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Monday, December 31, 2012


The tragic events that took place in 2012 have rekindled a national debate concerning gun control, firearm permit restriction, and mental health. Mass shootings took place all over the country, from Aurora, Colorado to Chardon, Ohio, to Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

In the wake of a tumultuous year of the firearm, GoLocalWorcester investigated gun permit figures in Central Massachusetts and discovered some astonishing trends.

All cities and towns in Central Mass saw increases in gun permits over the past four years. No town experienced a greater jump than Brimfield, whose permits skyrocketed 892% while Ashby, Dudley and Hubbardstown all experienced increases in the 300% range. While Worcester had the highest number of permits, the overall figure increased 69% over the four-year period, one of the lowest increases in the region.

A number of explanations have been offered to explain this phenomenon. Many local activists and firearm experts suggested that fear of potential gun regulation at the hand of the federal or state government have played a significant role in the rising number of permits. Those wanting to start or add to their firearm collections seem to be planning ahead, concerned that more restrictive gun legislation might be inevitable.

 In addition to gun permits, ammunition was a hot commodity at times in 2012. Following the Sandy Hook shooting that left 26 dead, GoLocalWorcester learned that .223 ammunition, which can be used in semi-automatic weapons, was flying off the shelves in Central Mass. In late December, seven of the nine stores we spoke with were completely or nearly sold out of the ammunition, blowing traditional holiday sale trends out of the water. Store employees reported customers were hoarding cartridges and panicking whenever President Obama addressed the situation on national television.


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