Pub Sec Min wants to further ease gun restrictions

Minister Gilad Erdan aims to allow all former infantry soldiers to qualify for private gun licenses.

Matt Wanderman ,

Minister Gilad Erdan
Minister Gilad Erdan
Flash 90

Speaking at a security conference in Yad Binyamin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) says that he is working to allow more Israeli citizens to receive gun licenses.

His latest proposal is to relax the military background requirement to anyone who served in an infantry unit in the IDF. He also intends to ease the conditions for officers who finished their reserve service after turning 40.

"If someone serves in the reserves for his whole life, it's not reasonable to take away his gun," Erdan said. "The same goes for those who were in combat units at levels 07 and 08. The intention is for them to be armed."

The different levels of IDF training are described by a numerical scale. For example, level 02 is for non-combat soldiers, 03 is for artillery and tanks, and 07 is infantry.

About six months ago, Erdan accepted police and experts' suggestions to expand the number of private gun licenses to former special forces and reconnaissance soldiers. This was a strong shift away from the former policy of trying to reduce the number of armed civilians, and part of a raft of moves he initiated to relax firearms licensing restrictions in the face of an ongoing wave of Arab terrorist attacks.

The minister still insists that there must be a balance between the dangers posed by more guns and the need for a quick response to terror attacks. "I decided that we must have a balanced policy. There is a public interest: we have seen the difference when there is a citizen who is trained to use a gun during a terror attack. It reduces the harm to human life."

The move must first receive approval from the Finance Minister, as it would require additional budgeting for the firearms licensing department.