Israelis Begin Arming Themselves in Droves After Hamas Attack
Over the last few years, the Israeli Knesset has led the way in passing several reforms to loosen Israel’s otherwise stringent gun laws. Since these reforms became solidified, gun stores across Israel have experienced an uptick in gun license applications and sales, which has made it difficult for them to keep up with demand.
“The amount of people who are buying weapons, it’s crazy,” declared Shaul, a 30-year-old assistant at the Jerusalem Shooting Ranges. “There’s never been anything like it before. My bosses, who’ve been in the business a long time and all the previous wars, say there’s never been anything like this kind of demand.”
Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister, has long pushed for measures to arm Israelis. Since the October 7 attack, Ben-Gvir has been handing out rifles to Jewish settlers around the West Bank.
Ben-Gvir was elated by the passage of legislation that granted any Israeli citizens who performed combat functions during their military service the right to bear arms.
“Carry a gun — it’s a lifesaver,” he asserted.
Since October 7, over 100,000 applications for gun licenses have been filed. This process generally took up to a year but now could be consummated in two weeks or so.
Simcha Rothman, a prominent right-wing figure, expressed his further support for relaxing gun control laws in the country. Specifically, he wants any Israeli who has military or national service to automatically have the right to carry firearms unless they have a mental illness or a criminal record — two factors that would bar them from owning them
“It’s not a bad idea. I don’t know whether to describe it as a human right to carry a gun or as a state interest,” he stated, “but our enemies don’t have any trouble with getting state-of-the-art weapons.”
The right to self-defense is an interesting concept that many Americans take for granted. Living in a relatively safe and prosperous country often makes Americans not fully appreciate the importance of being able to defend oneself from violent criminal threats.
In the case of Israel, a right to self-defense could be a matter of life or death when it comes to confronting terrorist threats. One need not support Israel to recognize that a right to bear arms has universal utility in times of crisis that could prove to be lethal for thousands of people.