Gun regulations in Israel

by David Safier

In August I wrote a column in the Explorer about gun laws in Israel. The way Israel deals with the private ownership of guns is worth looking at again after yesterday's shooting.

This isn't meant to be a pro- or anti-Israel statement. It's not saying we should adopt Israel's policies, since they wouldn't fit this country well. But Israel is on a constant war footing. It's a place where its citizens reasonably consider every paper bag or package left on a bus or a park bench to be a threat. Yet in a country where people have far more reason than we do to argue they need to arm themselves for protection, it's very difficult to own a gun.

There are three basic categories of people who can get gun licences in Israel: people who reached a high military rank, people who have reason to fear they'll be harmed (like those in businesses that deal in cash and jewelry, licensed bus drivers, people living in dangerous areas) and people who have guns handed down to them from family members — and then only a few guns.

Licenses generally allow for only one firearm, usually a pistol. Getting a license means going through an extensive background check, having a personal/psychological interview and passing a weapons training course. The license has to be renewed every three years.

After all that, licensed gun owners can only buy 50 rounds of ammunition a year.

Despite the obvious dangers in Israel, it hasn't adopted our notion, "the more guns the better." Maybe we can find reasonable ways to keep guns in private hands but tone down the most dangerous aspects of our gun culture.

0 responses to “Gun regulations in Israel

  1. Right! The British are prime example for virtue! From slavery in America, occupation of Ireland and Scotland (and the Malvinas), dividing and conquering the middle east (thus being responsible for most of the wars there), killing 5 million Hindus because their land could produce more money in other use than food, the subduing of China via Opium, the annihilation of the natives in Australia and NZ (and not mentioning a millennia of pointless wars in Europe).

    Britannia rule them all!!!

  2. The 450-year-long, occupation of North America and the subsequent land grab by the Americans (Texas, New Mexico) is illegal under international law and is the single biggest, continual threat to peace in the
    world’s most volatile area. Your attempt to deflect attention from these facts doesn’t change that.

  3. The 45-year-long, occupation of Palestine and the subsequent land grab by the Israelis is illegal under international law and is the single biggest, continual threat to peace in the
    world’s most volatile area. Your attempt to deflect attention from these facts doesn’t change that.

  4. @phoenixlaw – Here’s where America is different – you do allow the occupied native Americans (those still alive) to carry weapons outside their ghettos …ahm.. “reservations”, right? So you must be much more moral in the illegal settlement of Phoenix…

  5. Just a note about Israeli gun possession: in the illegal settlements, residents are issued assault rifles and ammunition by the army and are given training, also by the army. The rifles and ammunition remain the property of the army. Since more than 650,000 Israeli citizens live in these Jewish only settlements, it has been estimated that at least 300,000 such weapons possessed by Israelis living illegally in Palestine. Of course, no Palestinians are allowed by the occupying Israelis to own or possess guns of any kind.

  6. Interesting. And as far as I know various other countries have similar laws. However, there’s a strong sense of militia in American history where citizens with their own guns forced the English to go back to England. IMO this ties in with how many Americans went west as pioneers, drove out the native Americans and took over the land in homesteads thus privately owned guns were part of the tools they carried with them.