The policy is designed "to strike a balance
between needs and risks," Amit said. "We know that weapons are a dangerous
thing, and in the hands of someone who isn't trained or isn't reliable, it
The gap between Israeli gun ownership and U.S. gun
ownership is consequently staggering. A total of 170,000 guns are licensed for
private use in Israel, or about one gun for every 30 adults.
In addition to
the privately held weapons, 130,000 guns are licensed to Israeli security
companies, firing ranges, government ministries and companies that operate in
areas deemed dangerous. Soldiers who carry assault rifles off base during their
regular or reserves service turn them in when they complete their tours of
By contrast, U.S. authorities estimate that at least one-third of
all American households have firearms — and in many cases, not only
Americans are also much freer to choose what type of guns they buy.
Automatic weapons of the type Lanza used to gun down his victims are banned for
private ownership in Israel. It is also rare for a person to be authorized to
own more than one firearm, Amit said.