Since the Parkland school shooting in Florida last month, lobbyists and politicians have been pointing to Israel as an example of a gun-filled country with little-to-no gun violence.
But as TheWrap’s Itay Hod told HLN’s Carol Costello Thursday, those comparisons — and many others by conservatives — can be flawed.
“You have to go through a lot of hoops to get a weapon,” Hod, a former Israeli soldier, said on Thursday. “And forget about an assault rifle, the best you can hope for in Israel is one pistol.”
Hod, who served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces in the early 1990s, wrote about his experience in a Tuesday article titled: “I Carried a Gun in Israel. Here’s What I Learned About Gun Control.”
There, Hod explained that while it’s true that Israel is a heavily armed nation, it also has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the world.
“It’s interesting,” Hod said. “You go to Israel and you do see a lot of guns. But if you’re not aware of the fact that these are all soldiers — even the people who are wearing civilian clothes are probably off duty — then you don’t realize that if you’re a regular citizen you can’t get a gun in Israel, it’s very, very hard.”
Despite an abundance of guns on any given Israeli street, outside of terrorist attacks, Israel has had one mass shooting: in 2013, a man killed four Israelis in a bank before turning the gun on himself.
“I thought about the day that I received my first assault rifle. I was an 18-year-old kid, very scrawny… and was handed this Galil, which is sort of like an AK-47,” Hod said. “And the first thing they tell you when they hand you the weapon is: ‘Lose it and you’ll go to prison for a long, long time.”
Hod explained that the IDF’s scare tactics are by design. Lost guns can and do end up in the hands of terrorists.
“Since the IDF I’ve lost more iPhones than I can remember, I probably locked myself out of every single apartment I’ve ever lived in,” Hod added. “You have to be very careful about where you leave your weapon because it can actually hurt other citizens if you don’t.”
Watch Hod’s full interview with HLN in the video above.