A quarter of a million Israeli citizens possess personal firearms, according to an Interior Ministry survey.
The survey said that as of June 2005, 236,879 Israeli citizens had guns. At the same time, the survey pointed to a downwards trend in personal weapon possession.
The study also found that a worrying number of guns were held without valid license, 34,000, due to a failure by owners to renew their licenses.
A spokesman for the firearms branch of the Interior Ministry, Yaakov Amit, said that the government had begun to target those who did not renew licenses.
“A person who shows up on the computers as not having renewed a license for their firearm is informed to apply for a new license. It’s very effective, far more then when we relied on the police, who were not able to enforce this law fully.”
Since 1996, there has been a significant drop in the ownership of private firearms.
In order to qualify for a license, an applicant must pass a number of conditions set, including an assessment of their medical and mental health, and whether they live or work in dangerous areas.
A decade ago, there were almost no limitations on the ownership of guns.