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Misleading post claims there are no school shootings in Israel because teens carry guns

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By Sophia Khatsenkova
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A misleading post has been circulating claiming Israel has no shootings because even teenagers are armed
A misleading post has been circulating claiming Israel has no shootings because even teenagers are armed   -   Copyright  Euronews // Twitter

Amid the debate on stricter gun control in the US following the Uvalde, Texas shooting, misinformation about guns has spread online. 

A misleading post has been widely shared on social media stating that Israel has never seen a mass shooting because teenagers can carry weapons to school. Euronews has fact-checked this false claim. 

The US House of Representatives has approved a new wide-ranging bill aimed at gun control, after recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. But opposition in the Senate means it is highly unlikely to come into law. And amid the debate, misinformation about gun control has spread online. 

This includes banning the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21 and banning large-capacity magazines after a gunman killed nineteen students and two teachers were killed in a shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there have been 2,052 school shooting incidents in the United States since 1970.

But these new measures are unlikely to become law because they need to be approved by the US Senate, where there is strong Republican opposition.

Amid this emotional debate, misleading claims have been spread about strict gun control, both in the US and around the world.

Euronews // Twitter
A misleading post said that Israel has had no shootings due to high gun ownershipEuronews // Twitter

A recent post claimed that there are no mass shootings in Israel because teenagers are allowed to carry guns to school. 

Compared to the US, Israel has only had half a dozen attacks on its schools. Therefore, the claim that there are no shootings isn’t exactly true.

When it comes to gun ownership in Israel, it might seem surprising but only 2 per cent of the population owns guns.

One of the reasons is the strict preconditions for obtaining a personal firearm. A person must be over 27 years old or 18 if you’ve served in the military.

They must also complete a mental health check and prove that their profession requires privately owning a gun.

After doing a reverse image search, Euronews has found that this photo has been published many times since 2014.

Euronews // Tineye
Using a reverse image search, Euronews has found that this photo has been used many times since 2014Euronews // Tineye

Although Euronews could not confirm the exact context of this photo, a blog described it as the women's section of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 

These military personnel are allowed to carry guns in and out of uniform. However, this photo does not necessarily show teenagers carrying guns to class since the minimum age is 27 or 18 (if military). 

But does carrying guns mean that there is less violence in general? 

"The notion that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun has been debunked. When you look at the data of mass shootings in the US, less than 2 per cent have been stopped by armed citizens. It's very rare that armed citizens end up shooting the shooter. This claim doesn't face up to hard facts and elements," the executive director of Action on Armed Violence, Iain Overton told Euronews.

In Europe, there have been multiple examples that highlight this argument. The UK had a number of mass shootings such as in Dunblane in 1996 or the Hungerford massacre in 1987. 

"The UK brought in very strict gun regulations that have worked. It has become very difficult to get your hands on a gun in the country," explained Iain Overton. 

"We know that a relaxation of gun laws leads to an increase in gun deaths. This is irrefutable. We have never seen it go the other way," said Iain Overton.