Government relaxes gun laws, feminist coalition up in arms

Leftist feminist coalition says more guns mean more women murdered, but are they manipulating the statistics?

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Gil Ronen,

Gun shooting
Gun shooting
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There is a debate about gun control in Israel, too, but it does not revolve around the risk of gang murders or mass shootings by deranged gunmen without terror-related motives – events that are thankfully rare in Israel. Rather, it is spearheaded by radical feminists who claim that allowing more people to carry guns means that more women will be murdered by their partners. The matter has come to a head in recent weeks, as Israelis deal with daily murderous attacks by Arab terrorists, many of which were stymied by civilians carrying licensed guns.

The Ministry of Internal Security has decided, in recent days, to drop a regulation that forbade private security guards from taking home their weapons after their shifts, in the hope that more armed Israelis on the streets will mean better security against terrorists. 

According to Rela Mazali, who heads a coalition of radical feminist and leftist groups called "The Gun on the Kitchen Table," is upset by the decision.

"The world of science and research proves that as the amount of weapons in the hands of the public grows, so does crime that involves guns," Mazali said Sunday. She rejected a statement by newly sworn-in Likud MK Amir Ohana, who said that the current terror wave necessitates giving more citizens guns, even if this does entail the risk that they will be used for criminal purposes. "There is no military, forceful, militaristic solution to attacks by loners," she insisted. "What is needed is a change in policy" – presumably a reference to the IDF's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria and similar items on the radical leftist agenda. "The people who will suffer are primarily women, who are more threatened by the weapons," she claimed.

Mazali also claimed that between 2002 and 2013, 33 innocent people were killed by guns that were taken home by security guards. Eighteen of these were women. In 2013, the Internal Security Ministry decided to forbid guards from taking home their weapons, following a successful campaign by the Gun on the Kitchen Table coalition, and since then, she claimed, no innocents have been murdered by security guards' weapons.

Conservative website Mida decided to look into the statistics and asked, among other things, why this is being portrayed as a feminist issue. Writer Hillel Gershuni noted that while 18 women were murdered with the security guards' guns in the 12-year period noted, 15 men were also murdered with these guns, and the difference between the two numbers is not significant.

Gershuni went on to compare the number of spousal murders committed with a security guard's gun, and those committed by other means. He found that in the years 2002-2014, less than 5% of the women who were murdered by spouses or ex-spouses, were murdered with a security guard's gun.

He also noted that while it is true that no one was murdered with a guard's gun in 2014 – after the strict policy on guards' weapons was enacted – the total number of people of both sexes murdered with guards' guns in any single year was always very low anyway. For example, there was only one person killed with a guard's gun in 2005, and the same was true for 2009. In most other years, the number was two or three. In other words, the change in policy did not really make a very big difference.

Gershuni observed that many of the terror attacks committed in the past few weeks were foiled by civilians who carried guns, and that even the accidental "friendly fire" casualties in these events were all caused by security men and women, not civilians. He added that in Friday's attack in Tel Aviv, the fact that most of the civilians were not carrying weapons, and the ones that were did not use them, enabled the attacker to shoot people for a long time, and then escape successfully.