U.K. Gun Laws: Offensive Weapons Act Receives Royal Assent

     

    TFB recently presented the Laws in the United Kingdom on how to obtain a Firearms License. I think we can all agree that they are pretty strict as they are, but unfortunately, things are becoming even stricter.

    As the Government tries to fight acid attacks and crimes with sharp objects, they sneak in more laws against firearms.

    The ban on sales and possession (in certain places) of “corrosive products” is an answer to the numerous acid attacks.

    A corrosive product “refers to any chemical that will dissolve the structure of an object. They can be acids, oxidizers, or bases.” (Source)

    The United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world (Source).

    The Offensive Weapons Bill has now received Royal Assent and has become an official law, and below is a short quote:

    a ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of rapid firing rifles and bump stocks, which increase a rifle’s rate of fire. The ban on the manufacture and sale of these weapons has now come into force with immediate effect

    Bump stocks are banned

    You have to ask the questions. How many bump stocks are there in the U.K.? How many semi-automatic firearms are there in the U.K. that could possibly “benefit” of such a bump stock? The answer must be very close to zero, but now they are banned as a gesture. How many crimes have been committed with legal firearms? How many crimes will this stricter laws stop? About zero is my guess.

    According to the United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association (UKPSA)there has been no guidance released on what people with Leaver Release or MARS actions are required to do other than they can no longer be manufactured or sold in the UK.”

    Southern Gun Company (UK) is one company that makes these types of rifles, and you can find examples of both MARS actions and manual action lever release rifles here. You are going to think they are quite expensive, and unfortunately, their small market just became extinct.

    .223 Straight Pull Rifle “The Speedmaster” (Southern Gun Company UK)

     

    The Full Announcement from GOV.UK reads:

    Offensive Weapons Act receives Royal Assent

    New legislation paves the way for Knife Crime Prevention Orders.

    The Offensive Weapons Act has today (Thursday 16 May) received Royal Assent, bringing in tough new measures that strengthen law enforcement’s response to violent crime.

    The Act will make it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star knives, and will make it a criminal offence to dispatch bladed products sold online without verifying the buyer is over 18.

    The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is also providing additional support to the police through Knife Crime Prevention Orders. These Orders will act as a deterrent to those vulnerable to becoming involved in knife crime. They will also enable the courts to place restrictions on individuals to help the police manage those at risk in the community.

    Guidance on the process for Knife Crime Prevention Orders will be published, including operational guidance to police forces, ahead of a pilot in London.

    Holland & Holland London (Photo by author)

    Sajid Javid, Home Secretary said:

    As Home Secretary, I’m doing everything in my power to tackle the scourge of serious violence. Our new Offensive Weapons Act is a central part of this.

    These new laws will give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons and ensure knives are less likely to make their way onto the streets in the first place. The Act will also see the introduction of Knife Crime Prevention Orders – a power the police called for.

    As well as tough law enforcement, it’s hugely important we continue our work to steer young people away from a life of crime in the first place.

    James Purdey and Sons Ltd, London (Photo by author)

    The Act includes a number of other measures to tackle serious violence, including:

    • a ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of rapid firing rifles and bump stocks, which increase a rifle’s rate of fire. The ban on the manufacture and sale of these weapons has now come into force with immediate effect
    • a ban on selling bladed products to a residential address without age verification
    • updating the definition of flick knives to reflect changing weapon designs and banning private possession of flick knives and gravity knives
    • changing the legal definition for threatening someone with an offensive weapon to make prosecutions easier
    • banning the sale of corrosive products to under 18s
    • making it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place

    The government will also consult on guidance for some of the new measures in the Act and engage with businesses and industry on how the legislation will affect them before it comes into force.

    The Offensive Weapons Act and strong law enforcement form part of the government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which combines tough action with the vital need to steer young people away from crime in the first place.

    Recently the U.K. government launched a £200 million 10-year Youth Endowment Fund to create a generational shift in violent crime. There is also an ongoing consultation on a new ‘public health duty’ which is intended to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger.

     

    The wording “dangerous weapons” is very poor, but it’s easy to understand why some people would like to use it.

    All weapons, and some “non-weapons”, are dangerous depending on how they are used. So there will always be a dangerous weapon around to ban, in eternity.

    The term “we are only going to ban the most dangerous weapons this time” is a phrase that a lot of the population will agree to because it gives an impression of safety.

    It’s like “we’re only going to ban the dangerous cars this time“. Yes, why not? It makes me feel safe. But then all of a sudden your car is on the list, and then the fun is over.

    And I think that’s where this is going to end eventually. Almost everything will be banned, but some will still wonder why crime hasn’t stopped albeit their best intentions.

     

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too. TCCC Certified medic.


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