Rundown of Gun Licensing Laws in Israel |

One in 19 Private Israeli Citizens Owns a Licensed Gun - What Criteria Must They Meet?

Following the deadly shooting at the Be'er Sheva bank, here's a look at who meets the specific licensing criteria in Israel, aside from members of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police, Israel Prison Service and other official bodies.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

There are 292,625 licensed guns in private hands in Israel. Some 160,000 are owned by citizens who meet specific licensing criteria, like former members of the security forces and residents of the territories. The other roughly 130,000 guns are registered to organizations that employ guards, like security firms, and companies located in the territories.

These figures do not include weapons belonging to the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police, Israel Prison Service and other official bodies.

The math works out to one private weapon per 19 Israeli adults.

For a private citizen to get a gun licenses – as it seems the man who entered the Be'er Sheva bank Monday and killed four people did – he must have a reason that is listed in the official regulations.

The Public Security Ministry allows a person who lives or works in a community in or near the territories to own a single gun and 50 bullets. He must present documented proof of the location of his home or workplace to get a license.

An IDF officer with the rank of captain or higher or a noncommissioned officer with the rank of master sergeant or higher is allowed to carry a gun with the recommendation of the commander of his unit. In 2005, the IDF eliminated the requirement that all officers and noncommissioned officers carry weapons and began limiting the granting of weapon permits.

Another basis for qualifying for a gun permit is having a "security background." Members of this group are officers who retired from the IDF with the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher or serve in the reserves with the rank of captain or higher. The Public Security Ministry requires people who qualify this way to carry valid officer's identification cards. Officers with ranks lower than lieutenant colonel must be recommended by the commanders of their reserve units to get gun licenses.

Security officers at public institutions recognized by the Israel Police with at least a year of experience qualify for gun licenses. But the Public Security Ministry requires the head of the police's security branch to approve each application individually.

The ministry also allows fire fighters, Magen David Adom employees, hunters, regular shooting competition participants and drivers of trucks that haul explosives to get gun licenses. People who have legally and continuously owned pistols, air rifles or air pistols may also apply for gun licenses. There are also a number of hobbies that qualify people to apply for gun licenses.

Public Security Ministry regulations require people with gun licenses to immediately report relevant status changes – like the end of a dangerous job or qualifying hobby – to the gun licensing authority.

Gun licenses must be renewed every three years. The process involves submitting a health declaration signed by a physician, undergoing gun safety and shooting training and demonstrating adequate gun knowledge and control.

In recent years, the Public Security Ministry has reduced the available avenues for getting a gun license, disqualifying, for example, diamond, gold and jewelry traders.

Settlers raise guns at Palestinians near Nablus on August 7, 2009Credit: AP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott