While gun-grabbing zealots in the US try to take guns away, terrorist attack has Israel loosening its strict gun control laws

The following includes content that is editorial in nature, and reflects the opinion of the writer, a retired Chief of Police and current contributing writer for Law Enforcement Today.

Tel Aviv-
The gun control freaks in the United States often bloviate about why anyone would need high-capacity magazines to “hunt deer.” They ask why so-called “weapons of war” should be in private citizens' hands. Have you seen what is going on in Israel? That should answer their questions.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Israel, it took a surprise attack that has by all estimates, killed at least 1,000 of its citizens to wake up from a slumber that saw it impose draconian gun laws in that country, in many ways more stringent than any such laws in the United States, The Federalist reports.

Motivated by the unprovoked and surprise terrorist attack by savages from Hamas, Israel has suddenly reversed course and made it easier for its citizens to own firearms for self-defense. Just in the nick of time, right?

On Sunday, Israel’s Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, announced an emergency declaration that will “allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves.” At present, only 1.5 percent of the Israeli population has a license to own a gun.

Contrast that number with the United States, where Statista reported in June that 45% of American households owned at least one firearm, the highest percentage since 1992. The Pew Research Center said 66% of those gun owners own more than one gun.

Israel’s change of heart took effect within 24 hours of Ben-Gvir’s declaration. Although Israeli law requiring applicants to prove “a need” to apply for a license to own and carry a gun is still in effect, applicants for such a license can now apply under the “self-defense test.” They can participate in a required interview over the phone instead of in person. Under the emergency declaration, applicants will be approved for the license within a week.

 Israeli citizens may still only own one handgun. However, the limit on rounds of ammunition has been doubled from 50 to 100. It will unlikely make too much of a difference when confronting terrorists possessing automatic weapons.

Ben-Gvir said 4,000 Israeli citizens who applied for a conditional permit earlier this year but saw the license expire would be allowed it to expire are now eligible to purchase a firearm. Meanwhile, another 1,800 Israelis forced to surrender their guns to the government for not taking a training renewal course will be allowed to reacquire their weapons.

The new declaration does not appear to be designed to make a big difference in the number of Israeli citizens carrying firearms. The same criteria for Israelis to apply for a gun license before the attack remain in place. Citizens may only apply if they live or work in the settlement areas or are employed in professions where carrying of firearms is required—such as security guards, police officers, or firefighters. Active duty military, military veterans who attained a certain rank, and special forces are also eligible.

The Federalist reported that applicants must provide references and proof of residency for three years and meet the minimum age requirement. The age requirement is based on military service and residency. Applicants must also have a basic knowledge of Hebrew and provide a health declaration from a doctor.

In addition, applicants must pass the interview, pay a licensing fee, buy a gun, and then attend 4.5 hours of training at a shooting range. In other words, while Israeli citizens are being slaughtered, those seeking to protect themselves are jumping through hoops to do so.

If applicants can meet all those requirements, they may still be denied if they have criminal convictions, drug use, or specific mental health conditions. If citizens no longer meet the legal requirements, they have 72 hours to turn in their firearm and license at a police station after notifying the Firearms Licensing Department. 

The requirements in place in Israel are similar in many respects to laws gun control zealots in the United States are pushing for. Considering over 6 million illegals have entered the US since Biden was inaugurated, it is fair to assume many individuals are here with less than honorable intent.

In some ways, Ben-Gvir has tried to make it easier to increase civilian gun ownership to deal with terrorist attacks such as that which the country is currently experiencing, as well as crime, which has skyrocketed as in the United States and other countries. For example, he has made it easier to obtain permits by adding additional staff to assist with the application process. He has also expanded those who qualify to include more veterans and medical volunteers.

“I want more weapons on the streets so that the citizens of Israel can defend themselves,” he said shortly after being sworn into office in January.

By early June, the Jerusalem Post reported new licenses had increased by 280 percent compared to the same four-month period in 2022. In August, Ben-Gvir said his policies resulted in an 88 percent increase in the number of women receiving firearms licenses.

“Women that want to defend themselves and their families is a blessed thing,” he said at the time.

After the deadly attack on Israel last weekend, the government acted quickly to get more guns into the hands of Israeli citizens. While gun grabbers in the United States say the military and police should be the only ones able to carry guns, the events in Israel prove that isn’t always possible.

An armed citizenry is a much safer citizenry. Finally, the Israeli government appears to be recognizing that, even if they are late to the game.  

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The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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