Expert IDF Combat Soldier Denied Gun License Due to Citizenship Snafu

Rules change enables Kfir Brigade rifleman to obtain job as security guard.

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IDF reservists training at a shooting range.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

A combat soldier who had expertise in weaponry and wanted to work as a security guard after his service was denied a gun license because he had not been an Israeli citizen for the requisite three years.

The Public Security Ministry, which is responsible for the issue, said, however, that the rules have changed and Arthur Akimov can now receive a gun license.

Akimov, 22, immigrated to Israel in 2008 from Ukraine with his family, who settled in Acre. Because according to Jewish law he isn’t Jewish, but merely a descendant of Jews, he wasn’t granted immediate citizenship, though he was made a permanent resident.

After finishing high school he signed up for combat duty in the Kfir Brigade. During his service he participated in Operation Brother’s Keeper, among others, and received a certificate of merit. He also became expert in shooting a Negev rifle. About halfway through his service, he was granted citizenship.

“I was discharged about a month ago and went to a security company so I could start working,” he said. “After two weeks of waiting for an answer, they told me I couldn’t [get a weapons license] because I hadn’t been a citizen for three years.”

According to a letter the security company received from the Public Security Ministry earlier this month, Akimov, classified as a new immigrant, would not be able to get a gun license until August 2016.

For the past few weeks, Akimov has been employed as an orderly at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. “How can I be angry at the state?” he asked. “It’s just bureaucracy. They don’t take people into account.”

He said he had taken a lawyer and wasn’t going to give up, noting that he’d already been placed in a reserve unit.

It seems, however, that he will not need legal help, as the Public Security Ministry recently changed its policy.

The previous criteria, it said, were “corrected by new criteria that were publicized on November 24. From now, whoever has served in the army can get a [gun] license even if he is less than three years in the country. We will be happy to help Arthur Akimov get his license quickly.”