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The British war on knives is a fool’s errand

The British war on knives is a fool’s errand

The London mayor says there’s no reason to carry one

When you do away with guns, you apparently get more knives. It stands to reason.

And you know what? You apparently get more guns, too (or at least, more use of them by the “bad guys”):

The increase in London homicides has been so profound that for the first time in recorded history the UK capitol’s murder rate has surpassed New York City’s…

In January, the UK’s Office for National Statistics published the statistical bulletin, “Crime in England and Wales: year ending September 2017.”…

The report stated that there had been a 20 percent increase in offenses involving firearms from October 2016 through September 2017 over the same period a year earlier. This included a 36 percent increase in offenses involving shotguns and a 20 percent increase in offenses involving handguns. Handguns are prohibited in the UK outside of Northern Ireland.

Most of this has occurred in London. And knife attacks have also increased, with the following reaction from authorities and activists:

Having stripped the law-abiding of the most useful means of self-defense, activists and government officials now busy themselves with knife control. Anti-knife activists from the Save a Life – Surrender Your Knife campaign provide “knife banks” where owners can relinquish their blades anonymously. Having collected a reported 100,000 knives so far, which they used to create an anti-knife sculpture, knife control activists recently met with Home Office officials to coordinate a nationwide campaign to collect 1 million blades.

The UK already prohibits most knife sales to those under 18, bans a wide array of knives and swords outright, and prohibits subjects from carrying any knife other than a 3-inch or shorter non-locking folding knife “without good reason.”

This is not from the Onion:

…a March 16 sweep [of refuse and shrubbery] by officers near London’s Regents Park uncovered a pair of plyers, two screwdrivers, scissors, and a file, which the department assured the public were “safely disposed [of] and taken off the streets.” With the help of local students, last October police in London’s Telegraph Hill were able to protect residents from a pair of scissors, something the department referred to as a “potential weapon.” A month earlier, a “weapon sweep” in Barnsbury prevented a gardening tool from “end[ing] up in the wrong hands.”

This is more than disarming the public; it’s detooling the public. And it’s doomed to failure. You could say “knives and screwdrivers don’t kill people; people do.” And if people are determined to kill and threaten and harm, they will find a way. People are quite ingenious, especially when angry.

And if people are not allowed to defend themselves, only the “bad guys” will have weapons—or will make weapons out of common objects found every day in your home. At least, they used to be found in your home.

Most articles about this development have focused on the London Mayor’s tweet:

But this is part of a much larger picture, which has been ongoing (as the link he provides in the above tweet shows). As Guy Benson writes at Townhall:

There is never a reason to carry a knife? What about to defend yourself against the criminals murdering people in London? Or is self-defense now officially becoming a criminal offense in Great Britain?

Well, yes.

[NOTE: You may be surprised to learn that in the US, where knife laws are passed on a state-by-state basis, there are some states that have fairly Draconian laws against carrying certain kinds of knives. I haven’t done a country-wide search on this, but my impression is that none come close to the extent of the ban in the UK, and I’ve never heard of drives to surrender knives or to find them in park shrubbery. Most of the US laws concentrate on switchblades and specialized weapons and ban any carrying of knives by minors on school property.

For example, here are the laws in New York, and here’s Ohio and Mississippi. As you might expect, Texas laws are far less restrictive.]

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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I remember a binge of buying baseball bats for self defense in the UK a couple of years ago. Are they also banned now?

    Milhouse in reply to openeyes. | April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am

    If it’s carried as a weapon, then yes, it is banned, and has been for many years. Even a belt with spikes can be considered a dangerous weapon and you can be arrested for wearing it on the street. None of this is new, either; the UK went crazy on this topic a long time ago, and by now most people never remember a time when it was different.

    pwaldoch in reply to openeyes. | April 10, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Not yet, but what happens when they want to start banning Cricket bats along side baseball bats?

