Defenseless in the Holy Land


The following is an op-ed by Elliot Pierce.

Defenseless in the Holy Land

Lessons from Israel’s Gun Laws


Will the events in Israel change opinions on gun control in the United States? Will the stories and images of citizens left defenseless cause Americans to rethink support for gun control measures? The situation in Israel stands as a warning of what can happen when citizens are heavily regulated and stripped of their natural rights to self-defense.

Israel has strict gun regulations, which include an assault-weapons ban and compulsory registration of gun ownership with the government.

To acquire a gun license in Israel, an applicant needs to:

  • Be either an Israeli citizen or a permanent resident with at least three consecutive years of residency.
  • Have basic proficiency in Hebrew.
  • Undergo a health assessment.
  • Meet age criteria: 27 for non-military service citizens, 21 for veterans, and 45 for non-citizen permanent residents.
  • Prove they have a secure storage place at home for the firearm.
  • Demonstrate a genuine reason for firearm possession.
  • Complete a thorough background check, encompassing criminal, health, and mental evaluations.
  • Finish a weapons-training course.

It’s worth noting that a license holder can own just one handgun and buy a maximum of 50 bullets annually. Interestingly, around 40% of firearm permit applications are denied. Furthermore, gun owners must renew and re-qualify for their licenses every three years, and an official register maintains a record of all privately held firearms’ acquisition, possession, and transfer.

Before 2018, firearm licenses were primarily limited to specific groups: retired military officials, police, prison guards, residents or workers in West Bank settlements, and certified hunters or animal-control officers.

Should a young adult or a senior citizen or someone with minor health concerns, who might be perfectly capable, be left unprotected and defenseless? Isn’t the need (and right) for self-defense inherent?

With the level of external threats Israel experiences, it often demonstrates that the theory of a good guy with a gun is indeed effective. Unfortunately, while the regulations and gun control measures in Israel might sound sensible and prudent, the reality is many are still left without a means to defend themselves in dire situations.

The essence of self-defense is the ability to protect oneself and one’s family when threats arise. In a nation as geopolitically charged and threatened as Israel, it’s baffling that so many barriers are placed before citizens seeking to arm themselves.

Compare this to the United States. The U.S. Constitution, with its Second Amendment, ensures the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms are not just acknowledged but enshrined and protected. It’s more than just self-defense; it’s about the balance of power, ensuring that citizens aren’t rendered powerless by either internal or external threats.

Americans, particularly those who support gun control measures, should view Israel’s situation as a stark reminder. This is a tragic example of the dangers that can result from well-intentioned policies.