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December 13, 2004
Everything Not Regulated Will Be Banned

The Guardian (UK) reports today that British victims groups have called for tougher weapons laws. Of course, Britain already has strict gun-control laws, but now the effort is to regulate knives:

Families of stabbing victims will today call on the government to make carrying a knife as serious an offence as carrying a gun.

The group, which includes Damilola Taylor's father, will demand that ministers introduce a five-year minimum jail term for carrying an object with a blade longer than three inches, which would equalise the penalties for knives and guns.

They also want to see a six-month minimum jail term for carrying a blade shorter than three inches, or three months for juveniles.

Once again, we see a push for criminalizing the use of a tool that can just as easily be used for defensive as well as offensive purposes -- and unlike guns, has practical uses as well. One British politico proposes jailing those who carry knives "for the wrong purposes", as though one could divine intent without the commission of a crime.

I have no problem for giving long jail sentences to those who use knives (and guns) during the commission of a crime. Upsentencing is one of the reasons the law distinguishes between robbery and armed robbery, after all. But criminalizing knives only serves to disarm an already-disarmed law-abiding citizenry while the rest of the nutcases get an even larger margin of firepower over their victims. What's next? Will one need a plumber's licence to possess a lead pipe? Will people be required to show a mountaineering certificate to buy rope?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 13, 2004 6:55 AM

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» Penumbra in the UK from Dangerous Dan
There's a move afoot in the UK to ban those under-18 from buying knives and that "carrying knives 'for the wrong reasons' should receive mandatory sentences of up to three years." This sort of law leaves just enough penumbra that it sure to be ab... [Read More]

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» UK knife ban from The Unabrewer
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