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With non-fatal shootings on the rise in Boston this year, public safety officials are reaching out to the city's legal firearm owners in the hopes of cutting down on the number of guns that end up with criminals.
"Police serve an important role in reducing gun crime, but more can be done with your help," a letter from the Boston Police Department and addressed to firearm owners states.
Police are offering free gun locks and are reminding firearm owners of information on how to report a gun sale, loss or theft; information on how to turn in a firearm, if so desired; and advice on proper weapon storage.
"Without better enforcement and education, we're letting things slip through the cracks and legally purchased firearms are falling into the hands of criminals," Commissioner William Evans said in a statement.
The statement cited a recent study that found that 32 percent of traceable handguns that Boston police recovered from 2007 to 2013 were originally purchased from a licensed Massachusetts dealer. And of the Massachusetts-sourced firearms, "almost 85 percent of them were recovered from someone other than the original, legal purchaser." Sixty-three percent "had not been reported as transferred or sold to the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau, even though such [transfer reports] are required by law," the city statement said. And just 11 percent of the Massachusetts-sourced guns were reported lost or stolen.
"It is imperative that legal gun owners know about the [state's Firearms Records Bureau's online reporting system], and utilize it, so law enforcement can better trace crime guns and continue to find where illegal guns are coming from," the statement said.
Though non-fatal shootings are up in Boston, homicides are down when compared with the same period in 2014.
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