      Arminius in reply to pwaldoch. | April 11, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      In order to combat violent crime, Parliament is going to decree that their new national sport is Nerf ball.

    star1701gazer in reply to openeyes. | April 10, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    The next campaign will be “Don’t be a prat-turn in your bat!” LOL insanity reigns

    harleycowboy in reply to openeyes. | April 11, 2018 at 11:51 am

    The only thing that is banned is defending yourself.

A Canadian friend asked me if I thought there was any reason for someone to carry a knife. My response was “to defend yourself if you couldn’t carry a gun.” Apparently “defend yourself” was a very confusing, alien concept to her. That was the job of the police.

Being a fairly serious student of WW II, it is very hard to square the descendants of the people who stood alone for years against Hitler having lost their way so badly.

    AlecRawls in reply to Tregonsee. | April 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    In CA (where I couldn’t carry a gun because the right to bear arms is systematically violated) I always carried a knife. Knife clip must be visible or other restrictions come into play. Size restriction used to be extreme. Actually had a cop demand to see my knife (no interaction other than he saw I had a knife) and he used the width of his palm to see if blade was legal. That is what police were instructed. “If it crosses your palm it is illegal,” and they actually enforced it.

    Note also that there are dozens of CA non-firearms weapons laws where MERE POSSESSION is a felony. One example: a slingshot, a kid’s rubber band powered slingshot. That one was local. The state has a pre-emption law for firearms laws but for everything else localities can do whatever they want and they violate the Second Amendment like mad.

    Probably the same in many states until 2nd starts being treated as ordinary constitutional law. These laws don’t get enforced much but they confer tremendous arbitrary power. If they want an excuse to turn you into a felon and take away your guns they have a whole book of them. Scary.

    CA state law: mere possession of a STICK is a felony if an officer decides to classify it as a “blackjack,” which is just any kind of club. They can classify mere possession of your flashlight a felony and the “mere possession” part means they don’t have to make any case for intent.

    If you keep a little bat inside the door to your house, as many people do, thinking that since you are allowed to keep a gun then surely you must be allowed this much more modest defensive weapon, not in CA, where everyone who does this IS a felon. You just haven’t been arrested yet, but you can be, anytime, at any officer’s whim. Claim all you want that it is not for self-defense. MERE POSSESSION is a felony.

    To be vindicated you will have to win a constitutional case, which will require the Supreme Court agreeing to hear your case. Good luck.

Soon they’ll be reduced to cutting down trees with herrings.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to OllBlueEyes. | April 10, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:
    – I Samuel 13:20

And at the same time the disarm their citizens, they are arresting people, and denying people entry into UK for ‘thought crimes’.

Give up your 2A and see what will happen here too.

    Milhouse in reply to Exiliado. | April 10, 2018 at 9:33 am

    We deny people entry to the US for “thought crimes” too. There is no right for foreigners to be given a visa to any country, so the first amendment doesn’t apply. (Which should be borne in mind when considering the notion, invented only last year, that it would be unconstitutional to ban the entry of Moslems. I think such a ban would be bad policy, but so long as it only applied to non-resident aliens I can’t see a constitutional problem with it.)

The people that got rid of guns after WWI needed to arm the home guard in the late 1930s, since there were no civilian guns to equip this civilian guard they appealed to a class of people that had guns. The American sportsman, thousands of donated guns were sent to the UK to arm the home guard. I wonder when the sheeple of the UK wake up and try to take back their once proud country from the weakest members of society. I guess being a subject doesn’t have it’s advantages.

    Ragspierre in reply to Winchester. | April 10, 2018 at 8:25 am

    After the war, the Brits couldn’t be bothered with returning all those guns, so they just scrapped them.

    This is one BIG reason there are so few pre-war SAA Colts on the market.

      alaskabob in reply to Ragspierre. | April 10, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Dumped into concrete as “rebar” when rebuilding. That being said I have two “red banded” repatriated 1917 Enfields…one a Remington and the other a Winchester. Just wish the Colts and such had made it back.

And apparently, in UK now people don’t have the right to self defense.
Defending yourself from burglars inside your own home can get you in jail too. Even if you don’t own/use a gun, or a knife.

