It is forbidden in Israel to own any kind of firearm, including air pistols and rifles, without a firearms license.
The list of below personnel are eligible for licenses allowing them to possess firearms:
Israel Defense Forces officers honorably discharged with the rank of non-commissioned officer
Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander
Ex–special forces enlisted men
Retired police officers with the rank of sergeant
Retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander
Licensed public transportation drivers transporting a minimum of five people
Full-time dealers of jewellery or large sums of cash or valuables
Civil Guard volunteers
Residents of militarily strategic buffer zones considered essential to state security
Such personnel are allowed to possess one handgun.
Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander are also eligible for licences allowing them to possess one rifle.
Licensed hunters may possess one shotgun
Licensed animal-control officers are allowed to possess two rifles
Civil Guard snipers may possess one rifle.
To legally own a gun as a souvenir, prize, inheritance, or award of appreciation from the military, an individual must first present proper documentation that they are about to receive it. Permits for gun collectors are extremely rare, and typically only given to ex-high-ranking officers.
To obtain a gun license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, have no criminal record, be in good health, have no history of mental illness, pass a weapons-training course, and be over a certain age:
20 for women who completed military service or civil service equivalent
21 for men who completed military service or civil service equivalent
27 for those who did not complete military service or civil service equivalent
45 for residents of East Jerusalem.
Gun licenses must be renewed every three years and permits are given only for personal use, not for business in the firearms sale while holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun, and may purchase a maximum of fifty rounds a year, except for those shot at firing ranges.
Members of officially recognized shooting clubs (practical shooting, Olympic shooting) are eligible for personal licenses allowing them to possess additional firearms (small bore rifles, handguns, air rifles, and air pistols) after demonstrating a need and fulfilling minimum membership time and activity requirements. Unlicensed individuals are allowed supervised use of pistols at firing ranges.
Following a number of cases of firearm-related suicides at firing ranges, private individuals who do not own firearms are required to present a certificate of good conduct and a physician's health declaration in order to shoot at commercial firing ranges.
Self-defense firearms may be carried in public, concealed or openly, together with ammunition, without needing any additional permits. Israel is notable for being a country with few places where firearms are off limits to licensed individuals (private premises, some government offices and institutions, courts).
In addition to private licenses of firearms, organizations can issue carry licenses to their members for activity related to that organization (e.g. security companies, shooting clubs, other workplaces).
Soldiers are allowed to carry their personal weapons and ammunition together while on furlough during active service, uniformed or in civilian clothing.
In 2005, there were 236,879 private citizens and 154,000 security guards licensed to carry firearms. Another 34,000 Israelis who were previously licensed own guns illegally due to their failure to renew their gun license. In 2007, there were estimated to be 500,000 civilian licensed guns in Israel, in addition to 1,757,500 in the military, and 26,040 in the police.
The regulation for gun ownership became stricter following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Gun ownership in Israel is considered a privilege and not a right.