To deal with lone-wolf terror attacks, Israel is dramatically increasing the number of handgun carry permits

Aug 21, 2018 | Featured

Updated Post (August 21, 2018): In order to protect against lone-wolf terror attacks, Israel is increasing the number of citizens with permits to carry handguns in public. Based on the numbers reported by the Washington Post in May, an increase of between 35,000 and over 500,000 will increase the percentage of adult Jewish Israelis who carry to between 7.7% and 19.7%. The US rate is currently 7.14%, so Israel could exceed it by a factor of 2.76 times.

Hundreds of thousands of combat unit veterans and basic training course graduates will be eligible for a weapons license starting today.

The new criteria were approved by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and the new policy for obtaining a license came into effect. . . .

Minister Erdan explains that “many civilians saved lives during terrorist attacks and in an era of ‘lone-wolf terror’ the more skilled civilians carrying weapons, the greater the chances of thwarting attacks without casualties and reducing the number of casualties.”

As a result of the new policy, the potential of skilled marksmen in the public sphere will increase by over a half-million IDF security force veterans and thousands of volunteers from the Israel Police and rescue organizations. . . .

Other reports in the Israel publication Haaretz put the increase in permits at between 35,000 and 40,000.

Original Post (May 26, 2018): Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security says that 260,000 Israelis have permits to carry guns in public. With about 3.85 million adult Jews over 21-years-old living in Israel, that implies about 6.75 percent of Jewish adults in Israel have these permits.

This is down substantially from the rate previously calculated for 2000 where the same number was about 12%. It is also slightly higher than the concealed handgun carrying rate for the US. By comparison, last year about 6.5% of the adult US population had a concealed handgun permit.

Some call for even more liberal regulations to let people carry. Israel’s Arutz Sheva writes that during the knife Intifada in Israel in 2015:

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for every resident to carry a gun

As far as school policy, they also note:

When terrorists attacked a school in Maalot in 1974, Israel did not declare every school a gun-free zone. It passed a law mandating armed security in schools, provided weapons training to teachers and today runs frequent active shooter drills. There have been only two school shootings since then, and both have ended with teachers killing the terrorists. . . .



1 Comment

  1. Charles Jessee

    While citizen-carried firearms are seldom seen in Tel Aviv, they are a common sight in Jerusalem and elsewhere (as of my April 2018 visit). Those from the West Bank settlements are often armed and when traveling about often carry a well-worn rifle slung. I’ll just say Tel Aviv is like NY/NJ/CA/MA among the rest of the country.