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Cross Posted to The Progressive Zionist

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Tragedy, social media and Wing-nut sites have been rife with stories about Israeli teachers being armed and carrying weapons. Throughout Facebook you see this image from SemDem's recommended Diary:

Many, on the Right, have seen this and credited the lack of Israeli School shootings to having a heavily armed populace. I remember before the election a "gun nut" acquaintance of mine telling me that if President Obama won, that he was going to move to Israel because the President was going to take away all of his weapons (well, it was that or stick around for the "second American Revolution"). He was heartbroken, when I shattered his image of Israel by explaining that actually they have incredibly strict Gun Control there.

In the wake of Sandy Hook now we see this from the Israelis: Israelis shoot down NRA's claim that the Jewish State uses more weapons to keep schools safe

Appearing on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, NRA honcho LaPierre said: “Israel had a whole lot of school shootings, until they did one thing. They said we’re going to stop it and they put armed security in every school and they have not had a problem since then.”

 But Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said the situation in Israel was “fundamentally different” from that in the United States.

“We didn’t have a series of school shootings, and they had nothing to do with the issue at hand in the United States. We had to deal with terrorism,” said Palmor.

“What removed the danger was not the armed guards but an overall anti-terror policy and anti-terror operations which brought street terrorism down to nearly zero over a number of years,” he said. “It would be better not to drag Israel into what is an internal American discussion,” he added.

“There is no comparison between maniacs with psychological problems opening fire at random to kill innocent people and trained terrorists trying to murder Israeli children,” said Reuven Berko, a retired Israeli Army colonel and senior police officer.

Having lived in Israel and trained in courses in Israeli Tactical Point Shooting, I can say that this is very true. There is a very strict emphasis in Israel on gun safety and much less of a "cowboy mentality". Guns are highly regulated and the only people that are out there "carrying" are Soldiers and others connected to Security. The emphasis on safety and accidental discharge are much more stringent than they are here. For instance, in the U.S. even the Police will carry a "round in the chamber" in Israel that is strictly forbidden. They worry about civilian shootings so that even anti-Terror units don't pre-load that round.

Here are Israeli Gun Control Statistics and Regulations. A sampling of that is here:

Gun Owner Licensing
Genuine Reason Required for Firearm License:
Applicants for a gun owner’s license in Israel are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence, hunting and sport

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession
The minimum age for gun ownership in Israel is 27 years and 21 years if served in the military30

Gun Owner Background Checks
An applicant for a firearm licence in Israel must pass background checks which consider health, mental and criminal30 records

Gun Owner Licensing Period
In Israel gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every 3 years

Licensing Records
In Israel, authorities maintain a record33 34 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition
A licensed firearm owner in Israel is permitted to possess a limited quantity of ammunition.

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms:The estimated total number of guns held by civilians in Israel is 500,000

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population
The rate of private gun ownership in Israel is 7.32 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking
In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Israel ranked at No. 81

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking
In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 179 countries, Israel ranked at No. 79

Number of Registered Firearms:
The number of registered guns in Israel is reported to be 403,000

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population:
The rate of registered firearms per 100 people in Israel is 5.98

As one can see... It is not quite the picture that the Right and the NRA like to push.

Anyway, it is time that Americans come to the "table" to have a sane and realistic conversation about Gun Control in America. As I mentioned, I am a gun-owner and I support our second amendment rights to have guns. HOWEVER, having handled these weapons, I understand the power involved in guns. I personally support strict controls and testing requirements for gun ownership. I am all in agreement with a thirty day waiting period, some sort of formal class training leading to licensing, some form of psychological profiling, severe background checks and other methods for making sure that these objects are strictly regulated.

I strongly believe the adage "Guns don't kill people, People kill people - But GUN'S Sure make it a lot easier". They do, and it is time, as Americans, that we understand this and begin a rational discussion around just this issue so that incidents like Sandy Hook, Aurora, and the horror of daily events in our urban areas that go unreported don't ever happen again.


Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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