Ministers approve allowing off-duty security guards to carry guns

Over 200,000 Israelis have gun licenses.

January 3, 2016 19:28
2 minute read.

Guns. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Security guards will be permitted to carry their guns when they’re not working, according to a Public Security Ministry bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

If the legislation passes three votes in the Knesset, it will make a temporary order from November 2014 a permanent part of the law.

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The guards would have to keep their guns in a safe at home.

“Trained guards carrying a weapon, even beyond their work hours, could contribute to dealing with hostile terrorist activity, thus helping security forces, and expanding the guard’s contribution to the public,” the proposal reads.

On Saturday night, on a visit to the site of Friday’s shooting in Tel Aviv, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan mentioned the bill as part of his efforts to fight terrorism.

“The public knows that police stopped dozens of attacks and defends the people of Israel, sometimes with their bodies. Civilians also help a lot, and I want to thank them for what they have done time after time to stop attacks,” Erdan said, pointing to the legislation as a way to make civilians more effective in stopping terrorists.

NA ’AMAT Movement of Working Women and Volunteers president Galia Wolloch came out against the bill, warning that it will increase the danger of gun violence.

“Our concern is based on past experience, which shows that weapons that were meant to defend the public were used more than once to murder wives and relatives,” Wolloch stated. “A situation in which there are so many weapons in the field could lead to accidents and tragedies.

Guns can reach the wrong hands, like those of criminals and children, and bring serious, irreversible results.”

On Saturday night, MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) said, “A gun isn’t a smartphone,” and pointing out that over 200,000 Israelis have gun licenses and there are 14,000 illegal guns in the country.

“Is that not enough... Do you want to add more?” he asked. “It’s important to remember that the Israel Police is responsible for security on the streets. The easing [of gun license rules] will only increase the chances of harmful shootings, especially in light of the tension.”

In 2011, Woman to Woman, the Jerusalem Shelter for Battered Women, reported to the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women that 24 people had been killed in the last decade by guns belonging to off-duty security guards.

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