According to the National Security Ministry, more than 100,000 Israelis have applied for weapons licenses in the 18 days following the terrorist strikes on western Negev on October 7.
That sum would have been equivalent to two years’ worth of requests prior to the war, the ministry stated. Shahar Fishbein declared, “No one will defend me if I don’t.”
The 23-year-old Kadima-Tzoran resident, who lives east of Netanya, recently completed his military service and is currently applying for a firearms license. Fishbein has submitted the required papers, although he is unsure of their status despite doing so. I was expecting a response from the National Security Ministry, but all I received was a perplexing message stating that my request had been processed.
As the Israel Defense Forces were taken off guard by the onslaught, a wave of permit requests were made in response to Hamas’ assault on Gaza’s border villages. It took the military many days to recover control.
Following the assault, Itamar Ben-Gvir, minister of national security, loosened permit restrictions.
More former combat soldiers, as well as active firefighters and emergency medical personnel, are now eligible. The Firearm Licensing Department of the ministry can now issue a gun license to qualified persons with no prior convictions or medical conditions within a week after their telephone interview.
The number of bullets that a citizen may own has increased from 50 to 100. Thousands more security volunteers in “mixed cities” (those with significant populations of both Jewish and Arab people), border settlements, and towns in Judea and Samaria have also started receiving firearms, helmets, and protective vests from the ministry.
Israel has tight gun control laws, and its people are not legally permitted to carry firearms in their homes.
Candidates must be at least 18 years old, be free of any felony convictions, and submit a doctor’s certification attesting to their physical and mental condition. A citizen must be at least 21 years old to serve in the military, national service, or civil service. Non-serving citizens must be at least 27 years old.
To receive a license, a non-Israeli citizen must be at least 45 years old. Additionally, applicants must justify the necessity of a gun permit to the Firearms Licensing Division. Depending on the justification provided to the authorities, an Israeli may be allowed to carry a specific type of firearm.
It takes effort to get permission. Ben-Gvir claims that in 2022, the Firearm Licensing Division turned down 9,256 petitions. Every three years, licenses need to be renewed.
This procedure calls for a doctor’s certification of good health, proof of finishing a refresher course, and an examination of the handgun to ensure it is operational.