In response to the rise in antisemitism and pro-Palestinian protests at universities and in liberal-leaning cities, American Jews are panic-buying firearms as a precautionary measure.
Vicky Furer, a 48-year-old educator from South Florida, told Bloomberg that she recently joined members of her synagogue for a shooting lesson at a firing range in Pompano Beach - just north of Fort Lauderdale.
"It's scary, holding this thing," Furer said, "thinking of how I will ever be able to shoot at someone."
Across South Florida, as well as across the US, Jewish folks have historically leaned left and pro-gun control. However, that appears to be changing following the Israel-Hamas war, as well as the rise in antisemitism and pro-Palestinian spreading across the US.
The latest data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that unadjusted criminal background checks in Florida were 124,000 in October, up 30% from September. Background checks serve as a proxy for gun sales because there is no national database tracking firearm purchases.
Outside of Israel, Florida has one of the largest concentrations of Jewish people, upwards of 740,000. In predominantly Jewish neighborhoods, people are arming up:
"This is the first time I really feel unsafe in the US," Michele Lazarow, a Hallandale Beach city commissioner, told Sun Sentinel. He added: "Maybe it'll finally be when I get a firearm."
Rabbis, firearms instructors, and gun shops have told Bloomberg that gun buying among Jewish folks has soared in recent weeks because they fear a Hamas attack and or see the rising tide of antisemitism nationwide.
According to one gun store owner in Hollywood, Florida, even Orthodox Jews have been buying record numbers of firearms, due to fears that they may be attacked inside of the United States.https://t.co/oChVEWC3RF— DC, Last Legion, Infinity Redux (@DerektheCleric) October 23, 2023
On Tuesday, a 69-year-old man demonstrating in support of Israel died after sustaining a head injury during a fight with a pro-Palestinian protester in Los Angeles.
🚨 Breaking: Pro-Palestinian protester kills elderly Jewish man in Los Angeles.— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) November 7, 2023
Those who protest calling for killing Jews actually kill Jews in their protest. Who would have believed that? 🤔
Also, Jewish people are watching the surge in antisemitism at liberal colleges and are shocked.
Man goes on antisemitic rant at @Harvard University: “I think they're [Israelis] all dirty, dirty animals...They should be all exterminated, every single one of them—and their kids, their mothers, their children, everybody— just like Hitler did.” pic.twitter.com/XFp7nAjYmi— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) October 31, 2023
This is what Harvard University has come to, the targeting and physical harassment of Jews.— Yoni Michanie (@YoniMichanie) November 1, 2023
Not Zionists. Jews.
Shame on the administration for helping foster such nefarious antisemitism on campus.
And shame on every bystander who did nothing.
Left-leaning Jewish folks who never thought they would own a gun are now realizing in Biden's America - that the need for self-defense against crazies is crucial for survival.