More than a half million Israelis who are infantry veterans are now eligible for firearm permits in a move by the government to improve the response to terrorist attacks.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced Monday that the gun restrictions are now eased to allow Israelis who served in infantry units to be immediately eligible to carry firearms, i24NEWS reports.
The rollback of restrictions will also apply to police officers with similar training, military officers with the rank of first lieutenants or higher, and non-commissioned officers with the rank of first sergeant or higher who have in the past given up their weapons after finishing their service.
“Many civilians saved lives during terror attacks in an era of ‘lone terrorism,’ Erdan said in a statement. “The more skilled civilians carrying weapons, the greater the chance of thwarting attacks without casualties and reducing the number of casualties.”
New training regulations will also be required for applicants and those who already have permits.
Currently, 150,000 Israelis reportedly have gun licenses; many who live in settlements or border areas or those who work in security who own firearms for self-defense purposes. This number does not include military personnel.
Permit holders in Israel must be 21 and in good psychological health and must renew their permits every three years.