In our post this morning, we predicted that following the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists across southern Israel this weekend, the government, which has kept a relatively tight hold on gun ownership by Israeli citizens, would change that policy. Waiting for hours for help from police and the military while murderous Palestinians go house to house cutting down men, women, and children tends to drive home the benefits of an armed populace.
This afternoon, Israel’s Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir — someone you have to think will soon be looking for other employment opportunities — announced that the government will, in fact, make it easier for Israelis to buy and carry firearms.
Here’s a translation of his tweet . . .
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.
The Israeli government won’t be handing out rifles to anyone who wants one. The process and requirements are still far too restrictive and cumbersome, but this appears to be a step in the right direction.
It’s a shame that it’s taken a national atrocity and the loss of hundreds of lives to drive home the point that armed self-defense is not only a natural human right, but can also make the job of criminals and, in this case, blood-thirsty terrorists, much more difficult. Who knows how many lives might have been saved by wider civilian gun ownership?
Politicians, however, are politicians no matter where you go. And few of them see allowing citizens more freedoms as in their own best interests.