Headlines: Israel loosens gun laws amid Hamas attack

Israel citizens don't enjoy the Second Amendment guarantees we have in the United States, and gun laws there were stricter than anywhere here. But that's about to change as the Middle East country battles an attack by Hamas.

According to an Oct. 9 story by The Federalist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israeli minister of national security, announced in Hebrew on Oct. 8 an emergency declaration to “allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves.”

Currently, only 1.5% of civilians there are licensed to own firearms, according to the story, which continues:

The laws that require proving “a need” to own and carry a gun have not changed. However those eligible to apply for a license under the “self-defense test” can now do the required interview on the phone instead of in person. The applicant will be approved for the license within a week under the new order.

The story said that according to Ben-Gvir, 4,000 citizens who had applied for a conditional permit in 2023 but let the license expire before using it may now purchase a firearm. Another 1,800 in the past six months who had returned firearms to the government for not taking a training renewal course may get their weapons back.

According to an Oct. 8 story by The Reload, Ben-Gvir said he wants more Israelis to be able to legally arm themselves.

“Today I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves,” he posted, according to a Google translation. “The plan will take effect within 24 hours.”

From The Reload article:

The policy change comes after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israelis that saw terrorists carry out the brutal murder and mutilation of men, women, and children. Many more were injured or kidnapped. Israel has declared war on Hamas and begun carrying out airstrikes in Gaza, but it remains unclear if all of the terror group’s fighters have even been expelled from the towns they ransacked at this point.

It continued:

“I thank the members of the Firearms Licensing Division, the Civil Response Department of the Israel Police, and the employees of the Ministry of Health for the very important commitment that will allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves and protect themselves and their environment when necessary,” Ben-Gvir said.

An Oct. 11 story by The Times of Israel said Ben-Gvir has been in favor of loosening gun laws there. From the article:

Relaxing Israel’s restrictive gun license laws has long been championed by ... Ben Gvir, as well as some libertarian-leaning right-wing politicians, but it is an issue that has not gained much traction, despite occasional reports of high-level discussions on the issue.

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