Freshman Likud MK inaugurates Knesset caucus on gun rights
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Freshman Likud MK inaugurates Knesset caucus on gun rights

Amir Ohana says reservists should be able to carry arms at all times; minister touts benefits of trained armed civilians in face of terror wave

Likud MK Amir Ohana (center) flanked by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (left) and Likud MK Nava Boker in the first meeting of a Knesset caucus on lobbying for less restrictive gun control at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday, February 15 2016. (Knesset)
Likud MK Amir Ohana (center) flanked by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (left) and Likud MK Nava Boker in the first meeting of a Knesset caucus on lobbying for less restrictive gun control at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday, February 15 2016. (Knesset)

Likud MK Amir Ohana on Monday helmed the first meeting of a Knesset caucus dedicated to loosening the policy on carrying firearms in Israel.

The initial meeting of the Lobby for Shaping the Gun-Carrying Policy in Israel was attended by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Likud MKs Nava Boker, Yoav Kish, Nurit Koren, David Bitan and Oren Hazan, as well as several experts.

“I invited to the caucus’s first meeting all Knesset members, supporters and opponents alike, so that every opinion gets to be heard,” Ohana said, referring to legislation that would make it easier for civilians to acquire a firearm license.

“The personal security of the citizens of Israel is under attack,” Ohana said.

“This attack did not start five months ago [with the current wave of violence] but ever since the Jewish people returned to their homeland. We cannot accept a situation in which citizens of the State of Israel defend themselves with umbrellas and shopping carts,” Ohana said, referring to makeshift objects civilians have used to fend off attackers in recent terror attacks.

Likud MK Amir Ohana (center) flanked by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (left) and Likud MK Nava Boker in the first meeting of a Knesset caucus on lobbying for less restrictive gun control at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday, February 15 2016. (Knesset)
Likud MK Amir Ohana (center) flanked by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (left) and Likud MK Nava Boker in the first meeting of a Knesset caucus lobbying for less restrictive gun control at the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 15, 2016. (Knesset)

Ohana said he believed there should be a “proportionate, balanced and considered way to make it easier to carry firearms for civilians with no criminal or medical record who perform reserve military service. The goal, at the end of the process, is to improve the sense of security for citizens of the State of Israel.”

Erdan told the meeting: “There are thousands of potential terrorists who can just make a decision and take a knife, a screwdriver, a gun or a rifle and try to carry out a terror attack all across the country.”

Erdan argued that it would be beneficial to have armed civilians to support security forces in the event of an attack.

“We are five months into a wave of terror attacks,” he said, “and there is no way of intercepting every attack due to the number of potential terrorists who do not need a lab to manufacture a bomb, but will suffice with a knife.”

He added, “The first responsibility lies with the police, but if you want to look at the citizens as a force multiplier, this should be wisely considered with the appropriate training.”

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