Thousands of gun permits will be approved each month with a massive expansion of the National Security Ministry's licensing division, Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced on Thursday morning after a series of meetings on easing the licensing process over the week.
Ben-Gvir reaffirmed his Tuesday proposal to almost double the work force of his ministry’s licensing division. On Thursday he said that the division’s operating hours and days would be increased.
The objective of the division expansion would be to double the amount of interviews for permit applicants per hour. Ben-Gvir set the capacity benchmark of 5,000 to 8,000 interviews per month.
As part of the process, after submitting the needed documents, applicants for Israeli gun licenses must have a short interview with a National Security Ministry representative to judge their eligibility for a gun permit. There are certain eligibility criteria that increase the favorability of receiving a license, such as past or current security positions.
A new proposal announced on Thursday would remove the interview part of the application process for private firearm ownership for members of security forces. This would include IDF, police and Border Police officers, as well as Shin Bet and Mossad agents, and firefighters.
The announcement said this would “save time and a great deal of burden on the interview department,” further speeding up the process for other applications.
According to the ministry, over 17,000 applications from 2022 are still waiting to be processed. On Tuesday, it reported that of these applications, over 10,000 were stuck waiting for interviews.
Ben-Gvir proposed the gun permit reforms in response to a pair of terrorist shooting attacks in Jerusalem over the weekend. On Friday night, seven people were killed and three injured by a Palestinian shooter in front of a Neveh Ya’acov synagogue. And on Saturday, a 13-year-old shooter injured a father and son near the City of David, but the armed father managed to subdue his assailant with his own private arm. Ben-Gvir has pointed at this incident as proof of concept for his proposal to counter terrorist attacks.
“I am very happy that the Firearms Division is joining the effort for the possibility that the citizens of Israel will defend themselves,” Ben-Gvir said on Thursday morning.
“Two events that took place over the weekend proved the difference between an incident in Neveh Ya’acov – where there was no civilian with a weapon and, to our great regret, seven Jews were massacred – and the incident in the City of David where to our great joy a civilian fired his personal weapon and quickly neutralized the terrorist,” the national security minister said.
“This is an excellent example of the great necessity and importance of citizens carrying weapons – and we have the duty to speed up the process and dramatically shorten the bureaucracy: for our children [and] for the lives of all of us.”