“Gun license bureaucracy endangers lives”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 16:36 Following an upsurge in terror attacks throughout Israel, Honenu calls on Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan to straighten out the bureaucracy in the Internal Security Ministry and the Israeli Police concerning the issuance of weapons licenses. Currently, the process involves unnecessary delays and unjustified cancellations. In recent years Honenu has handled an increasing number of instances of civilians, including members of rapid response squads and officers in elite reserve units, and even soldiers serving compulsory service, who either face unjustified difficulties when applying for gun licenses or receive a notice that their licenses have been canceled without just cause and encounter an insensitive bureaucracy. In most instances Honenu succeeds in having the licenses issued or returned, but the process is complex. Most of the instances involve a criminal case opened against the gun license bearer. However even when a case involves an insignificant matter not linked to violence, or when a case is closed immediately after it was opened, a gun license is still likely to be canceled or denied due to the bureaucracy of the Internal Security Ministry. In February 2016 a member of a rapid response squad in a Yehuda/Shomron community turned to Honenu for assistance after receiving an announcement that his gun license had been revoked because of a case that had been opened against him four years earlier for his conduct in handling an incidence of terrorist infiltration to his community. The case was closed very quickly because he was found to have acted properly. However four years later someone decided to cancel his gun license because the police have a case, albeit closed, on record against him. Almost certainly his weapon will eventually be returned to him once the process of appeals is complete, however the process involves lengthy forms, filing appeals, and enduring postponements that last months, and can last up to and over a year, despite the fact that all parties involved with the decision are fully aware that there were no grounds to revoke the gun license. “Bureaucracy is an annoying occurrence which many citizens encounter in all areas of life. However in the area of weapons licensing, the issue amounts to a genuine danger to life,” says Shmuel (Zangy) Meidad, the director of Honenu. “We see over and over again how armed citizens save lives, and where no-one is armed the situation is liable to lead to serious injuries, G-d forbid. We call on Minister Erden to shake up the system, to get into the thick of things, and to ensure that there will not be a situation in which a gun license is revoked or its issuance delayed without a valid reason. From our experience with dozens of cases we can confidently say that treatment of the current problem requires the simplest of steps. It is unacceptable that a member of a rapid response squad or an officer in an elite IDF unit goes around without a weapon at a time during which one terror attack follows another, only because of bureaucracy.”

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