“That needs to be fixed,” said John Rosenthal, founder and president of Stop Handgun Violence.
Rosenthal said the surge in gun licenses is the result of a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by stricter regulation.
“Bottom line is these are very high-powered, semiautomatic weapons that can fire a huge number of shots in a very short period of time,” Linsky said. “In my mind, that type of weapon has no legitimate use in a civilized society.”
Some gun owners agree.
Russell Reeves of Hingham owns three guns that he bought after a high-profile deadly home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., in 2007. Reeves, whose military commander father taught him about gun safety, said he keeps his guns locked away and only uses them for target practice. On his way in to Hunter’s Trading Post in Weymouth Wednesday to look for 12-gauge dud shells for practice, he said the Newtown massacre was tragic and that he would favor an assault weapons ban.
“Why would anybody in this country need an assault rifle? I mean the definition of assault rifle is insulting to me,” Reeves said. “There’s just too many weapons out there today.”
A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said the overwhelming majority of shootings and homicides in Boston during the past five years were committed with illegally possessed firearms, not licensed weapons.
“Keeping those weapons out of the hands of violent offenders has to be a priority at the local, state, and federal levels,” said Jake Wark, the spokesman.
Mike Sheppard, owner and manager of North Shore Firearms in Middleton, predicted a modest increase in gun purchases after Newtown, but said the state’s gun control laws could not get much stricter.
“I don’t think they can do anything else to us here,” he said.