Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mr Stephen J Home (OWB117)

· Collectors of Nihontô

· Collectors of swords

· Collectors of knives

I am a 62-year-old male and ex member of HM Forces in which I served for over 24 years. I am a Life Member of The To-Ken Society of Great Britain, a long standing martial arts instructor and a collector of various things.

The Offensive Weapons Bill 2017-19 as I understand it, will have a negative effect and cost me a lot more money for the things that I love to do.

By banning the delivery of knives to residential addresses you are destroying my hobbies. I agree that a person can cause serious injury to another person by using a blade of some sort.

I do not think that a Nihontô (Japanese sword) or an antique Japanese sword has been used in any serious injury within the last 70 years. They are far to valuable and the owners would not risk them getting damaged in any way. As a collector I buy these Nihontô as pieces of art. The workmanship and skill that went into making these is immense. I cannot, unfortunately, just walk into a shop near where I live and buy one. There are no shops that have them near me. I have to rely on auctions, other collectors and shops much further afield such as in Japan and the USA. The law as presented, would prevent me from buying from any of those places and have it shipped to my home address, thereby effectively ending my future collecting. I have a Nihontô which I sent away for some work to be done on it, to improve its condition and expect this to be done hopefully by the end of the year. I will have no way of getting it sent back to me. This Nihontô was made in the year 1673 and is quite valuable. There is no one with in the UK that can polish a Nihontô to an acceptable standard. The Nihontô would normally be sent to Japan or perhaps the USA for polishing and would be impossible to get back. I will be unable to get a Nihontô polished, repaired or graded (this happens in Japan or rarely, in the USA. Never in the UK). I would also be unable to purchase or sell privately any Nihontô. Selling via an internet post or to other collectors would require send the Nihontô to a home address.

Many of the previous points raised concerning Nihontô are also true for swords.

I have been a collector of English swords for many years. Most of these swords have blunt edges but sharp points. Common, poor examples can be found near where I live but should I require better or rarer examples, I am again forced to search auctions houses or shops further afield. My son is to become an Officer in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. I will not be able to order a sword for him to wear at his passing out parade. This I had hoped to purchase from Pooley Sword in West Sussex. Yes, I could drive there but it would take me over 4 hours of driving. I wonder what will happen to their business should they not be allowed to post to a home address. Will this be yet another British company forced to close.

I know of the owner of a sword belonging to Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, a working partner of Lord Horatio Nelson. An historically important presentation sword. This could be lost to this country as the owner would be unable to sell privately and post to a UK home address. It would be much easier to send it abroad.

Knives would have the same problems as the 2 previous items and though not as expensive or historically important, still have a place for use and collecting. As I mentioned previously, I was a member of HM Forces and had then certain knives sent to me that I carried on operations sanctioned by the UK Government. These specialist knives could not be brought in a high street shop and had to be ordered online and sent to my home address. HM Forces do not provide knives and therefore members purchase their own as required and would have them shipped to their home address. As a hunter I would also require specialist knives to dress game and these are also purchased online and sent to a home address. It is possible to buy one at a shop near me but the choice is not very good and to have one made can be so expensive as to prohibit its purchase.

I hope that my points of view can be understood and some way found to allow myself and many hundreds of other collectors to continue with our passions.

July 2018

 

Prepared 13th August 2018