Areas of Activity
The Gun on the Kitchen Table
The Gun on the Kitchen Table
The “Gun on the Kitchen Table” project works to reduce the distribution of small arms in civilian environments and to dismantle them. Building on gender knowledge and perception, it aims at abating the violence resulting from the proliferation of firearms. The project exercises consistent civilian monitoring in an effort to promote preventive legislation, effective enforcement and comprehensive transparency regarding the presence of firearms in civilian environments. “The Gun on the Kitchen Table” works to prevent and reduce lethal violence against women, within families and throughout the public sphere, to demand accountability from armed organizations and individuals in Israel and to exert strict public supervision over them.
The project’s starting point was the practical implementation of a 2009 study that exposed invisible aspects of Israel’s security industry, including the phenomenon of using security weapons carried outside working hours to murder and kill young women and family members. In 2008, the 1949 Firearms Law was amended, and section 10C (b) was added, stipulating that an employee of a security company will not be able to carry a weapon outside the area of his employment. After years of no enforcement of this law, the “Gun on the Kitchen Table” project started by demanding its enforcement and the extraction of firearms from the homes of tens of thousands of watchmen and security guards.
The success of this campaign and the active enforcement of the law between the summer of 2013 and spring of 2016 put an end the domestic and family homicides and killings committed with security firearms carried off duty. In the spring of 2016, the law was “amended” again, leading to the re-storage of thousands of security firearms in the homes of security guards when off duty. Since then, at least four homicides or murders have been committed with firearms that security personnel have returned to their homes.
In 2017, “The Gun on the Kitchen Table” published a comprehensive and pioneering report titled “Unlocked: Firearms in Civilian Environments – How Many Firearms and How Much Supervision?“. It estimated the number of firearms dispersed in civilian environments and reviewed the entities and forces carrying them, as well as the level of supervision applied to the possession of small-arms. Among other things, the report documented a phenomenon of selective enforcement of gun laws, primarily affecting Palestinian citizens of Israel and, to varying degrees, other marginalized groups. Following the release of this report, the project began to work in coordination with Palestinian women’s organizations in Israel who were addressing and focusing on gun violence in their communities for the first time.
In the face of an accelerating trend of firearms distribution accompanied by a renouncement of accountability, “The Gun on the Kitchen Table” initiative has been producing a resistance movement demanding reasonable and transparent policies and governmental and institutional accountability for the misuse of firearms by emissaries of security institutions and organizations. The movement works to reduce the spread of small arms in civilian environments, including weapons carried by security forces, while tightening the oversight and monitoring of the issue. It rejects the false claim that the proliferation of firearms indicates security.