Far from the public eye, the Knesset Interior Committee recently held the most fundamental deliberation that I can remember on the subject of liberty.
On the surface, the topic was purely technical and practical. The Israeli state comptroller’s report to the committee stated that 13 people were murdered in 2012 by people carrying licensed firearms. The conclusion? Arms-bearing citizens are dangerous.
I showed how that completely contradicts the truth and how this demagoguery – enthusiastically taken advantage of by the state – will lead to more murders and much more servitude.
The Ministry of Internal Security’s request was to require every arms-carrying citizen to undergo a psychological examination every number of years, in addition to all sorts of astronomical fees and levies. In other words, the state’s default position is that its citizens are psychos who must prove their sanity once every few years.
This is the continuation of the terrible process that has already cut in half the number of licensed arms bearers in Israel. This process expresses the approach that sees the state as sovereign and as some sort of dangerous property against which the state must defend itself. In other words: I endanger you, you endanger me, and the role of the state is to save us from each other – and itself from both of us.
This is Stalin at his best, now implemented by Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security.
The truth, of course, is just the opposite. The sovereign is the nation. The state is the nation’s important and necessary tool. But just like fire, it can easily get out of control and burn its founders. Thus the state is the danger and the nation must limit it and guard itself against it.
A number of years ago Israel decided to distribute thousands of automatic weapons to the PLO terror organization, which it deceivingly renamed the Palestinian Authority. Over a thousand Israelis were murdered by those weapons. So who is endangering whom? Who demonstrates insanity and who exactly needs to be supervised?
The right to defend oneself is a basic human right. The state must deny the right to carry a firearm for self-defensive purposes from anyone who has already proven that he or she is unworthy to do so, i.e. a violent background. But in Israel, the situation is reversed. A person has no natural right to carry a firearm for his or her self-defense. It is not God who gives the person this basic human right, but the state instead. And the state really does not want its citizens to bear arms. And no, the state’s method is not implemented in order to safeguard its citizens’ security.
We are witnessing a practice of weapons gathering from private citizens. The public is being abandoned to the wiles of the underworld or criminal and nationalistic elements from the Arab sector – which is overflowing with illegal weapons.
According to Dr. Shlomo Shapira, in more than 70 percent of terror attacks in which armed citizens were involved, those citizens were crucial in neutralizing the terrorist and ending the killing spree.
True, you may think, but the increase of murders carried out by licensed gun owners changes the picture. To this, we are told that 13 murders through the use of licensed weapons took place in 2012. What we are not told is that in 12 of those cases, the shooters were security guards. That is, the weapons belonged to a private company. It is perfectly logical for security companies to make any rules they so desire. (Anyone unwilling to undergo a psychological review before being accepted for the job is welcome to find work elsewhere.)
This leads to the conclusion that the Ministry of Internal Security is mixing the security companies with private human rights. It is presenting Israel’s citizenry with completely distorted data and due to a single incident, seeks to force all the private arms bearers in Israel to undergo a humiliating psychological evaluation.
The result of this course of action is that the amount of weapons carried by the public will continue to decrease and in those 70 percent of terror or criminal attacks, the responsible citizens with guns will not be able to protect the public.
In years past, Police chiefs Assaf Hefetz and Shlomo Aharonishki called on licensed gun owners to carry their weapons with them. They even declared that they consider those arms-bearing citizens an integral part of the security lineup.
But the process toward loss of liberty continues to unravel Israeli society. In the interim, we are losing both our security and our liberty.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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