Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mr C W R Phillips (OWB86)

1. Summary:

Large numbers of things match the definition of a Bladed Article, so the proposed regulations would cause problems to almost everybody.

Many articles may match the definition of a bladed article, but because it is unclear people may break the proposed law because they do not realises that the thing they are posting does.

The proposals would create huge, sometimes insurmountable, problems to some legitimate purchases.

Past attempts to control crime by restricting honest citizens have failed and it is almost certain that these proposals would fail to.

2. I am a private individual and am likely to be effected by the proposals, along with almost everybody else in the country.

3. The definition of "bladed article" includes a lot of things the regulations are inappropriate for; hence they will cause problems for a very large number of people. Suppose I want a kitchen knife, a craft knife, a garden sickle etc. all of them are "bladed articles." Also note that none of these are for a "sporting purpose" which seems to be regarded as the only legitimate reason for purchasing a "bladed article."

4. There are also things that may fall under the classification but it is unclear, e.g. various garden tools that have an edge or point, but not a very sharp one. This is likely to cause some people to break the law because they do not realise it applies to what they are selling. A friend put a garden fork through his foot, so a garden fork "is capable of causing a serious injury to a person which involves cutting that person’s skin." I recently bought a Hori Hori, that is a trowel but the edges are sharp enough to probably class as a "bladed article."

5. Restrictions on sending "bladed articles" through the post can be a very serious problem under some circumstances: e.g. I am considering buying a decorative Kukri from Nepal, I don't want to go to Nepal to collect it and I cannot expect them to personally deliver it to my home; so this would become effectively impossible to purchase under the proposals. Granted that is something that could be used as a weapon, but I plan to hang it on a wall and a criminal would probably chose something cheaper and more concealable.

6. The restrictions on posting would also cause serious problems for the disabled or people who have difficulty travelling to a shop for some other reason. Note that some specialist tools would require travelling a significant distance to a shop which stocks them.

7. When I was a child nobody thought it a problem if young boys carried knives and we had little violent crime. Now we have many restrictions on knives and a serious violent crime problem. At best the restrictive laws have been a failure and at worst they are part of the problem, diverting effort away from what worked in the past.

8. I recommend that the entire concept of additional restrictions on "bladed articles" should be abandoned.

July 2018

 

Prepared 23rd July 2018