There are those in America who like to point out that whenever there is a terrorist attack in Israel, there’s always some guy with a gun who pretty quickly takes the terrorist out as a reason why there should be more guns in America.
Such thinking is completely ignorant of the facts. Here are a few facts about private gun ownership in Israel and America.
America far and away has more guns per capita than any country in the world. In America there are approximately nine guns for every ten people. In Israel there is one gun for every nineteen people.
In America anyone who wants to can purchase a gun at a gun show with no background check. This means there is no way to enforce laws that say certain people, such as convicted felons or the certified insane, cannot buy guns. Anyone in America who wants a gun has no trouble whatsoever getting a gun.
In Israel to buy a gun anywhere (except from a criminal in an illegal transaction) you have to have a license. To get a license you have to show why you need a gun, you are subject to background checks and training requirements, and you have to renew the license every three years.
In America, 26 children and teachers get slaughtered by a man bearing an assault weapon, a weapon that is based on a design for the military whose only purpose in killing people. You don’t need an assault weapon for self-defense or hunting. After much hand-wringing, public debate, and lobbying by the gun lobby, six months after the massacre at Sandy Hook America still has not moved any closer to gun control laws that would help stop such slaughters.
In Israel, 4 people were killed by a gunman using a pistol at a bank, and the next day – the very next day – the government makes moves toward tightening up gun control. See this article in the Jerusalem Post, “State Vows to Curb Private Gun Ownership,” for more information.
There are those who say if you take away guns people will still kill people, just using a different weapon. The Sandy Hook killer would have been hard pressed to kill 26 people with a knife.
But let’s compare overall homicide rates, regardless of weapon used, to allow for the fact that some people who murder with guns might simply choose a different weapon.
United States: 4.8 homicides per year per 100,000 people.
Israel: 2.1 homicides per year per 100,000 people.
But Americans like to claim that gun ownership is a celebrated sign of “freedom.” Freedom comes at a cost. In this case, about 8,000 lives per year. I imagine there should be cheaper ways to celebrate freedom.
Even in America, you have to have a license to operate dangerous machinery – such as heavy trucks or airplanes. Why not a license for firearms?