    Milhouse in reply to Exiliado. | April 10, 2018 at 9:42 am

    The law, even in the UK, says they do have that right, and accordingly the police have decided not to pursue charges against Mr Osborne-Brooks. However in the US he would never have been arrested in the first place. His innocence would be so obvious no policeman would see the need to do so. He would merely be asked politely to come in and give a statement and then driven home. In the UK he was arrested and it took several days for the police to conclude he’d done nothing wrong. And now he’s afraid of retaliation by the burglar’s relatives.

      mailman in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 10:10 am

      The arrest is where the problem started. If the police had the flexibility to investigate first before laying charges then none of this would have blown up (especially considering they would have been very familiar with the crim who ended up at room temperature).

      However the coppers where have no flexibility. They had to arrest the pensioner on suspicion of murder and then carry out their investigation!!!

      It is very real that you are not actually allowed to defend yourself in this country!

      alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      The concept is proportional response. If someone comes at you with a knife, all you can use maximally is a similar knife. Equality of opportunity. Superior strength or numbers of criminals is not directly feed into decisions.

        Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | April 10, 2018 at 1:01 pm

        That’s not what “proportionality” means. It means the force used must be proportionate to the risk, not to the criminal’s weapon. Deadly force may only be used to defend against the prospect of death, grevious bodily harm, or rape, not merely mild injury or theft of property. See here.

          alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 3:34 pm

          I am discussing England not USA. As Steyn pointed out with examples, use of any force in Britain is dependent on many things including weapon. If someone attacks with a knife to kill you and in the fight you gain advantage of the knife you can not use it against the unarmed criminal without facing arrest and conviction.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 7:44 pm

          The doctrine of proportionality is the same in both countries. Steyn is exaggerating for effect, as he does. But even here, once you have firm possession of the knife you are not entitled to use it on your attacker, unless you are still in serious danger of death or severe injury, e.g. because he has another knife.

          randian in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 11:44 pm

          The notion that I must allow the attack to continue because I cannot use weapons superior to those borne by them is immoral and stupid because it hands the advantage over the the likely younger, fitter attacker. Furthermore, the notion that fists and elbows cannot cause grievous bodily harm, especially to a significantly lighter or older defender, runs counter to the facts.

          ConradCA in reply to Milhouse. | April 11, 2018 at 6:21 pm

          When someone uses deadly force against you that’s proof that they are trying to kill you and you can use deadly force against them.

        Arminius in reply to alaskabob. | April 11, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        Sorry, alaskabob, but milhous is right. As a legal term, proportionality is not used as you might think.

        I’m most familiar with it as one of the four principles of the Law Of Armed Conflict (LOAC). Proportionality does not mean that the US must fight with one arm tied behind our backs simply because we have planes and arty and the Taliban only has AKs and the love of Allah. They fight with a knife, we throw our rifles away and fight with our bayonets sort of thing.

        No, that’s not it.

        It means that the damage we do to property and the incidental loss of life must not be excessive in relation to the military advantage we expect to achieve.

Bucky Barkingham | April 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

As noted people are very ingenious when it comes to making offensive weapons. In prisons the “guests” make tooth brushes into stabbing implements. Of course the Brits, with their stereotypical bad teeth, may have a shortage of tooth brushes to turn into weapons.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to Bucky Barkingham. | April 10, 2018 at 10:00 am

    As witness the Millwall Brick, made from folded newspaper. How long until they ban non-electronic copies of the press? After all, is there a NEED for a printed copy?

This issue (knife control) has a fairly lengthy history. Back in July 2008 the push was on for knife control in England and Wales. Statistics of the time showed over 350 attacks with a knife were being reported each day! Presumably an “attack” included having a knife waved at you during a robbery on the street, but still the number is huge.–ministers-insist-crime-rates-falling.html

I have seen similar in Boy Scouts, where we used to have sheath knifes as a normal part of camping. Of course, boys being boys, we would play with the knives some games where some got hurt, so the answer was to ban sheath knives, allowing only pocket knives that were no longer than 4 fingers long.

