The Knesset passed Wednesday, in a preliminary reading, a bill that would require security guards and other citizens to receive clearance from a psychologist before being allowed to carry a gun.
Citizens wishing to receive a gun permit will have to present confirmation from a psychologist regarding their mental health and to show that they do not have a criminal record involving serious violent offenses. In addition, "professional elements" who identify a gun carrier as being dangerous to himself or to the public will be required to report this to the authorities.
The bill's explanatory notes state that "the security situation in Israel today makes it possible to meaningfully reduce the number of firearms in the general public's possession," a determination some may find dubious.
In a seemingly contradictory statement, the explanatory notes add that "In these times, in which violence in all of its hues is on the rise, and the use of guns for criminal purposes, by security guards and citizens with a gun permit, has become a matter of routine, it turns out that the legislature has not given sufficient thought to prevention and limiting of the carrying of weapons."
The bill follows a successful campaign by a coalition of women's groups which played up cases in which armed security guards used their weapons for criminal purposes, and presented the matter as being a gender-related issue. The coalition, named Gun Free Kitchen Tables, includes the pacifist "New Profile," which encourages resisting military conscription, and other groups with links to the radical left wing.
Detractors note that the bill will make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to obtain gun permits, while criminals' and terrorists' ability to do so will not be affected.
The women's groups have apparently failed in an attempt to add a clause to the bill forbidding security guards from taking their weapons home with them.