Published 27 July, 2023
The Israeli Law Professors’ Forum for Democracy views with great concern the intent to expand considerably the number of people licensed to hold personal firearms, as indicated by the draft Firearms Regulations published for public comment on 11.7.2023.
· The Minister of National Security’s position, as expressed in several publications, is that the number of personal firearms in the civilian sphere should be increased by tens of thousands, in order, as he puts it, to increase the personal security of Israeli residents and citizens in the face of violence and terror. Based on verified data, however, we are gravely concerned that such a growth in the number of firearms will significantly increase the number of deaths by shooting (suicides, criminal acts in the domestic sphere, and escalation of violent events) and result in firearms falling into the hands of criminal elements. Particular attention must be drawn to the enormous risk this will pose to women in the domestic sphere.
· Before adopting any policy that will increase the number of personal firearms, a clear framework should be in place that will guarantee appropriate oversight and enforcement of the way in which licenses are granted and conformity with the conditions required for holding them. In the absence of such a framework, the professional literature makes clear that there is a significant risk that licensed firearms will be abused, that they will serve criminal purposes and fall into criminal hands, that they will be used to commit suicide, and that they will cause accidental deaths.
· The draft Regulations compromise standards of professional training, they include no provisions that guarantee careful use of firearms to prevent the firearms from being lost or falling into criminal hands, and they provide no plan to test the effects of the new policy in a scientific manner.