Restrictions on gun permits are being eased, especially for former security officials, as a measure meant to help counter the wave of terror attacks, Israeli officials said.
“In light of the security situation, I have decided to make it easier to obtain a gun permit,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Tuesday.
“In recent weeks, many citizens helped the Israel Police neutralize terrorists carrying out attacks. Citizens trained in the use of firearms are a force multiplier in the struggle against terror,” he added.
Under the new policy, all IDF officers above the rank of 2nd lieutenant and non-commissioned officers from the rank of first sergeant and up can obtain a permit, even if they hold those ranks in the reserves. Parallel ranks in the police and other security services may do the same.
The decision makes private handgun ownership accessible to a broader range of ranks than previous restrictions.
Erdan also ordered gun permits be granted to graduates of certain elite units in the security services, as well as certain government security courses, including those that train the security details of ministers and government institutions.
Some municipalities where officials say the danger of terror attacks is heightened will be allowed to give out special gun licenses to residents to fill gaps in the distribution of civilian gun carriers. One example cited by officials is teachers in the ultra-Orthodox schools of Jerusalem; the ultra-Orthodox community is a target for terrorism, but few qualify for a gun permit based on a security background.
Gun carriers are also required under the new policy to fire their weapons at a licensed shooting range at least once per year.
Dozens of Palestinian terror attacks have struck Israeli towns since the beginning of the month. In many cases, residents and passersby stopped the attacks by tackling the terrorists to the ground or shooting them.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.