Will Israel reconsider its restrictions on civilian gun ownership?

Law-abiding citizens should always be free to defend themselves.

This past weekend, Israel experienced a terrorist attack of 9/11 proportions, and the global Jewish population experienced the worst attack since the Holocaust.

Hamas terrorists fired thousands of rockets into Israel on Saturday morning. Later in the day, terrorists broke through the Israel-Gaza border, killing and injuring thousands as well as taking civilians and military personnel hostage. The total death toll now stands above 1,200 and counting, including 22 Americans. 

Hamas murdered people in their homes and some in the streets. One of the most horrific attacks happened at a music festival where Israeli Defense Forces recovered at least 260 bodies after Hamas descended using paragliders.

Of course, the bloodshed that day and in this continuing conflict lies solely in the hands of the Hamas terrorists who instigated this conflict. They targeted Israel and its citizens because of their hatred of Jews, and they are responsible for every life lost.

That said, the Israeli Defense forces were (understandably) overwhelmed and took a long time to respond to the chaos, leaving many Israeli civilians defenseless against the attacks when they did not need to be. They couldn’t defend themselves, partly because it is not easy to purchase a firearm in Israel. Only about 2.6% of Israel’s population has a license to carry.

Some of the current requirements to carry a firearm in Israel are:

  • Age requirement: 18 if they have completed their IDF service, 21 if they have served two years of IDF service, 27 if they did not serve, or 45 if they are a noncitizen resident.
  • “Specific need”: Those working in hazardous areas like the West Bank or near the Israel-Gaza border have increased success in being approved for a license
  • Basic knowledge of the Hebrew language
  • A health form signed by a physician
  • An exam and compulsory training
  • An interview and thorough background check

After completing these steps, if you obtain a license (around 40% of all requests were rejected in 2018), the license needs to be renewed every two years through a refresher course. In addition, there are extremely strict rules for the types of weapons one can own, the amount of ammunition one can carry, and when one can or cannot fire their weapon.

While, again, Hamas is solely to blame for the attack and resulting death this past weekend, it’s nonetheless true that these extreme requirements left an overwhelming percentage of the country unable to defend themselves.

When the government respects your right to bear arms, they are respecting your right to defend your own life, liberty, and property as well as the rights of those around you. They are ensuring that you will not be forced to rely on the police or military when it is impossible for them to be everywhere at once. You should not need to be a certain age (above the age of adulthood) or prove a “special need” to exercise your basic right to defend yourself. 

I hope the citizens of Israel fight for their government to respect this right so they have the means to protect themselves from future terror attacks. And I hope that Americans do not take for granted the fact that we live in a country where our right to defend ourselves and our families is protected by the Second Amendment.

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Kiyah Willis
Kiyah Willis
Kiyah Willis is a fellow at BASEDPolitics.