Guns ‘n Lies: NRA Invokes Israel’s Name

The NRA is falsely representing Israelis gun laws in its latest tactic to promote more firearms sales and block any new gun restrictions in the wake of the Newtown massacre that killed 20 school children and six of their teachers.

It’s more evidence that NRA appears more interested in protecting the profits of the guns ‘n ammo industry than the safety of American citizens.  If public safety were its real interest, it would follow the Israeli example rather than misrepresent it.  In his call to put more guns in schools, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said that’s what the Israelis have done and it has succeeded.

“Israel had a whole lot of school shootings until they did one thing: They said, ‘We’re going to stop it,’ and they put armed security in every school and they have not had a problem since then,” LaPierre said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Not true, said Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry.

 “We’re fighting terrorism, which comes under very specific geopolitical and military circumstances. This is not something that compares with the situation in the US. We didn’t have a series of school shootings, and they had nothing to do with the issue at hand in the United States. We had to deal with terrorism,”

Reuven Berko , a retired Israeli Army colonel and senior police officer, was quoted by Israel’s YNET saying:

 “There is no comparison between maniacs with psychological problems opening fire at random to kill innocent people and trained terrorists trying to murder Israeli children.”  He further remarked that restrictions on gun ownership in Israel have been tightened in recent years, not relaxed.

 “Israeli citizens are not allowed to carry guns unless they are serving in the army or working in security-related jobs that require them to use a weapon,” he said.

Invoking Israel’s name is just one more effort by the guns and ammo industry to hype sales by spreading fear and provoking panic purchases.  And it works.  Gun dealers across this country report a rush on sales in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and calls to reinstate the assault rifle ban.

LaPierre has accused the President of the United States of being behind a “massive conspiracy” to repeal the Second Amendment from the Constitution and confiscate all privately owned firearms. I don’t think LaPierre is stupid enough to believe what he’s saying, but that it’s good for business if others do believe him.

Israel has strict gun laws and training requirements, reported the Jerusalem Post:

While most Israelis are trained to use guns for self-defense during their time in the IDF, the weapons cannot be purchased as recreational tools or for personal protection without going through an extraordinarily strict process of background checks – both medical and criminal – as well as a competence test, a three-month waiting period and Public Security Ministry approval.

Yakov Amit, head of the firearms licensing department at the Ministry of Public Security, said Israeli law is restrictive and there is no guarantee of the right to bear arms as in the United States.  Gun licensing to private citizens is limited largely to people who are deemed to need a firearm because they work or live in dangerous areas, he said, and licensing requires multiple levels of screening, and permits must be renewed every three years. Renewal is not automatic.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.