A new item of legislation establishing a minimum sentence for being found in possession of or trading in illegal weapons passed in its second and third readings in the Knesset over Monday night and is now law.
Anyone found in contravention will be sentenced to at least 12 months in prison; the maximum sentence remains unchanged at seven years behind bars.
The preamble to the legislation notes that: “Possession of illegal weapons has become a national scourge and constitutes one of the main drivers behind the increase in the numbers of murder and violent incidents the country has seen of late. In addition, the extent of violence and the use of weapons and other illegal fighting equipment damages citizens’ sense of security.”
The text of the law also notes that, “Mounting violence causes an increase in demand for illegal weapons among criminals. Such weapons reach the hands of criminal elements and crime rings which are in possession of and trade in these items for criminal purposes. Likewise, easy access to illegal weapons increases the likelihood that they will be used by criminals when perpetrating crimes, and also by terrorists.”
“This law establishing a minimum sentence for illegal weapons crimes, proposed by myself and MK Sharren Haskel, has finally passed in the Knesset plenum tonight,” said Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar following the vote. “This is another of the promises made by the New Hope party that we have fulfilled. The way to deal with this national scourge of illegal weapons is via harsh punishment and deterrence. We are committed to restoring the rule of law to all parts of the country.”