Since the onset of the war on October 7, 2023, Israel’s approach to civilian armament has seen a significant shift under the guidance of Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir. Recognizing the potential life-saving capacity of firearms in the hands of citizens, the ministry has adopted a policy to expedite and increase the number of gun license approvals significantly.
As reported by The Times of Israel, Ben Gvir highlighted the ministry’s proactive stance in facilitating access to firearms for eligible citizens. The policy changes have led to an unprecedented rate of gun license approvals, with the ministry processing up to 3,000 applications daily. This is a notable increase from the 1,700 daily approvals reported in mid-November. The total number of approved gun license applications since the conflict began has reached over 260,000, underscoring the government’s commitment to enhancing civilian preparedness in the face of security threats.
The context of this policy shift is anchored in recent events where armed civilians played a crucial role in neutralizing threats. A noteworthy instance involved an armed civilian, along with two off-duty soldiers, who successfully engaged terrorists at a Jerusalem bus stop, effectively stopping the attack.
This strategic move to arm civilians is rooted in the belief that an armed populace can act as a formidable line of defense, complementing the efforts of security forces in ensuring public safety. The increase in gun license approvals reflects a broader security strategy, aiming to equip citizens with the means to protect themselves and others in the face of immediate threats.
The decision to expedite and increase gun license approvals is a clear indication of the Israeli government’s response to the evolving security landscape. It highlights the importance placed on individual preparedness and the role of civilians in contributing to national security in times of conflict. This policy, driven by the current security challenges, represents a significant shift in Israel’s approach to civilian armament and reflects the government’s adaptive response to emerging security needs.