In October, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, encouraged all Israelis with a gun license to carry a weapon with them at all times in order to counter a recent wave of terror attacks.

Barkat said, “Every time there is tension, I instruct people who are allowed to carry weapons and are experienced in using them to carry their guns with them. If you check, you’ll see that in many cases, those who neutralized terrorists were citizens who aren’t necessarily police officers, like former soldiers.”

Due to the escalation of terrorist attacks since the summer, there has been an explosion in applications for gun licenses and in gun sales. People feel the need to be able to defend themselves on the streets today. Those who have guns carry them, and many who don’t make sure to leave their homes with makeshift weapons or pepper spray.

Getting a gun license is not a simple procedure in Israel.

The approval process for obtaining a gun license from start to finish can take potentially 6-8 months.

You must fill out an application clearly stating why you need a gun. There are criteria that need to be met for granting a firearm license. There is a health declaration form, personal interview, and payment fees. You are evaluated based on where you live, medical profile and are subject to background checks.

If you are approved and purchase a firearm, you are required to take one basic lesson with your gun in which you must shoot 50 bullets at a target. You also need to purchase a safe where your gun must be locked and secured when it is not on your person. The law does not require that you have any ongoing training except for one 50-bullet lesson every 1-3 years when you renew your license. This process is far from sufficient if one wants to carry their firearm on the streets of Israel with the intention of protecting and defending themselves and possible victims from a terror attack.

Reuven, married with five children, is a resident of a settlement in the Jerusalem area. He owns a gun and arranged a course for civilian gun owners in situation management in the case of a terrorist attack. The course is given by Oren Levi and Shafik Srouji, two skilled firearms professionals, in a shooting range called Krav in Talpiot, Jerusalem. They teach how to react strategically in a “situation,” on the move, scanning the environment for additional risks, taking cover, switching clips, speed versus accuracy, ethics surrounding neutralizing a terrorist — none of which is taught in the regular course.

They critically analyze a selection of videos of actual past terrorist attacks. They discuss what went wrong, and teach the proper responses that take into consideration one’s own safety and the safety of civilians while immobilizing the terrorists. They run practice drills, beginning with at least two dry runs, and then follow up with live ammunition.

Shafik and Oren develop great personal relationships, understanding each trainee’s weaknesses and strengths, and working on improving them. The course is intended for firearm novices as well as more experienced gun owners. In addition, they offer extended follow-up courses to increase the level of training for those interested. Upon completion of the course, Reuven said, “I feel like I made quantum leaps in my skills, something that otherwise would not have happened,” and he is excited to further increase his training to higher levels. Another trainee noted that the course has increased her confidence in handling her gun in general as well as in a potential “situation.”

Owning a gun is only helpful to the owner and those around him if he is properly trained. I cannot overstate how crucial this course is, not only to save lives by knowing how to properly immobilize terrorists, but also in not causing harm to innocent bystanders due to a lack of training. If you own a gun, please be responsible enough to learn how to use it properly.

For further information on the “קורס ירי מבצעי,” contact Oren Levi: 050-640-4183 or Shafik Srouji: 053-628-9633