Success! Gun Licensing Reform in Response to ACRI's Petition
Minister of Public Security Omer Bar-Lev reversed his predecessor’s decision and accepted the position of Attorney General Mandelblit to establish criteria for carrying civilian weapons in secondary legislation.
On 22.7.21, Minister Bar-Lev informed the High Court that he accepts the Attorney General’s position, according to which criteria must be set for the issuance of a private weapon license in secondary legislation.
According to an updated statement issued today by the State Attorney’s Office, the Ministry of Public Security will begin preparing a draft to be submitted to the Knesset’s Interior and Environmental Protection Committee.
This announcement from the State Attorney’s Office comes in response to a petition filed in November 2018 by the “Gun Free Kitchen Table” Coalition, which includes several organizations, among them the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Itaach Maaki, The Israel Women’s Network, Isha L’Isha Feminist Center, and more. The petition argued against the Minister of Public Security’s policy that drastically expanded access to civilian weapons and their presence in both the public and private spheres. Among other things, it was argued in the petition that the determination of criteria for granting a private firearms license requires anchoring in regulations set forth with the approval of a Knesset committee, rather than executive orders from the Minister of Public Security. In February 2020, the High Court issued a conditional order in response to the petition.
The “Gun Free Kitchen Table” Coalition is pleased that its struggle has led to a change in the Ministry of Public Security’s policy regarding the possession of weapons.
Attorney Anne Suciu from the Association for Civil Rights and Attorney Neta Levy from Itach-Maaki, who represent the coalition in the petition to the High Court, said: "The new Minister of Public Security has taken a step in the right direction in recognizing that the conditions for obtaining a private firearms license in Israel should be regulated by transparent legislation and open to public discussion. This move is especially vital after recent years in which ministers have dangerously expanded, in an unprecedented fashion, the scope of those entitled to possess weapons. It is our hope that the Interior Committee will limit conditions and restore the arms reduction policy that has been in place for decades. Unfortunately, with regard to security weapons, the new Minister continues the irresponsible policy of those who came before him. The Minister's decision to extend the permit given to security guards to take their weapon home with them creates a clear risk to their family members and to themselves. The data regarding the murder of women and suicides by civilian weapons should be keeping the Minister up at night, and lead to a change in the distorted policy of his predecessors."