Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Interesting Set of Facts About Guns and Violence Prevention

Amidst the American "debate" about responsible gun ownership in recent weeks, there have been some references from gun-rights advocates to Israel. It has been suggested, for example, that Israel suffers fewer shootings in schools (despite being surrounded by enemies) because they arm their teachers:

As usual, the facts are a little more complicated than the memes. It turns out, according to a Washington Post story in today's paper, that Israel has far more restrictive gun laws than the US does. Only about 3.5% of the Israeli population has a permit to own and carry a gun, and half of those work for security firms. The paperwork for a permit is far more extensive, and must include a justification acceptable to the state. Most Israelis would be turned down if they applied.

Were the United States to adopt Israel's laws on gun ownership the NRA would go ballistic. Yet Israelis understand what some of us don't seem to want to: having lots of untrained people running around with guns makes everyone less safe, not more. Perhaps Wayne LaPierre and his colleagues should take a trip to Israel. They might learn something useful.

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