TEL AVIV – Israel is set to significantly ease its regulations on gun licenses, a move that would see around 40,000 more Israelis acquire a firearm according to Public Security Ministry estimates.
Any Israeli who completes level 07 rifle training in the military, which includes all infantry units, is now eligible to apply for a gun license.
The new regulations were pushed by the Knesset’s Gun Lobby head Likud MK Amir Ohana.
“A civilian carrying a weapon is more of a solution than a threat, and doubles as assistance for the security forces,” Ohana told Haaretz, noting that “in 11 attacks in just the Jerusalem area, they neutralized the threat.”
“Sending the citizens of Israel to protect themselves with pizza trays, selfie sticks, guitars and umbrellas is a crime of the state against its citizens. A law abiding citizen, who has the basic skill required, is entitled to be able to defend himself and his surroundings,” he added, referencing the various makeshift “weapons” Israelis have used against attackers in recent years.
The police, however, requested that the mandatory training course be lengthened to four and a half hours from the current two. Gun licenses must be renewed every three years and owners must take a refresher training course.
Unlike the U.S., Israel does not view gun ownership as a right and owning a gun is rare for non-military civilians. People applying for gun ownership must be over 21 years old and provide a reason for needing a gun, such as if they live in West Bank settlements or close to the border. Tour guides and security guards, farmers and IDF officers may apply. Assault weapons cannot be purchased and gun owners can only own a maximum of 50 bullets.
Currently there are around 145,000 private gun owners in Israel.