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Boston launches online guide to gun ownership

The guide was unveiled at the New England Gun Summit on Thursday.
Boston has a comprehensive online guide about gun ownership in the city. Photo: Getty Images

What do you need to know about owning a firearm in Boston? There’s a lot of things to be aware of, but if you’re interested, the city has you covered.

Boston launched a web-based guide to gun ownership in the city this week as part of a new initiative unveiled at Thursday’s New England Regional Gun Summit.

The online guide is a way to “proactively engage legal gun owners as partners in public safety efforts,” the city said in a statement. It has information on how to get and keep a firearms identification card and license to carry as well on details how first-time applicants can complete a Massachusetts Certified Firearms Safety Course or a Basic Hunter Education Course in order to fulfill training requirements.

The Boston initiative was announced alongside three other pilot programs in Burlington, Vermont; Hartford, Connecticut; and Worcester, Massachusetts. Representatives from each city were in Boston on Thursday for the summit.

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Burlington’s effort will focus on bringing together law enforcement leaders to share gun trace data; Hartford’s will address an increase in gun thefts through “proactive outreach” to pistol permit holders and more research into prevention programs; and Worcester’s will have law enforcement, gun dealers and the medical community come together to work with gun owners who are facing a mental health or addiction crisis in their home.

Funding from The Boston Foundation is allowing Arms With Ethics — an organization that works with police, gun dealers, gun owners and more to collaborate on projects with the goal of making communities safer — to lead these initiatives.

The aim, according to Boston, is to develop “city-specific concepts focused on preventing gun theft, the illegal flow of guns, and unintended access to guns.”

"We know that in Boston and throughout New England, one illegal gun is too many. Together, we will continue to make progress on taking illegal guns off our streets, making each and every city and town safer," Mayor Walsh said in a statement. "This summit reflected our shared determination to turn regional dialogues into action, and we will keep working with our partners to end gun violence in our neighborhoods."

In total, representatives from more than 20 New England cities attended the summit in Roxbury. This was the fourth annual New England Gun Summit and the third hosted by Walsh in Boston (last year’s was in Providence, Rhode Island).

The online guide also has reminders for who to inform of a change of address when you are a gun owner, what are the carry restrictions in Boston, and how to safely store, transport or sell your firearms.

According to data released earlier this year, Massachusetts had the lowest gun death rate in the country in 2015, which advocacy groups said was a result of the commonwealth’s tough gun laws.

There were 213 gun deaths here in 2015, or 3.13 per 100,000 residents, the Boston Globe reported. In contrast, Alaska had 23.97 per 100,000 residents.

 
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