Firearm regulation for security guards goes into effect

Ministry of Public Security law requires guards to deposit weapons at place of work at end of shifts.

Gun [illustrative] 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri )
Gun [illustrative] 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri )
A regulation of the Public Security Ministry went into effect on Tuesday morning, requiring all armed security guards to deposit their weapons at their place of work at the end of their shift.
While the guideline has been in place since 2008, it was rarely enforced. After the highly-publicized mass murder of four people in May in Beersheba by an ex-security guard using his weapon, the ministry said that as of August 27, 2013 all security guard weapons would have to be left with employers at the end of shifts.
One place that won’t be affected are Israel’s educational institutions, where state law forbids the storage of weapons on its property. The ministry said they are working to formulate a way to apply the guideline to school security guards as well, saying that until then thousands of security guards will be able to take their firearms home.
Yaakov Amit, the head of the Firearms Licensing Department of the Public Security Ministry, said that the ministry has spent the past several months notifying businesses that the regulation would soon go into effect. He continued that the “point [of the law] is to reduce the number of guns in the hands of the public.”
He said that establishments found to be in violation of the guideline are subject to lose their firearms license.
“We believe that if there are less firearms there will be less use of firearms,” Amit said, adding that the ministry doesn’t believe its a cure-all for firearms violence but that “it will surely reduce them.”
There are currently around 290,000 privately-owned firearms in Israel, according to Amit, including the over 170,000 owned by private individuals and the rest which belong to security companies, shooting ranges, and settlements.
Over the past decade there have been over 30 murders committed by security guards using their service firearm when off-duty. These include a high number of spousal murders, as well as a killing last month of a father and daughter at a Jerusalem law firm.
Some of the reluctance to adhere to the law has come from smaller places of business which expressed difficulties finding ways to secure the guns, as well as the fear that having firearms on the premises would encourage break-ins, due to the high value of firearms on the black market, where a handgun can sell for as much as NIS 10,000 to 15,000.