Letters to the editor: Oct. 18, 2017

Look to Israel for sensible gun policies

I read with great interest the Op-Eds in the Oct. 11 issue of the Light regarding guns. As a former paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Battalion 890, who served with honor in the first Lebanon War, I absolutely believe that guns are at times necessary for protection. However, I also believe that there should be better controls in place regarding who should be allowed to obtain a gun, and that there is never a need for a civilian to have access to assault weapons or silencers.

Israel is a country committed to responsible gun education. Every Israeli who serves in the IDF is handed a gun at age 18, but only after intense education regarding the responsibility that owning a gun entails. Following their service, some civilians carry guns on a regular basis; however, those civilians are required to first obtain a license, which is not a simple process. 

The majority of gun owners are either business owners; people who work in security and have a work-related reason to carry a gun; farmers in remote areas; or retired military officers. Applicants must be over age 21; be an Israeli resident for more than three years; go through a mental and physical health exam; pass shooting exams and courses at a licensed gun range; and pass background checks by the Public Security Ministry. 

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Civilians who purchase a firearm from a gun store are allowed to take it home with a one-time supply of up to 50 bullets. Additionally, gun owners must retake their license exams and testing at the gun range every three years, and must also undergo regular health exams and criminal record checks.

There are 112 guns per 100 people in America, according to the Congressional Research Service, for a total of over 300 million guns! By contrast, Israel has only 7.3 guns per 100 people (excluding active military). 

I fail to understand why any law-abiding American would need access to an assault weapon or a silencer. It seems obvious to me that the way to provide future mass shootings is to limit access to such weapons. And yet, NRA supporters continue to lobby for access to such dangerous weapons and oppose research studies that examine the effectiveness of gun control laws. There is no greater example of how a lobby group with big money works against the interests of the American people.

Again, I am not against guns; I just think we can and should do a better job of controlling and monitoring them. Guns should be approached with responsibility and respect, not sold as if they were candies or toys. Unfortunately — with more than 300 million guns on the street in America — I fear that gun control is already a lost battle.

Elie Harir, Wildwood

Supporting education globally

Education is the opportunity every parent wants for their child, and that every child wants for building a brighter future. The right to education for children is not just supported by international law – it is supported by common sense. 

Sadly, 263 million children and youth around the world are lacking an education. In places like South Sudan, a young woman is more likely to die in childbirth than graduate high school.

Fortunately, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with government leaders, donors, and stakeholders to create lasting systems to educate the most vulnerable children, from preschool through high school.

I believe that supporting global education isn’t just my own tikkun olam, it is giving millions more the ability to help each other and pass on the gift of learning. I urge Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to cosponsor the bipartisan resolution S. Res. 286, which supports funding for the GPE and will help kids everywhere live safe, happy, and productive lives.

Yara Levin, Town & Country