Following a recent surge in gun murders in Israel, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich has called on citizens to hand illegally held guns to police without facing criminal charges. The public will be able to turn the munitions at police stations throughout the country for a month, starting Wednesday.
The law calls for a maximum penalty of seven years in jail for someone caught in possession of an unlicensed firearm. Police sources told Ma’ariv they expected thousands of illegal weapons to be turned in to the authorities during the month-long initiative, including “guns, munitions such as grenades, explosives or bullets.”
Guns handed in would be tested, and “if it turns out the weapon wasn’t involved in any serious criminal act like robbery or murder,” the person handing it in would be released without charges, said Israel Police operations division chief Maj.-Gen. Nissim Mor.
“The public has thousands of weapons,” Mor told Ma’ariv, adding that the purpose of the initiative was to gather up firearms and explosives so that they’d no longer pose a threat to society.
On Sunday, a resident of Bat Yam, south of Jaffa, killed his wife before committing suicide. The man, a border policeman, shot his wife and then, after calling his brother-in-law to tell him that he had just slain his sister, fatally turned the gun on himself, police said.
Four people were killed in the Haifa area last month in what police suspect may have been a linked triple murder and suicide. Haifa area security guard Dov Tagar was suspected of killing his friend, girlfriend, and girlfriend’s son before taking his own life in front of the police.