Firearm applications surge in Israel since Hamas attack
The Ministry of National Security in Israel received around 180,500 new applications, averaging 10,000 requests daily, surpassing the total from the past two years combined.
Since the Hamas militant group launched its massive attack against Israel on 7 October, applications to carry private firearms have surged across the country, according to the Ministry of National Security.
As of 30 October, the Ministry said that they had received about 180,500 new applications and its centers received an average of 10,000 new requests per day, reports CNN.
Before October 7, there were around 850 new requests each week, it added.
Approximately 15,508 conditional permits and 9,255 new licenses have been issued since the attack, the Ministry said, adding that around 5,466 applications were also rejected.
There have been around 210,500 applications submitted so far in 2023, according to the Ministry.
The figure is more the past two years combined — about 42,000 applications were received for the entire year of 2022 and 20,000 applications in 2021.
Following the Hamas attack, the Ministry of National Security recognised the Israel towns near the Gaza border — Sderot, Ofakim and Netivot — as an "eligible place of residence" where it allowed as many citizens as possible to apply for a gun license.
Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has voiced his desire for more Israelis to carry firearms.
"A weapon saves lives. We saw that during a terrorist incident, those who saved the situation in real time and saved lives by neutralizing the terrorist, were people qualified to carry private firearms with a license,” CNN quoted Ben-Gvir as saying in a statement.
Licenses are issued free of charge and the Ministry of National Security has stated that it “thoroughly and responsibly checks every application, even after receiving the license”.
In order to obtain a firearm license, Israelis must meet certain requirements before they are able to carry a gun including prior experience, age, a health declaration by a doctor, an interview and training.