Much like in the United States, public officials have offered changes in UK knife laws over the years.
But recently, the UK has made numerous substantial changes in how they regulate the sale and possession of knives. It’s come in reaction to a rash of knife-related incidents in the UK, particularly London.
Some of these have already become law, while others are expected to do so in the coming months.
Evolving UK Knife Laws
One of the biggest changes in recent months has been the movement to change laws surrounding the purchase of knives online. The law was changed by the UK Parliament after a rash of street stabbings occurred.
In one case, six teenagers were stabbed in one 90-minute period in London. While four of the victims were seriously injured, none died. Much of the violence in London has been attributed to warring street gangs.
The new UK knife laws will ban people from ordering a knife online and having it delivered to a private residence. Those who buy online will have to pick up the knife in person. The retailer will have the responsibility to ensure the knife is legal and that the buyer is at least 18 years old – a requirement of British law.
Zombie Knives and Knuckle Dusters
Zombie knives and knuckle dusters – which are essentially brass knuckles – have been added to the list of banned knives by the UK. The government banned knife list also includes flick knives (essentially switch blades), as well as gravity knives, swords and push daggers.
Knives are banned unless they are carried in public for a “good reason.” Those reasons include:
- Carrying a knife you use at work
- Taking it to a gallery or museum to be exhibited
- For use in theater, film, television, historical reenactment or for religious purposes
Penalties can include four years in prison and unlimited fines.
Ban on Knives at Schools
The government also is banning possession of any type of knife on the premise of any further education campus, essentially colleges or universities.
The UK also is expanding its ability to stop and search people suspected of carrying illegal lives as well as acid, which also has been used in recent attacks.
Police and public officials have said the changes are needed to combat the sudden outbreak in fatal attacks, especially in London. Knives have been used in many of these attacks.
However, knife proponents have spoken out, saying the UK knife laws are far too restrictive for those who own knives legally for collecting purposes or for use in the outdoors. They have called on British officials to deal with the causes of the violence – mostly associated with gangs – rather than passing restrictions that step on the rights of all knife owners in the UK.