November 22, 2017

Gun Control Discussion: Wellesley’s Police Chief consulted by Obama

Matt Lieberman ’16

Staff Writer

Wellesley Chief of Police Terrence Cunningham candidly met with President Barack
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at The White House to discuss gun control laws in late January.

Cunningham was chosen to represent American law enforcement because he is the vice
president of the IACP, the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “The president
was looking for support from the law enforcement community,” said Cunningham.

Gun violence is an “extremely serious topic that is emotionally charged on both sides
of the issue. It was clear that we were there to conduct business and not for a photo
opportunity,” says Cunningham.

In the meeting, Obama unveiled his “gun violence reduction plan,” says Cunningham.
A part of Obama’s plan is to increase the number of officers on the street, as well as
the number of school resource officers in public schools. “There are a number of other
components of the presidents proposal that are common sense; stopping straw purchases,
and closing the gun show loopholes,” said Cunningham.

According to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, 576 Wellesley residents
possess a Class A license to carry large capacity firearms. The Massachusetts Division
of Fisheries and Wildlife website says that “a Class A license allows a person to possess
or carry all types of ammunitions, handguns, rifles, shotguns and large and non large-
capacity magazines.” In addition, 107 Wellesley residents possess a Firearms ID card,
allowing them to “have or carry non-large capacity rifles, shotguns (large and non-large
capacity) and handguns.” “The Wellesley Police Department takes its responsibility
as the firearms licensing agent seriously, as such we license in a very fair, balanced
manner,” said Cunningham.

Many Americans are worried that with more gun control laws, their Second Amendment
rights will be suppressed. Brian Baker ’16 says he “the right to bear arms makes sense
but there should be checks every 2 years and more intense background checks to begin
with.” Cunningham says that we can prevent gun violence “without trampling on a
citizens second amendment rights. It is important to recognize that 99.9% of gun owners
are good law abiding citizens.”

According to research done by The Guardian, a British national newspaper, each year,
firearms kill more than 30,000 Americans. In 2011, guns killed 122 people in the state
of Massachusetts alone. In the future, Cunningham hopes to “do a much better job of
tracking individuals that should not possess firearms due to mental illness, alcohol or
drug addiction.”

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