Following the rise in terror attacks across Israel, the legal defense organization Honenu is calling on Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) to fix the bureaucratic procrastination in his Ministry and in the police over gun licenses.
Honenu has been dealing with the issue for years and is finding more and more cases in which citizens, including members of emergency response teams and reserve officers in the IDF's special forces units, are struggling to receive gun licenses, or lose their licenses for strange reasons. When they try to fix the problems, they are confronted by delays and barriers.
In most cases Honenu is able to restore the gun licenses, though doing so requires navigating through a complex bureaucratic process.
The organization states that most of the cases result from the opening of a criminal case, even if it's over a minor issue unrelated to violence or if the file is immediately closed. Even these cases can result in a citizen losing his or her gun license due to a clerk's decision.
Only a few weeks ago, a member of a local emergency response team approached Honenu after being informed that his personal gun license was being revoked due to a four-year-old criminal case that had been opened and immediately closed.
The case dealt with the man's actions when someone infiltrated his community. Ultimately it was determined that he acted responsibly and the file was closed. Four years later, though, his license was revoked because of the existence of a police file on the man.
Honenu adds that the weapons are often returned, though it is a complicated process that can last for months, despite the fact that all those involved know that there is no reason to revoke the license.
"Bureaucracy is an annoyance that affects many citizens in all fields. But in this issue of gun licenses, it can truly endanger lives," says Honenu director Shmuel Medad.
"We see, again and again, how armed civilians save lives, and where there are no weapons it can lead to serious damage. We call on Minister Erdan to shake up the system, to come to grips with what is happening and to make sure that there will not be a situation in which a gun license is revoked or delayed for no real reason. It's not acceptable for an emergency response volunteer or officer in an elite unit to be disarmed during a time in which attack follows attack, only due to bureaucracy."