A major reform to Israel’s gun law meant to put an end to terrorism on Israeli streets will make more than 500,000 more Israelis eligible to receive permits to buy and carry handguns.
The new law went into immediate effect on Monday, and will allow hundreds of thousands of Israel Defense Forces infantry-unit veterans and active police officers to apply for gun permits.
Army officers with rank of first lieutenant or higher and non-commissioned officers ranked first sergeant or higher will not only be eligible for gun permits, but will no longer be asked to return their guns and permits upon honorable discharge from reserve service. They will be permitted to put in a request to keep carrying them.
Magen David Adom, ZAKA and Hatzalah medical and police volunteers will also be eligible for permits.
The measure was pushed forward by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who asserted that arming more Israelis would reduce the number of terror attacks and “strengthen public security.”
“Many citizens have saved lives during terror attacks, and in the era of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks, the more qualified gun-carrying citizens there are, the better the chance to stop terror attacks without casualties and reduce the number of casualties,” Erdan said in a statement.
Up until the reform was implemented, Israelis had to prove that they live or work in areas deemed “dangerous,” and had to undergo regular testing and continued training.
Under the new regulations, those Israelis who have held a firearm permit for 10 years will be able to keep their weapons indefinitely and without periodic testing.