Offensive Weapons Bill

Follow-up to written submission by Stephen Hills (OWB90(a))

As a follow up to my written submission (see below) I am delighted to read today a government response to an online petition, which can be found here –

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/222776?reveal_response=yes

The response includes the line –

Following concerns expressed in the consultation, certain defences were introduced into the Bill that has been published. The prohibition on the delivery of knives to residential addresses is now limited to those knives that can cause serious injury. If ordered online these knives will need to be collected from a place where age verification can take place, either by the purchaser or their representative. 

In respect of other bladed items and knives, the Bill provides a number of defences around the prohibition of delivery to a residential address. For example, deliveries to business premises, including where a business is run from home, would not be affected by the prohibition placed in the Bill on delivery to a residential address. Other items that would be exempt from the prohibition on delivery to a residential address would include encased razor blades; knives with a blade of less than 3 inches; knives that cannot cause serious injury, for example table knives; bladed products designed or manufactured to specifications from the buyer such as bespoke knives. There are also exemptions for bladed products that are used for sporting purposes, such as fencing swords and bladed products that would be used for re-enactment activities.

Apologies if I missed this in the wording of the original bill, but this answers my concerns by providing the solution under point 2 below, giving exemption to knives with blades under 3 inches long of the type commonly collected and legally carried and used by many (boy scouts included!)

Many thanks

Yours

Stephen Hills

July 2018

Original Submission – 15th July 2018

Summary

I write as a collector of pocket knives, fully supportive of this legislation to tackle violent crime, but with a concern that Section 15 of the proposed legislation – "Delivery of bladed products to residential premises" – may have a negative impact on hobbyist collectors.


Submission

I am concerned in case a small group of people who would be affected by the legislation may ha ve been overlooked. I am referring to ‘collectors’ . I collect small pocket knives, mainly Swiss Army knives, new and vintage - all are folding and under 3-i nch blade length, and thus within the law for both owning and carrying in public , although most spend their time sitting unused on display shelves.

As part of th e hobby, collectors buy, sell and swap pocket knives between themselves, and use Royal Mail for postage and delivery. 

My question and concern is -  

Does the legislation requiring retailers to deliver to a collection point rather than a domestic address also apply to individuals buying and selling knives between collectors? If so, this would ma ke it almost impossible to send or receive knives between individuals, as the Royal Mail 'Local Collect' service, through which parcels can be delivered to a Post Office for collection, is a vailable to retailers selling knives online, but n ot to individual members of the public.

There would be four ways, it seems to me, to avoid this being a problem

1. If private individuals we re not classed as 'sellers and bu yers' (Para 15(1))

2. If the 'f olding knife with blade less than three inches long' exemption in the UK legal knife carry law was included in this legislation, to exclude small pocket knives from being included in 'bladed products'

3. If 'sporting purposes' in Para 16(4) below included 'collecting' or if this was extended to read 'sporting and collecting purposes'

16(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 15 to prove that they reasonably believed that the buyer bought the bladed product for use for relevant sporting purposes or for the purposes of historical re-enactment.

4. If the Post Office had a means by which private individuals could post to a post office branch for collection, rather than to a residential address.

The most straightforward solution is perhaps number 4 above – an amendment to 16(4) of the bill to state – ‘for use for relevant sporting purposes, the purposes of historical re-enactment, or collecting for display rather than use’ , or similar wording.

I hope that one of the suggested amendments, or some other method that may already have been considered, will take into account the needs of those who enjoy this harmless hobby.

Yours

Stephen Hills

 

Prepared 23rd July 2018