The recent increase in violence in Israel's streets
has resulted in the number of gun permit applications doubling, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.
According to the ministry's data, some 200 to 250 appeals are now being filed every month over permit requests which were denied, compared to about 100 in previous years.
"There is a notable increase in the number of appeals filed by people whose request to carry a firearm was denied," Yaakov Amit, head of the Interior Ministry's Firearms Division, told Ynet.
According to the division's firearms license eligibility criteria, a permit can be given to anyone living or working in high-risk areas – as defined by the ministry – to anyone whose profession is included in a respective ministry list, and to people who served in defense establishment ranks.
"People who don’t meet the criteria and are denied the permit appeal the decision citing personal safety reasons. They claim that with the rise in violence they don’t feel safe," said Amit. We also attribute the rise to the effect of the Dromi Law."
According to the Interior Ministry's Firearms Division, 200,000 private citizens in Israel are licensed to carry a personal firearm, compared with only 154,000 permits given over the years to various security companies.
Those unable to get a gun permit often opt for other means of personal protection. "Even the best police force cannot be there all the time, so many choose to buy alternatives," said Yoav Barzilai, VP of firearms development in a leading Israeli company and a former SWAT weapons officer.
According to Barzilai the demand for innovative protection devices have grown more elaborate over time: "A few days ago we were asked to design a pepper spray-based tear gas canister in the shape of a gun, for added deterrence.
"The feeling is that what the law allows simply isn’t enough of a deterrent and the gap leads to new demands. The sad fact is that we hear of murders all the time," he continued. "It's the fact that so many of them happen over such a short period of time that magnifies it.
"A surge in violence is always followed by a rise in demand for arms. Once a civilians feels threatened he immediately wants protection, but many lack the necessary understanding in weapons and end up risking themselves, like people who walk around with exposed guns.
"In times like these," he added, "We see people buying knives, guns, maces and guard dogs. Even I started carrying my gun again, when I'm out with my family."