In the wake of the latest Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and amid rising anti-Semitism at home, multitudes of American Jews are making sure that they won’t be found defenseless if and when trouble strikes.
Firearm instructors and gun sellers have reported seeing a major influx of Jewish clients. David Prince, the owner of Eagle Gun Range in Farmers Branch and Lewisville, Texas, told WFAA-TV that he saw a 300% increase in gun sales in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks.
“It’s been a really big change this last three or four days. … The people coming in and saying they are scared for their lives, because of their religion they are expecting to be attacked,” said Prince.
“As long as they want to protect themselves and their families, that’s all we care about,” continued Prince. “We don’t care about anything else. We sell them for defensive purposes, and that’s what we’re here for.”
“We’ve definitely seen a tremendous increase in religious Jewish people, Orthodox people, purchasing firearms,” David Kowalsky, the owner of Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, Florida, told NBC News. “I’ve seen a surge in interest in individual training as well as group training.”
Local synagogues have reached out to Kowalsky to host training and shooting sessions. “These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them,” said the gun seller.
“There’s a safety concern. I think people are nervous about what’s going on and what can happen.” Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, who runs Magen Am, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides firearm training to the Jewish community, indicated his organization has received over 600 calls in the past week alone.
“The calls for self-defense training, situational awareness training — ‘How do I make my shop or my institution a harder target?’ — has just been really, really nonstop,” said Eilfort.
Endi Tennenhaus, a preschool director in Hollywood, Florida, told NBC News that she helped organize a gun safety training for between 25 and 30 women in her synagogue last week.
“If all of our husbands are buying guns, we want to make sure we also know how to use them and also to be able to protect our children and be able to keep guns safe in our homes,” said the mother of seven.
Political strategist Hank Sheinkopf indicated this trend is at odds with the the purported tendency for American Jews to be supportive of gun reform, gun control, and altogether “opposed to personal gun ownership,” adding “Jews with guns were always seen as an odd event.”
An unidentified Jewish woman who has long been for curtailing Second Amendment rights indicated death threats in recent days prompted her to take an interest in the gun training sessions. She said it’s not a happy decision, but rather no decision at all. “I have no choice,” said the anonymous woman. “It’s a very sad thing.”