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Israel exists under constant threat of attack and requires citizens to serve in the military, but still has much stricter gun laws than the United States. And those laws limit violence – Israel has a lower gun-related homicide rate and that’s not because it’s an intrinsically peaceful society. In fact, public health literature suggests that if Israel had more guns, it would have more firearm deaths.

Even those Israelis who pass through extensive hoops to get a firearm permit can only own one gun, and that’s a handgun — not a semi-automatic rifle capable of rapid fire. There are also limits on ammunition, and each gun-owner has a permit to hold only 50 rounds.

Many US states grant gun permits liberally, but Israel limits gun permits to people who meet strict requirements of residency, occupation, or army rank.

For instance, security workers, jewelers, hunters and West Bank residents are eligible for permits.

Forty percent of all gun permit applicants are flat-out rejected by the Israeli government.

Gun owners must renew their permits every 3 years and immediately report any change of eligibility status to the Israeli federal government.

Israel relies on professional members of the military and police force for security, rather than “good guys with guns” or even Civil Guard volunteers.

The US has one firearm per capita, the highest in the world; second is Yemen with 0.29-0.81 firearms per capita. Israel comes in 81st with 0.073 firearms per capita.

According to, the Israeli government has even restricted firearm access to current Israeli soldiers when off-duty on weekends as part of a successful prevention program that has halved firearm suicide — and 80 percent of the suicide reduction appears to have come from the gun restrictions, rather than counseling.

In the past 15 years, the US suicide rate has increased by 24 percent, and two-thirds of firearm deaths are suicides.

Suicides are seen as private tragedies, whereas mass shooting events are seen as communal tragedies.

Israel considered the soldier suicide rate to be a communal tragedy, and its restriction on guns for the only part of society with gun access reduced these deaths.

The US should follow Israel’s lead, should it overcome the second amendment to the US Constitution, which states that every citizen has a right to bear arms for self defense.