Aharonovitch: Psychological exam will be necessary for acquiring gun license

There are 290,000 privately owned firearms in the hands of citizens and security companies in Israel.

August 1, 2013 01:33
1 minute read.

YITZHAK AHARONOVITCH 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

There are 290,000 privately owned firearms in the hands of citizens and security companies in Israel, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Wednesday.

His comments came during a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, in which he vowed to strengthen efforts to reduce the number of firearms in the hands of the public.

Aharonovitch said Israelis who wanted to take out a gun license would have to undergo a psychological exam and in some cases a psychiatric exam, a regulation that has already been on the books for some time. In addition, he told the committee that as of August 27, new weapons licenses for private businesses would only be issued after a special committee examined the request.

In recent months, the ministry has stepped up its efforts to encourage the public to turn in guns that are no longer licensed, and has repeatedly issued public statements expressing its support for greater firearm regulation. This follows several highly publicized recent incidents in which security guards carried out fatal shootings using their work-issued firearms.

According to Public Security Ministry regulations, security guards must turn in their guns at the end of their shifts – a regulation that is lightly enforced.

Shai Abrahami, the head of security for the Co-Op grocery chain, told the committee that if his guards had to check in their guns, the stores would be a target for break-ins.

The high regulation of firearms licenses in the country has helped foster a lucrative black market for firearms, since such regulation makes it more difficult to purchase guns legally. Pistols easily fetch between NIS 10,000 and NIS 15,000 on the street. The high prices often make people who do have guns the targets of robberies or break-ins.

At the end of the meeting, committee head Miri Regev called on the Public Security Ministry to implement planned firearm reforms as quickly as possible.

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