In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, concerns have been raised about the widespread availability of guns in the United States, a country that experiences an unusually high amount of gun violence compared to other developed nations.
Even in Massachusetts, a state that has long been a leader in gun regulation, there are more federally-licensed gun dealers than cities and towns.
Data from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows that as of last month there were 389 licensed gun dealers across the state’s 351 cities and towns.
There were no gun dealers in 153 cities and towns in the state. Other communities had multiple locations.
The city of Springfield led in terms of the number of licensed gun dealers with 8, while there were 7 in neighboring Agawam. Major firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson is based in Springfield.
The figures do not include 196 federally-licensed manufacturers and importers of firearms, ammunition, or other “destructive devices” in Massachusetts. Licensed importers and manufacturers may also deal equipment they make or import without a separate license.
The website FlowingData.com this week used data from the federal agency to produce a series of maps showing many places in the United States where licensed gun dealers outnumber burger, pizza, and coffee shops combined.
Nationally, gun sales have skyrocketed in recent years.
Last year, more than 23 million firearm background checks were processed nationwide, the highest total since the background check system began in 1998, and 64 percent higher than the 14.3 million background checks processed in 2010, federal data shows.
In Massachusetts, tens of thousands of new gun licenses were issued in 2015, continuing a recent surge, the Globe reported in January.
Matt Rocheleau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele