Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Paul Hannaby, Chairman of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB) (OWB131)

I am submitting this document for consideration in relation to the proposed amendments to the offensive weapons bill HC Bill 232 on behalf of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain. We represent approximately 7,000 wood turners including both hobbyists and professionals. We estimate that there are 20,000 – 30,000 people in the UK who participate in woodturning. People engaging in this activity include adults, youngsters, able bodied and disabled. As an organisation, we have an active support and training programme for youngsters (11-21) where we teach them how to use very sharp woodturning tools responsibly in a safe, supervised environment.

The proposed bill would make it illegal for suppliers to send bladed products by post to residential addresses. This would cause the following problems for not only woodturners but anyone carrying out any form of woodworking as a hobby –

· We think that this restriction would adversely impact on peoples’ freedom to exercise their human rights in participating in a creative, rewarding hobby.

· Hobbyist woodturners would not be able to obtain tools by mail order. Woodturning is a specialist activity and shops selling the bladed tools (chisels, gouges etc.) are relatively uncommon. Often, mail order is the only option.

· Some specialist tools are bought from overseas. Mail order is the only option for these.

· Most towns and cities don’t have retailers who sell woodturning tools.

· Anyone with a disability may not be able to travel the extended distances to a specialist retailer to purchase bladed tools.

· A number of suppliers have set up their businesses around the mail order process. These suppliers would potentially be unable to continue to operate.

· Many individuals choose to buy some of their tools second hand via internet based auctions or advertisers. This market would also be blocked by the proposed bill which may prevent some people on low income from pursuing woodturning as a hobby.

We request that the proposed bill is either amended to allow exemptions for delivery of bladed woodturning and woodworking tools to resident addresses or the restriction on delivery to residential addresses is removed.

August 2018

 

Prepared 13th August 2018