Israeli Gun Ownership Surges After Hamas Terror Attack

Israeli Gun Ownership Surges After Hamas Terror Attack
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While Israel has universal military service, it has traditionally been difficult for Israelis to own guns as private citizens.

Israel’s gun laws are as strict or stricter than those in heavily gun-controlled “blue” U.S. states.

Israelis must meet criteria establishing the need and qualification for gun ownership before they can undergo required training and then buy a firearm.

Public attitudes on the subject historically have been split, much like those of Americans.

However, the Oct. 7 massacre has changed attitudes, and the laws are easing. On that day, Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 Israelis, kidnapped 240, and wounded more than 3,500 in surprise attacks.

They videotaped their violent actions and posted them online for the world to see.

It was a day when families, mostly unarmed, cowered in fear in safe rooms, waiting for police or soldiers to show up.

And it was a day where the first—and sometimes only—effective defense came from kibbutz security forces, from private gun owners, and from reservists who didn’t wait for orders to rush to the aid of besieged communities along the Gaza frontier.

y mid-November, more than 236,000 new requests for gun permits had been received, according to Israel’s National Security Ministry.

“The demand is really rising because people felt unsafe,” Aviv, 30, a high-tech specialist who asked that his last name not be used, told The Epoch Times.

A resident of Mesilat Zion, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, he applied for private gun ownership and received notification on about Dec. 1 that he’d qualified.

Aviv is a former infantry commander and a former gun-carrying security guard for Israel’s public affairs minister in Jerusalem. Still, he must next take a certification course, and only then will he be able to buy a gun.

“We saw what happened in the south, so we felt unsafe and also … no security in our homes. People want to have guns or at least have the feeling that they can protect themselves,” Aviv said.

The transition to more people carrying guns hasn’t been without strife.

The head of the National Security Ministry’s Firearms Division resigned on Dec. 3. He told the Knesset that Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s confidants had been approving gun licenses without legal authority.

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