According to the National Security Ministry, some 1,700 weapons permits are being issued every day, tens of thousands each month, an increase of thousands of percent compared to the previous years.
Following the significant easing of the prerequisites for firearm permits that were announced by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir shortly after the outbreak of the Gaza war, hundreds of thousands of citizens were included in the circle of eligibility for firearm carry permits. The ministry increased significantly the scope of licensing activity and the number of employees handling the issuance of permits to citizens and even recruited additional employees from other government offices for the task.
According to National Security’s recent data, since the outbreak of hostilities, as of early November, 236,006 new applications for private weapons permits have been submitted to the ministry’s firearms division, the same number as had been submitted in the previous 20 years.
And 31,048 conditional weapons permits have been issued to civilians who passed the new tests since the war started. In the meantime, more than 18,000 citizens have used their new permits, went through the full process, and purchased a gun.
There has been an extremely sharp increase compared with the corresponding periods in previous years: in November 2022, the division issued an average of 94 conditional approvals per day; and in November 2021, approximately 42 approvals per day, compared to approximately 1,700 per day on average in the first days of November 2023. This translates into a 1,800% increase compared to 2022 and more than 4,000% compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir stated: “The thorough staff work that we carried out in the ministry in the months leading up to the war is bearing fruit. The significant easing of the prerequisites means that hundreds of thousands of citizens who enter the circle of eligibility are purchasing weapons. These weapons, of course, do not replace the police, but since we cannot post a policeman in every corner, these weapons literally save lives. I call on everyone who is taking the exams and has not yet started the procedure to do so today. Arm yourself – and save lives.”
The National Security Ministry is aware that there are many applications awaiting approval, and prioritizes the system’s processing of applications submitted as needed, to issue the maximum number of approvals possible each day. In the meantime, the Ministry is urging the public to be patient as it is constantly working to increase permit output and streamline the process.
Meanwhile, the news website Hottest Place in Hell reported on Friday that data is being published showing a jump in the number of permit disqualifications on the grounds of mental incompetence and criminal records. The website cites a project calling itself “The handgun on the kitchen table,” showing a steep rise in the number of weapons permit refusals due to mental incompetence, from 58 disqualifications in 2019 to 217 in 2021. In those years, there was an increase of about 35% in police recommendations to revoke gun permits due to criminal danger.
The Civil Rights Association stated, “The possibility of ordering a gun permit via the Internet as easily as ordering a shirt is a horrifying frivolity on the part of the political echelon.”
Of course, the Civil Rights Association is misrepresenting the situation, because, you know, they can. The online government service for applying for a weapons permit, like the website of every government ministry, offers information on the process, including the prerequisites, as well as an archive of the forms that must be submitted.
One must wonder where the good folks from the Civil Rights Association buy their shirts.