Gun Permit Applications Nearly Triple Since Gov’t Eased Criteria

Following far-right Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s easing of the criteria for gun permits less than two months ago, over 2,800 civilians have filed applications to own a firearm, an increase of 183% compared to the same period last year. Based on the public response the ministry now estimates that about 10,000 additional persons will obtain gun permits, bringing the total number to about 140,000, not including members of the police force and the army.

On August 20 of this year, Erdan relaxed the criteria for carrying a weapon by opening it up to anyone with military training, who is medically fit, and who has no criminal record in addition to meeting the previous criteria.

Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), who conducted a hearing on the issue in the Committee on the Status of Women, said: “Reality has taught us the hard way that, in the absence of close and constant supervision and strict conditions for getting a weapons permit, ‘civilian weapons’ cost lives. Putting weapons in the hands of another half million civilians will just result an even lighter finger on the trigger.”

Touma-Sliman added: “Arming some of the public, primarily Jews, in the name of ‘the right to self-defense from terror,’ means one thing in light of the incitement and unbridled attack on the Arab public and the Palestinian people: putting weapons in the hands of people incited by the government to carry out executions anytime they feel a subjective threat. In other words, any time they see an Arab they don’t like.”

Related: New Government Plan: More Weapons in the Hands of Civilians