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Israelis reevaluating gun control amid violence

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I have a friend who lives in Tel Aviv. His recounting rocket attacks while he and his wife just try to go about their lives is something that most of us will never fully appreciate. We’re not likely to see the kind of violence they’ve been seeing.

Because of it, though, it seems some there are rethinking the issue of gun control.

At the Caliber 3 shooting range in Gush Etzion, a cluster of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, business is booming.

“I’ve seen a big uptick,” said Sharon Gat, an Israeli colonel who founded the business in 2007. “Gun sales in the last two months have grown by 100 per cent, and the number of people coming to train [has also risen]. It’s always like that when the violence is up.”

For some at the range, obtaining a gun is a reaction to the wave of bloodshed that has engulfed Israel and the West Bank for the past year. The surge in violence has become the worst for a decade, with Israeli forces killing more than 250 Palestinians in a series of near-nightly raids in response to a spate of Palestinian attacks that have killed more than 40 Israelis.

But broader gun ownership is also a goal championed by Israel’s ultranationalist national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who argues it would make the public safer. Critics dispute this, saying that more guns will fuel violence rather than deter it and exacerbate already soaring tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Advocates argue that arming more civilians would plug gaps the security forces cannot fill. “We in Israel understood that the police and the military and the security can’t be everywhere every time,” said Gat. “You have to create a layer that isn’t dependent on those . . . And we decided that it will be civilians.”

Unsurprisingly, I agree.

What we have in the United States isn’t the same kind of violence. We don’t have to worry about rocket attacks or suicide bombings, as a general rule. Not yet, anyway.

However, the truth of the matter is that we still have plenty of violence, and the police can’t be everywhere. Oh, I’m sure most law enforcement would love to be able to stop every crime before it happens, but that’s just not possible.

At all.

Which is why gun control is a problem.

“But it stops criminals from getting guns,” someone will argue, to which I reply by pointing out that our violent crime rates are starting to soar in spite of the gun control on the books, that many states have passed more and more gun control and they’re seeing the same spike as those that didn’t.

I’d also point out that criminals don’t obey gun control laws in the first place. Breaking laws is kind of a job requirement, after all, so what’s one more law to break?

So while Israel is rethinking gun control, we should be as well, and for the same reason.

Granted, I wouldn’t get too excited for the Israeli people. There’s not a huge chance that we’ll see anything change there and now that there’s a ceasefire in place–and it seems to be holding as of this writing–there’s even less chance.

But we don’t have to make that same mistake. We can address our gun control issues here and now.

Unfortunately, the Israelis are more likely to do so than we are.

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