Israel's Plan to Ease Gun Policy Will Endanger Women, Won't Thwart Terror, Lawmaker Says

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) calls on the Committee on the Status of Women to convene an emergency meeting

File photo, Israeli man carrying a gun in Sapir community in Israel's south.
Alex Levac

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) strongly criticized the easing of restrictions to obtain a permit for owning a gun, saying the move is more likely to harm women and children than reduce the amount of terror attacks.

"Sixteen women have been murdered since the beginning of the year due to their gender, three of them with firearms," Rozin wrote. 

"Only last week, Nora Abu Slov, 36 and mother of seven, was shot dead. There is no proof that the reform will increase the 'thwarting of terror attacks,' as Minister Erdan claims, while there is evidence that the reform could significantly increase the risk to women and children."

>> Israel allows hundreds of thousands more civilians to carry guns

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan's plan will make hundreds of thousands of additional civilians eligible to carry a firearm. In the new plan, any citizen with what as known as level 7 Rifleman training, as is the case with most infantry units in Israel, will be able to apply for a gun permit.

Rozin asked MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), chairman of the Committee on the Status of Women, to convene an urgent Committee meeting. "It is inconceivable that the approval of the weapons license will take place during the Knesset's summer recess, without a substantive discussion in the Knesset," Rozin wrote.

On Monday, Erdan said the new policy “strikes a balance between the need to defend the public which might be at risk and the need to protect the public from incorrect use of a firearm.

“Skilled civilians carrying a gun in public contribute to a sense of security, act as an important line of defense against lone-wolf terror attacks and ...thus increase public security.” 

There are approximately 145,000 gun-license holders in Israel at present. This number does not include people who have firearms because their job requires it, and does not include soldiers and police. Gun licenses must be renewed every three years.

The plan now being completed by the Public Security Ministry would allow almost anyone who has done combat service in the Israeli army to apply for a permit. The ministry believes that among the hundreds of thousands of people who meet this requirement, about 35,000 to 40,000 people will actually apply, boosting the number of permit holders to about 200,000.

At present, a person must be at least 21 years of age and in good health to apply for a permit. Other conditions include residence in a West Bank settlement, a border area or an area near the separation barrier. Since entering office, Erdan has enthusiastically supported increasing the number of people in possession of a privately owned legal firearm, in light of the wave of terror and the number of armed civilians who have managed to thwart attacks.