Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves.

“Today I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation, in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves. The plan will take effect within 24 hours,” Ben-Gvir stated.

The order read (translated):

Today I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation, in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves. The plan will take effect within 24 hours, below are its main points:

1. Any citizen who meets the detailed tests for carrying a private firearm due to self-defense and serving the security forces, and is without a criminal or medical record, will be required to undergo a telephone interview instead of a physical interview, and will be able to receive permission to carry a firearm within a week. (Self-defense tests: residence in an eligible settlement, rifle veterans 07 and above, officers in the rank of lieutenant and above and combatants in the rank of major and above in the IDF and the security forces, service in special units, firefighters, policemen, and workers and volunteers in the rescue forces).

2. Any citizen who received a conditional permit to purchase a firearm and did not purchase a firearm during the year 2023 and the conditional license has expired, will be able to purchase a firearm now without the need to submit another application. The exemption will apply to about 4000 citizens.

3. Any citizen who deposited his weapon in the last six months due to failure to perform refresher training or renewal training, will be able to receive his weapon back. The exemption will apply to about 1800 citizens.

4. In addition, starting next Tuesday, conditional permits to carry firearms will be issued with a permit allowing the purchase of up to 100 bullets instead of 50 today.

All this in addition to the criteria change that should happen soon.

I thank the members of the Firearms Licensing Division, the Civil Response Department of the Israel Police and the employees of the Ministry of Health for the very important commitment that will allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves and protect themselves and their environment when necessary.

Israel has strict gun control laws compared to the United States of America.

According to a BBC report, roughly 2% of the Israeli population owns a firearm.

Per BBC:

Following the January attack, Mr Ben-Gvir pledged to drastically speed up the issuing of gun permits, from around 2,000 to 10,000 a month, reducing the waiting time from six to eight months to two or three.

Israeli gun ownership is low at about 2% of the population. It compares to about 30% of the population owning a gun in the US.

Usually citizens are allowed to hold a pistol and a limit of 50 bullets.


But now applications for gun licences have more than doubled, according to the national security ministry, from 19,000 in 2021 to 42,236 last year – the highest annual number made.”

At the Krav shooting range in southern Jerusalem, gun owner Hosha’aya Volman is one of those getting some practice in.

“I carry a weapon for the simple reason that I won’t be defenceless. I will be able to protect myself and those around me,” Mr Volman says.

Mr Volman, 27, is an observant Jew and lives in the northern West Bank settlement Kohav HaShahar.

He needs to maintain a certain skill level – and pass physical and mental health tests – to keep his gun licence, part of Israel’s strict regulations on owning guns.

Mr Volman did military service and got a gun after leaving.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish people typically do not go into the military nor own guns, putting greater value on their religious observance.

And there are voices in Israel saying that ultra-Orthodox communities need to be better armed for their own protection.

“The bottom line is that Israel’s gun control looks a lot like New York’s or California’s gun control before NYSRPA v. Bruen, except it’s much worse,” Bearing Arms wrote.

From Bearing Arms:

It came as a surprise to me that people living so close to a dangerous border were left dependent on the professionals. After Israeli tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed and the border was overrun, these people had no way of protecting themselves.

At the music festival where more than 250 people were slaughtered, some people managed to fight back. They resisted their attackers, took their guns, and shot back at them (archived links).

They saved their own lives and the lives of many others. Who knows what the death toll would have been if they had not been able to fight back with guns? Another question is, how much lower would the death toll be if people had been carrying in the first place, and didn’t have to wait to take the terrorists’ guns?

Israeli authorities have learned from this and are making changes to their gun control policies (archived links) to allow their citizens to bear arms more easily. It’s not much, but something is better than nothing. And it’s better late than never. I hope this is a first step to liberalizing gun laws so Israelis can defend themselves from the horror that some evil actors desperately want to inflict upon them.

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