2 countries with no 2A rights illustrate value of ours
Citizens in two countries are reminding Americans that Second Amendment rights and a robust firearm and ammunition manufacturing base cannot be taken for granted.
Israel is preparing for a ground invasion into Gaza after more than 1,400 of their citizens fell victim to Hamas terrorists storming into their homes, murdering, torturing and dragging off innocent civilians as hostages. That nation’s response was to streamline firearm permits and order Israeli Defense Forces to distribute tens of thousands of firearms for self-defense.
Meanwhile, Canada is hitting the pause button on their forced confiscation of privately-owned semiautomatic rifles. Officials there are finding that stripping firearms from law-abiding citizens is a daunting task. Canadians are rejecting amnesty periods to surrender their firearms to the government, knowing that it leads to their government taking away the ability to defend themselves.
That’s not a lesson that’s lost on Americans, especially in the wake of the Hamas terror attacks, the rising antisemitic hate speech within the United States and individuals on the terrorist watch list crossing the U.S. southern border. Local reports indicate that more Americans are exercising their uniquely American right to keep and bear arms, especially Jewish Americans.
Israel loosens restrictions
Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has been at the forefront of updating his country’s firearm permitting laws. Only two percent of Israel’s population possesses firearms, compared to at least 30 percent in America. There is nothing akin to the Second Amendment in Israel. Firearm ownership and possession are strictly regulated. Ben-Gvir, though, is working to streamline those processes. He began before the Hamas terror attacks but those reforms have now taken on a newfound imperative after Israelis were left defenseless in their homes when Hamas terrorists killed men, women and children.
Ben-Gvir moved to ease restrictions and speed up the permitting process in February 2023 for recently-discharged Israeli Defense Forces, police, firefighters and active reserves to obtain a permit to carry guns. Those reforms would allow police issuing the permits to skip a personal interview requirement and require only the filing of a health declaration to obtain the permit.
Gun control in Israel is strict. Before Ben-Gvir’s reforms, that were approved by the Knesset National Security Committee, only those Israelis who could prove a need for extra security in their line of work of life were granted permits. Even then, only one gun, along with 50 rounds, was allowed. By April 2023, over 12,000 permits were approved.
“When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves,” Ben-Gvir tweeted.
The unthinkable happened and Ben-Gvir has since ramped up efforts to arm more Israelis. Following the attacks, he posted on social media that Israel’s Firearms Licensing Division was to “go on an emergency operation, in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves.”
That expedited process allowed for phone interviews instead of in-person screenings for permits. Ben-Gvir also noted that 1,800 Israelis forced to hand over their guns to the government in the six months prior to the attack for lack of a training renewal certification would get their firearms back.
Ben-Gvir also ordered the National Security Committee to buy 10,000 rifles to arm civilian security teams, specifically in border towns as well as communities with mixed Jewish-Arab populations and West Bank settlements.
“We will turn the world upside down so that towns are protected. I have given instructions for massively arming the civilian security teams,” Ben-Gvir said.
Ayala Ben-Gvir, wife of the National Security Minister, in social media postings urged Israeli women to arm themselves for self-defense.
“This is a call to the women of Israel,” she wrote. “We made the exams easier for you, even women who have done a year of national service are eligible following the reform we completed this week – for a gun license. I call you all. Go arm yourself.”
Some 100,000 Israelis applied for permits in the two weeks following the Hamas terror attacks, and Ayala Ben-Gvir asked for patience, even with the expedited process.
“Carry a weapon as soon as you can. It’s a life saver,” she wrote.
These permits are still Byzantine by American Second Amendment standards. However, they are moving in the direction of enabling Israelis to protect themselves in their homes instead of becoming helpless victims to depraved terrorists. That’s a stark comparison to what is happening in Canada.
Canada clings to confiscation
Canadian authorities just postponed the confiscation date for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gun-grab confiscation plan to seize nearly all semiautomatic rifles from law-abiding citizens. Israel is turning closer to valuing self-defense. Canada is determined to deprive their citizens of that natural right. Officials there are learning that it is easier said than done.
In May of 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skipped the Canadian Parliament and unilaterally issued an edict banning 1,500 makes and models of semiautomatic rifles. He seized on a tragic murder to justify his move, saying it was for the public’s safety. The deadline for Canadians to register their rifles was set to expire at the end of the month but has now been delayed until Oct. 30, 2025 – conveniently scheduled 10 days after the next elections.
Canadian government officials peg the cost of the forced confiscation “buyback” at $750 million. Critics say it is closer to $1.6-$5 billion in just the first year. Canadian officials said it is impractical for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to round up the guns. Canada’s military said it doesn’t want to be involved. Provincial officials have lambasted the plan, with officials in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick promising to halt confiscation and withhold funds.
“For those keeping track, that means the government has no plans to deal with the guns they said were so dangerous they must be seized until five and half years after they banned them,” wrote Bill Lilley a columnist for the Toronto Sun. He added, “Do you get the feeling Trudeau’s announcement all those years ago was all about politics?”
Meanwhile, in America
Closer to home, Americans are watching world events and are not taking their Second Amendment rights for granted, especially Jewish Americans. David Kowalsky, owner of Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, Fla., told NBC News, “I’ve seen a surge in interest in individual training as well as group training.” Kowalsky is also Jewish and noted that synagogues requested training and shooting sessions with most participants being first-timers.
“These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them,” Kowalsky said. “There’s a safety concern. I think people are nervous about what’s going on and what can happen.”
NBC reported that Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, who runs Magen Am, a Los Angeles self-defense nonprofit, tallied over 600 calls in one week following the Hamas terror attacks and violent rhetoric in the United States.
“We can’t put down the phone without picking up the next one,” Eilfort said. “The calls for self-defense training, situational awareness training — ‘How do I make my shop or my institution a harder target?’ — has just been really, really nonstop.”
Yehuda Remer is an Orthodox Jew and Second Amendment activist. He’s known as the Pew Pew Jew on social media and has been posting pictures of those attending his training.
“Another Jewish couple becoming their own first responders,” Remer posted. “Hey critics. Shhhhh! No need to say anything. It was their first time, and they already booked another session and plan on each getting guns that fit them.”
The terror attacks that brought tragedy to Israel and Canada’s myopic determination to strip citizens of their ability to defend themselves are poignant reminders of why NSSF and the entire firearm and ammunition industry values the Constitutional freedom to keep and bear arms.