Police offering amnesty for return of illegal guns

Operation follows effort in Northern District in which 2,000 firearms, other weapons were collected from citizens.

Lahav gun store 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Lahav gun store 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The Israel Police will be launching a nationwide illegal- gun return on Sunday, allowing citizens to bring back illegally possessed firearms in exchange for amnesty.
The operation follows a district- wide effort in the Northern District in recent weeks, during which, police said, they had so far collected over 2,000 firearms and other weapons from citizens. Police said these included guns whose original owners had passed away, leaving the firearms to their loved ones – among them a revolver from 1949 owned by a 90-year-old woman in the district.
During the nationwide operation, which will run through June 8, citizens will have the chance to return firearms to any police station in the country and receive absolution. The amnesty does not apply to any crimes that may have been committed with the guns in question.
While the legal purchase of guns is strictly controlled, there is a very large, highly-lucrative black market for guns smuggled into the country or stolen from private citizens and the army. Under the national penal code, possession of an illegal firearm can carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
Bella Gillenberg, chief inspector of the police’s national operations branch, said the offer applied to all firearms and weapons, including grenades, mines and other military weaponry that citizens may have come across during their army service.
The return also applies to people whose gun licenses have expired, or who have inherited guns that are not registered in their names.
These people will be allowed to check in the guns at a police station while they renew or attain licenses, and will not face charges, she said.
Gillenberg said police “have an interest in getting these weapons out of the hands of the public, but we also know there are people in the public who are in possession of guns that they may want out of the house, but [who] don’t want to face any charges.”