A campaign that allows Israeli Arabs to surrender weapons to police without consequences will be extended for another week, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Thursday. The extension comes as a result of what he called the success of the program, which has seen dozens of guns and rifles surrendered, along with a large amount of ammunition.
The program was inaugurated about a month ago in response to calls by Arab MKs to do something about the widespread availability of illegal firearms in the Arab sector. The program allowed individuals to hand over illegal weapons to police – no questions asked. The program was in effect in 80 communities, for two weeks, officials said. Weapons could be dropped off at 50 collection points. Individuals could bring in weapons of any type, as well as ammunition, and were not charged with illegal weapons possession. So far, the program has yielded 207 illegal firearms and related materials, police said.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that cooperation was necessary if the Arab sector wanted to reduce the amount of illegal weapons in its communities, as well as reduce crime. “Unfortunately, in previous campaigns of this type, the Arab sector did not cooperate as needed, but this time cooperation is much better. Every weapon handed over is one less in the public space, and that can save lives in the future. As a result, I have decided to extend this campaign for another week in order to enable more citizens to submit weapons, in order to provide for a safer society,” Erdan said.