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July 14, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

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Carrying a rifle in the fields.

Of Gun Control
In The Land Of Uzis

MITCHELL BARD

Special to The Jewish News

A

nyone who has ever
visited Israel is im-
mediately struck by
the omnipresence of soldiers
carrying guns — M16s, Uzis,
Galil Assault Rifles.
Initially, this is quite
disturbing, but tourists quick-
ly recognize that most of the
people carrying weapons on
the street and in buses treat
them almost like luggage.
Israelis spend three years in
the army and then about one
month a year in the reserves,
so soldiers are always coming
and going.
Given this apparent laxity,
it may come as a surprise to
know that Israel has very
strict gun control laws.
As Carl Schrag noted in the
Jerusalem Post, it is ironic
that anyone would worry
about a few handguns when
there are so many other
lethal weapons around.
Nevertheless, to own a hand-
gun in Israel, it is necessary
to obtain a license from the
Interior Ministry.
Licenses are granted only to
people who can justify owning
one; for example, because
they live in an area (such as
the occupied territories)
where personal security is
threatened, or hold a
dangerous job. The applicant
must also provide documenta-

tion to back up his claim.
Once these criteria are
satisfied, the Interior
Ministry sends the applica-
tion to the police and health
ministries to check their
records for evidence of
criminal activity or mental
illness.
If an applicant is not dis-
qualified by either of these
ministries, he still must pass
a course at a shooting range
and present the certificate to
the Interior Ministry. At that
point, the gun owner is given
a license to own a specific
weapon whose serial number
and model is recorded with
the ministry.

Additional laws regulate
the use of the licensed
firearm. For example, guns
cannot be transferred to so-
meone who does not hold the
license for that particular
weapon. In most public
buildings, bags are searched
and people carrying guns
must produce their licenses.
They can't leave their
weapons in the car because it
is illegal to keep a gun unat-
tended in a vehicle. Weapons
and ammunition must be
stored separately when the
gun is not being carried by
the owner.
The Interior Ministry also
limits the amount of am-
munition gun-owners can
purchase in a single year to
100 rounds, with the excep-

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