Boston police report seizing more than 500 illegal guns in 2012, including several of type used in Newtown, Conn., massacre

Boston Police Deputy Superintendent William Gross talks about some of the 500 firearms seized by the department this year.
Boston Police Deputy Superintendent William Gross talks about some of the 500 firearms seized by the department this year. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Boston police say they’ve seized more than 500 illegal guns from the city’s streets so far this year, including several like those used in recent mass shootings, including the Newtown, Conn., school massacre on Friday.

Four Bushmaster assault rifles, eight Glock handguns, and three Sig Sauer handguns — weapons similar to those used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — were seized, officials said.

At a press conference at Boston police headquarters this afternoon, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said there is a need for “common-sense laws’’ to prevent tragedies like Newtown in the future.

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“These types of weapons have only one purpose – to kill a large number of people quickly,’’ said Davis. “They have no place in our communities.”

Davis said ownership of firearms must be closely monitored and that there must be thorough background checks before people are given permissions to buy and own firearms.

“People have a right to own weapons. I’ve had a license to own a firearm since I was 16 years old,’’ Davis said. He said people who pass background checks and “do the things that are just common sense. ... Those people have a right to have guns.’’

But he added, “This is a completely unregulated industry. There are no safeguards on this right now, and there need to be. We need to have common sense laws so a tragedy like Connecticut doesn’t happen again.’’

Also today, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chairmen of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, joined more than 750 other mayors to call for President Obama to lead common sense reforms to the nation’s gun laws.

“As mayors, we are charged with keeping our communities safe. But too many of us have sat with mothers and fathers of children killed with guns,” the mayors in the coalition wrote in a letter to President Obama.

“Together we urge you to put forward an agenda that is rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them,” the letter said.

The letter made numerous suggestions, including requiring every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

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