In ‪Israel‬ we have strict laws about guns.

According to Times of Israel:

“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. Settlers in the West Bank, for instance, can apply for weapons licenses, as can residents of communities on the borders with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.”

But it isn’t a given that even in these communities you’ll get a gun. Licensing requires multiple levels of screening, and permits must be renewed every three years. And renewal is not automatic.

And beyond these laws, the cooperation between Israel, ‪Jordan‬ and the ‪PA‬, has made it increasingly difficult for automatic weapons to be smuggled into the West Bank.

Obviously, we still deal with terror here. Stabbings, and car rammings, and suicide bombings, and yes, shootings. But, this DOES mean that terrorists have to rely on hand-made devices

Just last week in Tel Aviv, two men wearing suits and skinny ties ordered chocolate cake at Max Brenner in the crowded Sarona complex. Have you ever been to Sarona? It’s really beautiful – there are restaurants and bars, and there’s even a lily pond. I was there an hour before at the Tasting Room — my favorite bar, drinking wine, and eating warm bread and artichoke dip.

And in the crowded restaurant, while couples held hands, and a mother soothed her tired baby, these two men in their suits and skinny ties stood up and opened fire with makeshift weapons. They shot several – three lethally, a fourth had a heart attack, and then their weapons jammed. They couldn’t kill anymore people. They had to stop.

Can you imagine though if they had walked in to Max Brenner with assault rifles?

They could have mowed the entire restaurant down, headed outside by the lily pond, and shot dozens and dozens more.

But they didn’t have an assault rifle. Yes, ideology that fuels terrorism isn’t going to just go away because of stricter regulations, but you can miminimize the damage.

Jackie Smith was inside Pulse in Orlando remembers the moment when Omar Mateen walked in:

“Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance.”

He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance.

This scumbag terrorist who killed and wounded way too many in ‪#‎Orlando‬ should never have had access to an assault rifle to begin with.

So why did he have one?

It wasn’t for defense, because an assault rifle is NOT used for defense.

An assault rifle is meant to kill with maximum impact. It is a murder weapon.

Omar Mateen had been questioned twice by the FBI. And he was on a terror watch list.

And still, he was able to legally purchase an assault rifle and a hand gun.

There are about a million and three things wrong with this.

So yes, there is a sickness in our world, and there is terrorism across the globe, and sadly, we will probably see more attacks like these.

And yes, people kill people – but they use guns to do it. And if they have ready access to assault rifles, we can expect more attacks like these with staggering numbers of innocent people killed and wounded.

We can expect more grieving parents, and brothers and sisters standing over open graves. We can expect more orphans, too.

A heartfelt meme and “prayers for _____” won’t make a damn bit of difference. We need a policy change.

And America can make that change, and they must because right now it way too easy for murderers like Omar Mateen from Orlando and Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik from San Bernardino to carry weapons that cause maximum damage, and cost maximum lives.

By banning assault rifles, we can minimize damage while we work tirelessly to eradicate the bigger problem.

There isn’t an excuse anymore. Yes, we must continue to fight global terror, but we can do everything we can to protect our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and parents and lovers and friends while we do.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.