TAUNTON — City residents may soon not need their Constitutional right to bear arms — not because the law has changed, but because the police department has stopped issuing gun licenses.
Police Chief Raymond OêBerg said yesterday that due to budget cuts and lack of staffing, he has imposed a moratorium on new firearm licenses.
The department is now four months behind in processing permit applications, and OêBerg said the clerks in his office will not accept new applications until they clear the backlog.
The chief said that due to the cityês fiscal crisis, he lost one of the clerks in his office. The office now has two full-time clerks and one part-time clerk, whereas decades ago previous chiefs had four full-time clerks, he said.
“Services are being cut. Weêre unable to provide the services we have been,” OêBerg said.
The moratorium went into effect July 1. In the meantime, people whose gun licenses are about to expire will be left in a lurch.
“They will have to transfer their guns over to someone who has a license,” the chief said. “I didnêt want to do it.”