Be'er Sheva bank - AFP
At the Be'er Sheva bank shooting in May, the gun was licensed. Photo by AFP
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The Public Security Ministry plans to make psychological testing a prerequisite for obtaining a gun permit, not merely a medical-history form signed by a doctor.

Under the plan, new legislation would not be necessary; rather, the guidelines would be added to existing regulations followed by the ministry’s Firearm Licensing Department. The ministry is working with the Health Ministry on the plan.

Under the program, every licensed gun holder must undergo a psychological test, whose results would remain valid for three or six years. It is not yet clear if the exam’s costs, about NIS 500 per person, would be paid by the gun holders or the security firms that employ them. The Public Security Ministry also plans an exam with a psychiatrist for anyone who does not pass the psychological exam.

“There are many examples of people carrying out shootings or committing suicide, and then it’s discovered after the fact that the doctor missed one of the stipulations on the forms," said Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch during a meeting of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee. “All those who carry weapons will be subject to this, and I hope we get it done as soon as possible.”

The Public Security Ministry cites shooting incidents using licensed firearms, including suicides. This includes the shooting rampage by Itamar Alon at a bank in Be’er Sheva last May. That gun was licensed privately, not through a security firm.

Public Security Ministry officials have also said security employees will no longer be allowed to bring firearms home from work starting on August 27, before the next school year. The new plan will also require security firms to provide safes at workplaces for weapons not needing to be carried at any given time, though there will be exceptions letting certain employees take their weapons home.