Gun license applications spike by 600% in Israel since March terror wave

New data reveals 151,015 private firearms are currently in the possession of 141,646 authorized civilians • Likud MK Nir Barkat insisted that more requests must be approved in 2022

 Israelis practice shooting handguns at a local shooting range in the northern town of Katsrin, Golan Heights, on April 3, 2022, following the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel.  (photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)
Israelis practice shooting handguns at a local shooting range in the northern town of Katsrin, Golan Heights, on April 3, 2022, following the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel.
(photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

Israel has seen a 600% increase in applications for a gun license following the wave of terror the state faced, which killed 21 civilians in multiple acts of terror, according to data revealed at a discussion of the Firearms Licensing Committee of the Public Security Ministry on Tuesday.

Committee chairperson MK Merav Ben-Ari (Yesh Atid) said that a separate discussion will be held to add onto the existing criteria for acquiring a gun license in Israel, in which both the Justice Ministry and the Public Security Ministry will participate.

Despite the concerning increase in a desire to hold a weapon, Ben-Ari insisted that the committee "wants to help the public that meets the criteria to possess personal weapons."

Likud MK Nir Barkat, who attended the discussion, insisted that more requests must be approved in 2022. 

"Everyone who serves in the reserve should be allowed to receive weapons in civilian life as well," he said. "We need 200,000 fighters to help the police protect their neighborhoods and families in the next state of emergency when attacked on several fronts. With the current system we will not reach these numbers because it can not provide an answer."

 Israelis practice shooting handguns at Jerusalem shooting range, following the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel. April 3, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israelis practice shooting handguns at Jerusalem shooting range, following the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel. April 3, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Indeed, Barkat is proposing a bill which would allow former combat soldiers in the IDF to go through a fast-track process to acquiring weapons as civilians.

Meanwhile, during the committee meeting, Firearms Division head Israel Avishar revealed that at the moment, 151,015 private firearms are currently in the possession of 141,646 authorized civilians.

While prior to the terror wave, Israel saw 600 requests for a private firearms license on average per month, according to division member Chen Cohen, following the wave of terror, Israel saw an average of 600 requests per day. 

There is a 600% increase in demand for private firearms, with 29,698 requests between March and May.

Firearms Division member Chen Cohen

These make up almost 93% of the altogether applications submitted so far in 2022. This, in contrast to 20,000 applications submitted in 2021 altogether, half of which were granted.

Cohen explained that oftentimes, after a state of extreme distress throughout the country, there is a rise in requests for firearms.