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Beersheva bank attack spurs gun reforms in Israel

JTA

May 22, 2013 | 4:31 pm

An Israeli policeman stands guard at the scene of a shooting at a Bank Hapoalim branch in the southern city of Beersheba on May 20. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

An Israeli policeman stands guard at the scene of a shooting at a Bank Hapoalim branch in the southern city of Beersheba on May 20. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

Israel would require security guards to leave their weapons at work under gun reforms unveiled in the aftermath of a Beersheva bank attack that killed four.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced the planned reforms on Tuesday, the day after a former Border Police captain’s rampage at a Bank Hapoalim branch.

Along with the requirement for security guards, the reforms would limit to one the number of guns that civilians could possess at one time. Also, gun owners renewing a license would have to prove their need for the weapon.

Aharonovitch said his ministry would establish a committee to perform medical tests for gun-license applicants, the Times of Israel reported.

Nearly 170,000 Israelis are licensed to carry a gun, including 40,000 security guards for schools, supermarkets and malls. Most other gun licenses are issued to those who work or live in what are characterized as high-risk areas, including the West Bank and communities on the border with the West Bank.

“Limiting gun ownership is at the top of our agenda, and I intend to hold a weekly follow-up meeting on the subject,” Aharonovitch said.

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