Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Matt Szafran (OWB69)

This email is pursuant to the "Remove article 15 of the Offensive Weapons Bill (HC Bill 232)" (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/222776) petition and the invitation to submit my views.

Every home in the country will have at least one knife in the kitchen, and therefore this legislation will do absolutely nothing to restrict the accessibility of knives to persons wishing to use them to perpetrate crime. With the capital’s knife crime being attributed to gangs, and as gangs contain members of varying age, there is no restriction on older members obtaining knifes in shops and making them available to junior members.

Instead, this new legislation will only serve to unfairly impact law abiding citizens without addressing the real issues causing the raise in knife related crime. Bladed tools are used by a myriad of extremely diverse groups ranging from tradespeople, stone masons, fencers, archaeologists, martial arts practitioners, divers, climbers, leather workers, wood carvers, campers, chefs, to artists and many more.

It is not practical for physical shops to carry every bladed article. As such online retailers are necessary for both hobbyists and professionals to procure specialist tools at reasonable prices. Many such online companies do not have physical premises, and where they do they are typically in remote locations which are not practical to visit in person. Restricting the deliveries would obviously have an impact of the sales of these companies, thereby impacting employment and the country’s economy as a whole. In addition, British knife making has been world renowned for hundreds of years. This proud tradition is now predominantly undertaken by custom makers operating in small workshops. This new legislation would cripple their ability to run their business, making it difficult for them to purchase the tools required for their manufacture and to ultimately sell their products to UK based customers and potentially affecting their overseas sales as well.

The new legislation also fails to mention antiques, which have been exempt from previous restrictions on bladed objects. A gang member is extremely unlikely to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds on an antique when they can obtain a new kitchen knife for a tiny fraction of that price or take one from a kitchen for free.

Considering the above discussion, I therefore urge you to reconsider this proposal and instead focus on the causes of the crime and address the worrying rise of gang culture amongst Britain’s youth.

Yours Faithfully,

Mr M. P. Szafran BSc (Hons)

12 July 2018

 

Prepared 23rd July 2018