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Gun Laws Around the World: How Does the United States Compare to Israel?

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 11:10 AM

When gun rights advocates discuss gun laws around the world, they frequently point to Israel as an example of a country with lax gun laws but little gun violence. The reality is vastly different, however. The perception of rampant gun ownership in Israel likely stems from the country’s mandatory military service, ongoing regional disputes, and frequent incidents of terrorism, but Israel’s laws are actually quite strict.

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In America, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects gun ownership. In Israel, while current laws do allow limited gun ownership, there is no legal or constitutional right to firearms. That means that the Israeli government has far greater reach in restricting guns than the American government has. The culture reflects this difference. Like most Europeans, Israelis tend to see gun ownership as a privilege to be earned rather than a right that can’t be violated, according to an opinion piece in the Huffington Post. Many Israelis also see gun ownership as a necessary burden and would much rather be able to live securely without guns.

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In Israel, semi-automatic and automatic weapons are banned completely, according to the website GunPolicy.org. Only licensed individuals may own handguns, and those licenses are hard to come by. First, there are age restrictions. The minimum age is 21 for those who have served in the military and 27 for those who did not. There is a background check that includes mental health and criminal records. Applicants must prove knowledge of firearm safety and current laws and must also provide a genuine reason for needing a gun. Ammunition is limited, and the government keeps records of all guns and the transactions associated with them. Moreover, the penalty for owning an illegal firearm is rather stiff, with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Israelis who are licensed gun owners are free to carry their weapons in public, either concealed or carried openly. This may be one reason Israel is perceived to have lax gun laws – it’s not uncommon to see guns on the street. However, the process of becoming a gun owner in the first place is much more difficult than it is in the United States.

For more on gun laws around the world check out the links below.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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When gun rights advocates discuss gun laws around the world, they frequently point to Israel as an example of a country with lax gun laws but little gun violence
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2015-10-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 11:10 AM
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