Minister Seeks Looser Gun Controls

Israel’s interior minister has decided to seek a loosening of the country’s gun control laws.

Under a proposal issued Wednesday by Minister Eli Suissa, the minimum age for requesting a gun license would be lowered to 20 from 21.

Israeli civilians who had served in combat units would automatically be granted licenses.

Suissa’s proposals would ease restrictions that had been imposed after the assassination last year of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The proposal prompted criticism from a former Israel Defense Force chief of staff and a former police commissioner.

“There is already enough violence in Israeli society,” said former IDF Chief Dan Shomron, who added that no good would come from “flooding the country with more weapons.”

Ya’acov Turner, the former national police chief, said that more lenient regulations would put more weapons in the hands of criminals.

Dubi Gazit, who headed the ministerial committee that drafted the new proposals, cited Israeli security concerns as the basis for the change in regulations.

According to official figures last released in 1993, some 300,000 Israeli Jews are licensed to bear weapons.

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