Israel = Anti-gun?

Oh Yeah

A while ago I wrote a post about Sig’s PDW conversion kit for pistols.

Well I came across this article at the Firearm Blog, about Israeli police units utilizing a very similar device (with the addition of a folding buttstock) with their pistols.  The article quotes Israel Defense: “It will significantly improve security capabilities, with regards to range, speed, precision and quality of fire,” says Yotam Gal, of CAA Tactical. “These systems are already serving quite a few security bodies around the world, in countries such as Italy, France, in South America and more.”

So, someone is convinced that this conversion kits make a difference.  Interesting.  Having a buttstock probably makes it more effective than the NFA-compliant device that Sig is offering.

But far more interesting is this section of the Firearm Blog post:


“Pistol ownership in Israel is onerous and they do not allow people to own more than one. Rifle ownership is severely curtailed and few people outside the military or local militia are allowed to possess them.”

A little Googling turns up more detailed information:

“But guns are ubiquitous in Israel, where most 18-year-olds are drafted into the army after high school.

However, once those soldiers finish their service two or three years later, they are subject to civilian gun control regulations that are much stricter than American laws.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible for civilians who live in Israel to acquire an arsenal of weaponry…”

I had no idea.  But there’s more:

“Israel’s department of public security considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right. Gun owners in Israel are limited to owning one pistol, and must undergo extensive mental and physical tests before they can receive a weapon, and gun owners are limited to 50 rounds of ammunition per year.

Not all Israelis, however, may own guns. In order to own a pistol, an Israeli must for two years have been either a captain in the army or a former lieutenant colonel. Israelis with an equivalent rank in other security organizations may also own a pistol. 

In addition, residents of West Bank settlements, and those who work there, may own pistols for self-defense.

Other groups of Israelis, such as professional hunters and sharpshooters, or people transporting dangerous goods, may also own firearms. And Israelis may keep unloaded guns they inherited or received as a gift.”

That sounds pretty onerous to me.  The JFPO website has more detailed information on Israeli gun laws:

4. Applicant must fall into one of the following categories:

a. Part-time reservist (volunteer) for 3 years- may own 1 handgun
b. Such a reservist (volunteer) is a member of a gun club – may own 1 rifle
c. Professional, licensed public transportation driver, transporting a minimum of 5 passengers – may own 1 handgun
d. Licensed animal control officer- may own 2 hunting rifles, *not* full automatic weapons, or semi-automatic weapons with a limited capacity magazine.
e. Full-time dealer of jewelry or large sums of cash or valuables – may own 1 handgun

I cannot claim to know about the justice system in Israel, besides the fact that they do not have the death penalty for criminals  (terrorists are a different story).  Wikipedia says that they don’t use juries; trials are overseen by a judge or a 3-judge panel.  How effective is it?

Over 85% of criminal cases filed with Israeli courts end with a plea bargain. Though accepting a plea bargain is considered a de facto guilty plea, it also leads to a lighter sentence. Of the cases that do go to trial, 71.5% end with a partial conviction, 21.6% with a full conviction, and 0.3% end with a full acquittal. Another 2.1% of cases are dismissed after the defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, 1.2% are dismissed over technicalities, and in 0.9% the charges are dropped.”

Is the Israeli justice system that super efficient and accurate?  Their homicide rate is 2.4 per 100000 (the U.S. is 4.8).

While Israel grants rights to its arab citizens that are far more comprehensive than Israelis could ever expect to receive in arab countries, on the whole it seems that Israel treats its citizens as potential criminals and security threats.


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