Israel has relaxed its arms control laws and opened firearms for as many as 500,000 people, hoping that a better armed population will help respond to terrorist attacks.
Approximately 145,000 people currently have rifle permits in Israel, and the country's ministry of public security said the new legislation could quadruple that figure. The changes went into the fact that it was announced Monday, according to The Times of Israel.
The new laws allow all citizens to have a weapon with a certain amount of military or security training. This means that infantry veterans, certain aid workers and former police officers can get permits more easily.
Army officers and commanders no longer have to send their weapons back when they are fired from the standby service and anyone who has had a firearm license for ten years can keep the license unlimited without having to undergo periodic tests to show that they are still meet requirements.
Israel's public security minister Gilad Erdan said the increase in trained gun owners "contributes to the sense of security." In a statement, he said that armed civilians "form an important line of defense against" lonely wolf "actions and are used in a sense as a temporary force multiplier, thus strengthening public security."
Then began promoting relaxed restrictions after a series of Palestinian attacks of the lonely wolf terror from the end of 2015 to 2016, most dedicated to knives or vehicles. The period of violence became known as the 'Lone Wolf Intifada & # 39; and Erdan claimed that citizens who owned weapons had helped security forces to neutralize attackers.
Although the wave of violence has since become extinct, Er remains committed to the new measures. "The new policy balances the need to protect the public that could be at risk and the need to protect the public against the misuse of firearms," he said Tuesday.
Opponents claimed that the new rules will make the streets more dangerous, no less. "We are talking about deadly weapons, the willingness of which should be reduced as much as possible," said Israeli opposition politician Tamar Zandberg. twitter.
Israel's largest women's organization, Naamat, sent a letter to Erdan to warn that the new regulations could increase the number of women who would be killed in domestic violence. "We are worried that such a vast expansion of the capabilities to receive weapons can not only fail to create security for Israeli citizens, it could lead to the contrary," wrote President Galia Volokh. "We appeal to you for the sake of protecting the community in general, and women in particular, to reverse this far-reaching and dangerous decision."
Rela Mazali, a coordinator for the gun control group Gun Free Kitchen Tables – a coalition of 13 civil society organizations and feminist organizations – told Newsweek The decision is not supported by research or collected datasets. "We know from other countries that more weapons in the public sphere mean more crime, more suicides, more accidents and do not increase public security," Mazali said, adding that the terror incidents have fallen sharply since their peak at the end of 2015, which is why the policy test .
Although arms on Israeli streets are common, most are worn by soldiers and police officers, as well as a small number of allowed civilians. Before the new rules, citizens had to prove that they had to carry a firearm, and mental and physical health checks were required, as well as regular training. There are approximately 557,000 registered and unregistered rifles in Israel, according to the 2017 Small Arms Survey – or 6.7 per 100 persons.
Although Israel has not been overly proactive in terms of arms control, a generally accepted policy of what Mazali & # 39; conservatism & # 39; mentioned, generally prevailed. But "this is a paradigm change," she said, warning that Erdan overthrows this approach "as soon as he can," with more changes likely to come.