Ban on knives, firearms and offensive weapons comes into force

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Home Secretary Priti Patel. Image: Gov.uk

A tough ban on a wide range of knives, weapons, and firearms comes into force today as part of government action to tackle violent crime and serious violence.

Cyclone knives, spiral knives and ‘rapid-fire’ rifles are among those covered by the ban, all of which have been associated with serious violence in communities across the UK.

A new legal definition of flick knives, banned since 1959, also takes effect, resulting in more of these bladed weapons being outlawed.

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All weapons banned in public by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, including zombie knives, shuriken or death stars and knuckledusters, will now also be banned in private, meaning people can no longer keep them at home.

Anyone unlawfully possessing a firearm covered by the ban will face up to 10 years in prison and those possessing one of the other weapons can be sentenced to up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine or both.

“There is no place in our society for violent crime and harm caused by such knives and firearms. Lives have been lost through serious violence, and this ban will help save lives by getting more knives and other weapons off the streets and out of the hands of violent criminals,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel on July 14.


“The human suffering and hurt caused by the tragic loss of life through violent crime is unacceptable, which is why the government will stop at nothing to give the police the powers needed to stop violent crime and protect the public.

“From today, anyone possessing one of these deadly weapons unlawfully will face the full force of the law,” she said.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, added, “The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.


“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act. These measures will help officers to seize more dangerous weapons, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.

“Knife crime is not something that can be solved by policing alone. We are working with businesses, schools, charities and community schemes to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime,” he said.

The provisions are set out in the government’s Offensive Weapons Act, which received Royal Assent in May 2019.


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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Cyclone knives, spiral knives and ‘rapid-fire’ rifles are among those covered by the ban, all of which have been associated with serious violence in communities across the UK.”

    Unfortunately this statement is untrue. When pressed during the pre-legislation Consultation, the Home Office were unable to give a single example of a criminal case involving a so called “rapid-firing rifle”.

    The sporting rifles (scarily dubbed “rapid-fire rifles” by the Home Office ahead of this legislation) prohibited by the OWA have been used in zero – literally zero – criminal acts in the UK. Not zero this year, or in 2017. Zero. Ever.

    It was a shock to the target-shooting community when the HO sought their prohibition quite out-of-the-blue on the ever-nebulous grounds of “but terrorism”.

    One might wonder why there is not more scrutiny of such statements given Priti Patel’s known habit of misleading both parliament and public.

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