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Women in Israel are Arming Themselves in Wake of Terror Attacks

Applications for firearm permits have historically risen in times of expanded terrorism.
A girl shooting a pistol at a shooting range in Gush Etzion. Nati Shohat/Flash90
A girl shooting a pistol at a shooting range in Gush Etzion. Nati Shohat/Flash90

More women in Israel are applying for firearms licenses as a result of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on southern Israel, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post.

The head of the Israeli weapons training school Caliber 3, Sharon Gat, told the newspaper, “Since October 7, many women have been coming to Caliber 3 to get licenses and train."

He further described the reason for the increase, “because a lot of women go out alone, live alone, or are at home alone while their husbands are away.”

Gat said that the rise in the number of women seeking pistol permits was in the "hundreds of percentages."

Typically, to obtain a gun license in Israel an applicant must be a citizen who has lived in the state for three years, have knowledge of Hebrew, pass a medical exam, live or work in a designated dangerous location, and complete annual certification training. Even if these requirements are met there has never been a guarantee that the police will approve the application. These rules also apply to most individuals who have completed military service.

Once permission is granted, the licensee may only possess the specific weapon that the permit is secured to and no more than 50 rounds of ammunition.

Earlier this year, Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir, recommended easing the historically strict rules, citing the need for individuals to protect themselves during terrorist attacks. The minister proposed increasing the number of licensing officials and removing a personal interview requirement for people in security related jobs with the intention to, “allow the issuance of thousands of weapons licenses per month.”

On Oct. 8, Ben Gvir announced that in response to the massacre of civilians by Hamas there would be further liberalization of the nation's gun laws, “in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves.”

These reforms eliminated in-person interviews, suspended renewal requirements, and increased the amount of ammunition that an individual could possess.

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