Requests for Information

Requests for Information under the Freedom of Information Act

As part of its small arms policy, the state of Israel refrains from collecting and revealing data on small arms proliferation, gun crime and gun caused deaths, injuries and damages. In some cases, different authorities publish conflicting data. Comprehensive, detailed data, that is collected methodically and published consistently, is vital to the transparent, democratic formulation and management of small arms policies.

In the absence of a state managed data base on small arms, Gun Free Kitchen Tables takes steps to construct a (limited) civic data base. We follow reports on gun violence in the media and the network of GFKT activists regularly provides us with new items and information. Among other strategies, we submit repeated requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act. When these are ignored or rejected, we follow up with Administrative Petitions, which have so far achieved partial results (some of which were nonetheless significant).

In researching our report, “Loose Guns,” we submitted formal requests for information to the Israel Police, the Israel Defense Forces, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security. The latter invested considerable effort in providing the requested information. However, about one third of our questions to the ministry (32%) were rejected on grounds that the information was classified for security reasons or (in a few cases) that the requested data did not comply with the definition of “information” under the law. Answers to additional questions were claimed to require excessive resources, indicating that the relevant statistics are not collected on an ongoing basis by the ministry and did not (and still do not) exist in its data base. The answers received from the other three authorities were even more glaringly poor and lacking. Such attitudes on the part of authorities violate civil society’s right to information on policy decisions and on practices. Meanwhile, they prevent data-based monitoring of small arms proliferation and its consequences.

[All links below connect to requests and responses in Hebrew]

December 2013 – Request for information on gun licenses – types of licenses, statistics, actual practices of licensing and oversight

March 2014 – Response from the Ministry of Public Security

June 2014 – Request for additional information; Response from the Ministry of Public Security

June 2016 – Request for information on gun licensing

August 2016 – Response from the ministry

October 2016 – Request for information missing from the response

November 2016 – Additional response from the ministry

December 2016 – Second additional response from the ministry

February 2017 – Administrative petition demanding full response

May 2017 – Request for information on security guards bearing firearms outside of work sites and work shifts (Unanswered)

June 2018 – Request for information on security guards bearing firearms outside of work sites and work shifts (Unanswered)

September 2018 – Request for information on new criteria for eligibility for a civilian gun license

November 2019 – Response from the ministry

March 2019 – Request for the Minister of Public Security’s calendar of meetings

July 2019 – Response from the ministry

March 2019 – Request for information on applications for private gun licenses and on gun bearing by security guards, following ministerial policy decisions

November 2019 – Administrative petition demanding full response

December 2019 – Amended response from the ministry on applications for private gun licenses; Partial documents on gun bearing by security guards

May 2019 – Request to receive the final recommendations of the committee appointed September 2018 to examine the implementation of licensing procedures in Israel and headed by former Chief of Police, Dan Ronen

November 2019 – Administrative petition demanding full response

December 2019 – Request declined

December 2019 – Request for information on applications for organizational gun licenses and on gun bearing by security guards, following ministerial policy decisions

February 2020 – Response from the ministry; updated data from the ministry

[All links below connect to requests and responses in Hebrew]

February 2014 – Request for information from the Israel Police on police firearms

July 2014 – Response from the Israel Police

Appendix #1: to the response from the Israel Police: National Headquarters Orders on bearing police firearms, on storing and use of firearms

Appendix #2: to the response from the Israel Police: National Headquarters Orders on police handling of violence between intimates; Criteria for the licensing of firearms

 

August 2014 – Additional questions submitted to the Israel Police (Unanswered)

May 2014 –Request for information from the Israel Police on firearms involved in criminal offenses

June 2014 – Response from the Israel Police

September 2018 – Request for statistics on gun deaths and injuries (Unanswered)

[All links below connect to requests and responses in Hebrew]

2014 – Request for information from the army on oversight of firearms

June 2014 – Response from the army

September 2014 – Request for information missing from the response

November 2014  – Additions from the army

November 2014 – Request for information missing from the additions

January 2015 – Added information from the army

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GFKT's Annual Report (English only) for 2020 is out!