If you want to get a gun permit in this Massachusetts town you better make sure your writing skills are up to par.
A new firearm policy in Lowell, MA will require residents to write an essay before they are allowed to obtain a gun permit.
A gun-safety course is already required before anyone obtains a license to carry a gun, but the new policy on writing formal essays before obtaining an unrestricted gun license has residents making complaints with their local government.
The essay must include an explanation as to why they should receive the license and other documents must include any service history like working in the military or police force. Signed letters of recommendation must also be submitted.
According to Lowellsun.com,
Critics who spoke Tuesday, and who’ve blasted the policy before, made one last attempt at persuading Police Superintendent William Taylor to make it less onerous on applicants.
“I will never write an essay to get my rights as an American citizen,” resident Dan Gannon said.
Taylor did agree to work with one resident, a trained firearms-safety instructor, to help shape a training course applicants will be required to take. The trainer, Randy Breton, strongly criticized Taylor moments earlier for what he said was intentionally expensive training to dissuade anyone from applying for a gun permit.
“It’s beyond ridiculous,” Breton said of courses he looked into. One costs $1,100 over five days, and another doesn’t offer any sessions through the rest of the year in Massachusetts.
Councilor Rita Mercier shared frustration aired by the advocates, saying she was “very disappointed” Taylor and the residents couldn’t reach agreement after meeting last November.
“I don’t feel that we’ve reached common ground,” she said.
The city reportedly listened to resident’s complaints but still justified the new policy, giving them more arbitrary power to reject or accept applicants.
City Manager Kevin Murphy, who helped mediate the meeting between Taylor and residents, said Tuesday that the city listened to residents’ concerns. Lowell’s policy is less strict than those in many of the state’s largest cities, he said, and allows the police to look closer at each applicant individually.
“We’re no longer taking a cookie-cutter approach to issuing firearms licenses,” he said.
According to Taylor, Lowell has about 6,000 licenses-to-carry issued. The “vast majority,” he said, are restricted, which do not allow residents to openly carry guns.
A Sun review last year of state firearms data found Lowell to be among the lowest four-fifths of similar Massachusetts cities in terms of the per-capita rate at which it grants permits.
If this new policy remains you can look for Lowell to be among the very lowest in terms of gun permit grants, or some gun owners may just choose to move out of town.