The Offensive Weapons Bill will make it harder for young people to buy knives and acid online with sellers requiring rigorous age verification to prove anyone purchasing knives or corrosives are over 18. Failure to do so will leave the seller liable for prosecution.
The Bill will also ban possession of weapons such as zombie knives, knuckle dusters and death stars both in public and private. Those who already own weapons such as these will be forced to hand them in to police.
It will also make it illegal to possess a rapid-firing, or “bump stock”, rifle. The sort that was used to murder 58 people in Las Vegas last year.
In 2017, there was a 22 per cent increase in offences involving knives/sharp instrument. Between 2012/13 and 2016/17 the number of recorded corrosive substance (acid) attacks increased from 183 to 504. The measures in this Bill will fulfil some of the commitments made in the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, published earlier this year.
This Bill reclassifies certain weapons, and makes it harder to both buy them and increase the penalties for possessing them. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP said:
It is totally wrong that young people are able to get their hands on dangerous weapons such as knives and harmful acids. That is why we are making the laws around this even tighter…. and I am determined to do everything I can to help the police keep weapons off our streets.
This is a Government Bill introduced by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP.
Many of the measures in this Bill will probably get cross-party support. However, the Labour Party opposition has long argued that lack of police resources and reduced police presence on the streets is also responsible for the increase in violent crime, which is not an issue addressed in this Bill.
The Bill will also place a burden of responsibility on online retailers to perform more checks and take more responsibility which may result in an impact on their revenue.
How to get involved
You can contact your MP, or the Home Office.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
As a Government Bill, it is likely to become law.