Monday, October 9, 2023

Israel's National Security Minister Eases Civilian Firearm Ownership Regulations

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon (REUTERS)

After the devastating actions by Hamas militants in southern Israel, the government, which traditionally maintained strict gun control measures, has decided to revisit its stance. The extended wait times for security forces to respond, while violent assailants target innocent civilians, has highlighted the potential advantages of an armed citizenry.

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Today, Israel's National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, declared that the government will simplify the process for Israelis to acquire and possess firearms.

Here's a summarized version of his announcement:

"I've directed the Firearms Licensing Division to expedite firearm approvals for citizens."

The new measures will be implemented within a day and include:

1. Eligible citizens, based on specified criteria related to self-defense and previous service in security forces, and without any criminal or medical hindrances, will have their in-person interviews replaced by phone interviews. This change aims to expedite firearm approvals within a week. 

2. Citizens granted provisional firearm purchase permits in 2023 but didn't acquire a firearm can now do so without reapplying, benefiting roughly 4,000 individuals.

3. Anyone who recently surrendered their weapon due to training or renewal lapses can retrieve it. This affects approximately 1,800 individuals.

4. Starting next week, permits will allow the acquisition of up to 100 bullets, a notable increase from the current 50.

These measures accompany forthcoming changes to the licensing criteria.

"I appreciate the dedication of our teams that ensure more citizens can protect themselves and their communities when needed."

While the Israeli government isn't offering weapons to everyone, this seems to be a move towards a more accommodating firearms policy. 

Regrettably, it took a national tragedy and significant loss of life to emphasize the importance of self-defense. One can only wonder if more widespread civilian firearm ownership could have prevented some of these casualties.

However, politics remains constant, irrespective of geography. Granting citizens greater freedoms is seldom seen as beneficial to most politicians' agendas.

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