Israeli Citizens

Can Israeli Citizens Have Guns? The Criteria and Recent Developments

As of now, Israeli citizens can own guns, but not without conditions. To possess a firearm, one must have a justified reason like job requirements or living in a high-risk area. There’s an age criterion influenced by IDF service, a clean slate from crimes, a passed training course, a background check, and a mandatory health evaluation. What’s interesting is the noticeable rise in gun license applications, which leaped from 19,000 in 2021 to a staggering 42,236 the following year.


Diving deeper, the right to gun ownership in Israel isn’t as straightforward as in some other countries. These policies stem from Israel’s unique security situation, societal norms, and historical context. The conditions are stringent, and only a fraction of the population, roughly 2%, owns firearms.

Summary of Can Israeli Citizens Have Guns

Criteria/Event Details/Statistics
Eligibility for Gun Ownership Need based on job or security, age, no criminal record
Medical and Training Requirement Mandatory health check and training course
Limitations on Firearm and Ammunition One gun and 50 bullets
Gun License Application Growth From 19,000 in 2021 to 42,236 in the subsequent year
National Security Minister’s Take Advocacy for more lenient gun laws
Recent Government Actions Push by Itamar Ben-Gvir to permit more citizens to be armed
Percentage of Gun Owners (Israel vs. U.S.) 2% in Israel compared to 30% in the U.S.
Public Demand Calls to ease restrictive gun laws post-Hamas terror attacks

Eligibility for Gun Ownership in Israel

In Israel, owning a gun isn’t a mere right; it’s closely tied to one’s circumstances and needs. A prime reason could be a job that demands a firearm or residing in an area prone to security threats. Age plays a role too. Depending on one’s history with the IDF service, there are age limitations to consider. Furthermore, any trace of a criminal past can invalidate one’s chances. Successfully navigating a training module and an exhaustive background scrutiny is essential. Finally, a clean bill of health, both mentally and physically, is non-negotiable.

Limitations on Gun Ownership

While some might clear the stringent criteria, their firearm possession is still restricted. Israeli laws cap personal gun ownership to just one firearm. Additionally, they can’t possess more than 50 bullets. Such limitations underscore the country’s approach to strike a balance between personal security and societal safety.

Recent Trends in Gun Ownership

The figures tell a compelling story. From 19,000 gun license applications in 2021, the number more than doubled to 42,236 the next year. This surge is a testament to the changing dynamics and perceptions around gun ownership in Israel. Reinforcing this shift is the National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. He has been a vocal proponent of liberalizing Israel’s gun laws, asserting, “When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves.”

Government Response to Public Pressure

The call for reform reached a pivotal moment on October 08, 2023. Itamar Ben-Gvir, through a post on X (formerly Twitter), declared his directive for the Firearms Licensing Division. The objective? An “emergency operation” designed to enable a larger segment of Israelis to arm themselves.

A Comparison with Other Countries

Drawing a parallel with the U.S., only 2% of Israelis own guns, in stark contrast to America’s 30%. Such disparities highlight the profound differences in societal norms, gun culture, and legislative frameworks between nations.

Israeli Citizens’ Call for Loosening Gun Laws

Recent tragic events have been catalysts for change. The aftermath of the brutal Hamas terror attack, which claimed over 1,200 Israeli lives, has intensified public outcry. This grievous incident and the ensuing conflict led to vehement calls from Israeli citizens. Their plea? For the government to reconsider and relax the nation’s restrictive firearm regulations.


The intricate tapestry of Israel’s gun ownership is woven from threads of historical context, security concerns, and public sentiment. While the conditions to own a firearm remain stringent, the landscape is shifting. With rising demands for relaxed rules, it’s imperative to prioritize both individual rights and societal safety. Responsible gun ownership in Israel is not just about having a weapon; it’s about ensuring a secure future for all citizens.


1. Can any Israeli citizen own a gun?
No, they must meet specific criteria like job demands, living in high-risk areas, age requirements, and more.


2. How many bullets can an Israeli citizen possess?
A citizen, once approved, can own up to 50 bullets.


3. What sparked the recent demand for more lenient gun laws in Israel?
The devastating Hamas terror attack and subsequent conflict led to increased public calls for relaxed gun regulations.


4. How does Israel’s gun ownership compare to the U.S.?
While about 30% of Americans own a gun, only 2% of Israelis possess firearms.