Boston bombing suspects did not have valid gun licenses

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The two brothers suspected in bombing the Boston Marathon were not permitted to own handguns in the area they lived, authorities said Sunday.

In the confrontation with police early Friday on the streets of a Boston suburb, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were armed with handguns and exchanged gunfire with officers. But it appears that neither of the brothers had obtained the firearms legally, Reuters reported.

Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in the shootout with police, would have been required to apply for a gun license where he lived in Cambridge, but there is no record of him having done so, according to Cambridge Police Department spokesman Dan Riviello.

“There is no record of him having a license to carry,” Mr. Riviello told Reuters.

Tsarnaev’s younger brother Dzhokhar, 19, who was captured alive Friday, would have been too young to get a handgun license.

Last week, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill to expand background checks. The development in the Tsarnaev case may add to the national debate regarding background checks for firearm purchases, which critics contend would be useless since criminals would never submit to such a check.

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