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Despite Reform, School Guards to Take Guns Home

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A school in Tel Aviv. Credit: David Bachar

Despite new rules imposed last year that require armed security guards to deposit the weapons they use at their workplaces at the end of their shifts, 4,500 school security guards will still be taking their weapons home, since no other solution has been found for them.

The reform was instituted after a series of crimes were committed with weapons belonging to security companies. School guards were exempted at first because of a dispute over where they would be able to leave their weapons at the end of the school day. The Union of Local Authorities refused to allow them to leave the weapons at the schools, citing safety concerns.

Attorney Galit Lubetzky, who is part of the Gun-Free Kitchen Table project, said that, overall, the reform has been a success.

“Between July 2012 and July 2013, there were eight victims killed by guards using their weapons outside of work,” she said. “In the year since the reform went into effect, not a single person was killed by a security guard’s weapon.

“Our struggle now is to regulate the reform in educational institutions and to make information about weapons more transparent and open. For example, statistics about the source of weapons used in crimes, and the ratio between legal, private guns [used in crimes] and weapons owned by organizations or illegal weapons. We need to know these things so we know what to fight.”

The Public Security Ministry said, “The issue is being dealt with in stages and as one of the conditions of the tender being issued by the Union of Local Authorities. Because the security companies have agreements from previous years under which they are not required to deal with storing the weapons after the security guard is done, the issue requires new tenders.”

The Union of Local Authorities said the school security guards were exempted from the reform by the Public Security Ministry because it was too risky to leave weapons in a school. “The local authorities recommended that the weapons be stored at the nearest police station and we’re waiting for the approval of the Public Security Ministry,” it said.

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