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
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.
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
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.