In the weeks since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel, published reports indicate a rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., and many news agencies are confirming a significant uptick in gun sales and requests for training from American Jews.
A report by CNN seems reflective of this sudden interest in gun ownership. The network interviewed Tzvi Waldman, founder of the New York State Jewish Gun Club. He told the reporter that firearms class sizes have quadrupled since the Middle East erupted.
“There is a notion out there that Jews are anti guns, but in reality, at least in my community, I think the Second Amendment is very strong over here,” Waldman told CNN. “What happened in Israel was like a rude awakening for people that no matter where you are on the spectrum in Judaism, you’re hated the same.”
Writing at Tablet, editor-at-large Liel Leibovitz tells readers, “October 7 should have shaken you to the core. Enough to understand who your friends aren’t. Enough to understand that the darkest warnings whispered to us by elders who had witnessed unspeakable horrors, the warnings so many of us dismissed as belonging on history’s shelves and not in the sweet streets of the present—that these warnings were not for naught. Enough to understand that this great and good country is struggling with unprecedented upheavals right now, and can no longer permit us to take safety for granted. Enough to realize that taking on this responsibility is as much about protecting ourselves as it is about protecting America.”
While this spate of gun buying and training may be alarming to liberal politicians, who have traditionally counted on—and perhaps taken for granted—Jewish voters, it now appears the Hamas savagery in Israel and a rise in antisemitic activities in this country may have brought about a turning of the proverbial worm.
Adding to the drama was the House vote to censure Michigan Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib “for her support of antisemitic rhetoric,” as reported by Fox News. It was a bipartisan shutdown of Tlaib, with 22 Democrats joining 212 Republicans on the censure vote. Rather than being contrite following the vote, Tlaib was defiant, and her supporters did likewise.
According to a Fox News report focusing on Jews in California, a firearms retailer in Burbank “processed 203 firearms safety certificate tests in October 2023 compared to 45 last year, marking a more than 450% increase.”
Eric Fletcher, manager at Burbank Ammo and Guns, told a Fox reporter, “We see many, many individuals from the Jewish community who are first time buyers. And not just the men, but women as well, mothers especially. They want to know what they can do and what they are allowed to do to defend themselves.”
According to the CNN report, Jews all over the country are clamoring for training. CNN interviewed a retired SWAT commander in Florida who confirmed his students want to learn about “situational awareness” and what signals to look for to avoid an attack.
CNN acknowledged in its report, “A rise in American Jewish gun ownership would come as a noticeable shift for a group that is historically liberal and a majority of which are registered Democrats.”
This may signal a major shift in political leanings, as people now concerned about personal and family safety may look to see who, in which political party, is sticking up for their right to keep and bear arms, and who is trying to restrict those rights.