handgun purchase in NH, VT, or ME is not legal if it is transferred to anyone from another state to here by any means other than through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in MA, where the eventual recipient must execute an Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ATF-4473 and a MA eFA-10. If multiple firearms in the transaction then an ATF-3310 is required for 2 or more if they are purchased in a 5 day period and the MA eFA-10 for each one. MA can't detect multiple firearms (MA legalease for pistols or revolvers) in their computerized data collection, resulting database entries or administrative reports, great software guys! In 1998, MA residents submitted to having all their guns in a state-wide database, something the ATF can only dream of and we haven't ended gun crime in MA?
Steven Cavaretta February 04, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Can anyone tell me why the NRA has a hit list of 247 enemies? Included are: The AARP, American Nurses Assoc, Congress of National Black Churches, Int`l Ladies` Garment Workers` Union, National Council of Negro Women, National Council of Jewish Women, Union of American Hebrew Congregations Unitarian Universalist Association, United States Catholic Conference, United Methodist Church, General Board & Church Society, United Church of Christ, Office for Church in Society. Looks like it's open season on seniors, women, minorities and church goers. http://nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=15
TheHam March 28, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Totally agree. Alice H. You know nothing, as usual. Just throw out "racism" when a republican disagrees with you. YOUR stupidity is astounding.
TheHam March 28, 2013 at 08:54 PM
So if someone breaks into your home with the intent to kill your children- is that who you'd call? US ARMED forces? What's their average ETA? 2 hours?


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