Aharonovitch to probe easing restrictions on firearms after Jerusalem terror attack

Public security minister to look at possibility of easing firearm restrictions in capital, instituting administrative detentions and reinforcing police presence.

Yitzhak Aharonovitch (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yitzhak Aharonovitch
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Tuesday ordered a probe to examine changes to the use of administrative detentions in addition to a series of other security measures in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack on synagogue worshipers in the capital that morning.
Administrative detention is indefinite without standard trial procedures or evidence, but with special periodic judicial proceedings to review the continued confinement.
The other measures include examining whether or not to ease gun-control restrictions, deploying four more companies of Border Patrol officers, reinforcing police patrols across the country with civil guard and police volunteers as well as setting up more checkpoints in Arab areas in east Jerusalem.
He ordered that Tuesday’s attackers be buried outside of Jerusalem and recommending that the houses of the perpetrators be demolished.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolition of the homes of the two terrorists who carried out Tuesday’s attack in Har Nof, the most significant operational step taken in the immediate aftermath of the murders.
The directive came at an emergency security session Netanyahu convened in his office with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other top security officials.
A representative for Aharonovitch said that in regards to gun control the minister meant that they would examine easing the restrictions with an emphasis on security personnel and ex-IDF officers, but did not say it excluded potentially applying to the wider public. Currently, to receive a firearm permit you must be over 21, an Israeli resident for more than three years, have passed a mental and physical health exam, background checks by the Public Security Ministry and shooting exams as well as courses at a licensed gun range. The permit holder is then allowed to order a single firearm with a one-time supply of 50 bullets from a licensed dealer. They must then retake the licensing exam and undergo testing at a gun range every three years. There is a stipulation requiring that any gun owner prove they have a safe at home to store it.
At the scene of the attack on Tuesday, Aharonovitch called on Jewish residents of the city not to seek revenge for the attack and to allow the police to do their job.
“We are not in an easy period. [We are in] a period of terrorist attacks. I cannot promise that there won’t be another terrorist attack, but I can I promise that we are doing everything we can to prevent one. But we cannot be everywhere,” he said.
He refused to call it an intifada, but rather a period of terrorist attacks.
Israel Police Insp.-Gen.
Yohanan Danino addressed reporters outside the scene of the attack on Tuesday, saying that it appears the terrorism was a grassroots, independent attack carried out by lone wolves, though he added that the investigation is not yet complete.
“It is very difficult to know ahead of time about every incident like this, therefore it is our job to do whatever we can as security forces in order to bring back security.” He added that all civilians must be aware and on alert, adding that police “have no magic solution for incidents like these.”
“Our goal is to show how we create deterrence, like by demolishing houses.
Our goal is beyond deterrence, it’s to show how we bring security back and this is what will be seen in the coming days.”
He added that increased police patrols have already played a role in providing better security, and that police are calling up reserve forces as well.
Danino said that he had canceled vacations for police across the country, and that they would remain on high alert until further notice.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.