I carry a couple of knives all the time. Two of my old Boy Scout knives and a silver handle knife my Dad used to carry. Where I work we are not supposed to carry them, but I use them regularly, they are tools and can (and have been) used as defense.

I think England is losing it’s collective mind. Between the massive invasion they are permitting via compassionate immigration, the banning of guns, the allowing enclaves where the police cannot go as they are Muslim territory, it is like they want to surrender to being taken over. National pride is gone, rights are being dismantled. I don’t get it.

    LCVRWC in reply to oldgoat36. | April 10, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Amen, brother. In junior and senior high school (in the 70s) I always had my grandfather’s Case knife with me. Nowadays, it’s a rare day that I don’t have my Swiss Army knife with me. Never had to use it in self-defense, and some might say bringing a SAK to a knife-fight (let alone a gun-fight) is next to useless, but it’s better than nothing.

As others have noted, when you take away the guns the criminals will wreak havoc with other weapons. But the thing about guns is they make a very fine defensive weapon. Even an old lady can largely equalize the equation against a 275 lb thug if she’s holding a .38

But bats and knives make much poorer defensive weapons. You have to get close enough to the assailant to make contact which of course puts you in harms way. And you have to have strength, dexterity and speed to be be effective, things many people lack.

So the net effect of banning guns is that you make the weak much more vulnerable.

    Milhouse in reply to Paul. | April 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

    They Were Having A Sale At The Gun Store

    © Leslie Fish

    They were having a sale at the gun store; the Jukes boys decided to go
    With the moonshine gone bad, and the poaching gone thin
    Their business was doing quite slow
    So they bought them a lot of hand-cannons, intent upon robb’ry and more
    But they never once thought to consider
    That they weren’t alone in the store.

    Next in line was a little old lady, and next was a handsome young dame
    After her, came a man in a wheelchair
    Then a lad with an underweight frame
    They watched while the Jukes boys were buying, and considered what such boys would do
    Then they looked at each other, they said not a word
    But bought themselves hand-cannons too.

    Well, that night Billy Jukes went out hunting; he spotted a girl who looked great
    But when he pulled her into an alley
    She pulled out a big 38.
    He thought this was feminine bluffing; “Naw, girl, you can’t shoot me,” he said
    Well, the very next second she proved he was wrong
    And Billy Jukes quite lost his head.

    Well, Joey Jukes went for the money, so he went to a big liquor store
    And he hauled out his two-barrelled shotgun
    The moment he walked through the door
    He aimed at all present, and bellowed “Give me all ya got, or yer dead!”
    So the counterboy lifted his 44 mag
    And did just what Joey Jukes said.

    Now, Beauregarde Jukes chose his pickin’s with more care and planning by far
    He jumped on a little old lady
    Who was just getting into her car
    But she promptly reached into her handbag and used the best choice she could make
    For a 25 auto has such light recoil
    As even a frail hand can take.

    Now Roy Jukes was good at house burgling and still thought he’d escape without harm
    When the owner rolled in with a shotgun
    Braced on his wheelchair’s arm
    “Well, they’ll bust you for shooting–” Roy started, but the man’s shotgun cut off the lot
    And he said, as he muscled Roy’s corpse out the door
    “There are no ballistics on shot.”

    So that was the end of the Jukes boys; the cops had to clean up the mess
    So they slandered gun-owning civilians
    All over the liberal press
    But the victors who might have been victims go silent, although this is true:
    So long as there’s one weapon left in the world,
    You better have you a gun too.

Good article but the linked summary of Texas concealed weapons law, noted as updated in September, 2017, isn’t quite accurate.

Licensed concealed carry became lawful for four year colleges and universities in August, 2016 and for two year institutions in August, 2017.

The “51% Law” applies only to businesses which sell and serve (not “or”) adult beverages for on-premise consumption and have more than 50% of their income from adult beverages. These businesses must post a “red sign” stating that carry is always unlawful:

Businesses which sell and serve adult beverages for on-premise consumption where 50% or less of their income derives from such sales and service (e.g. restaurants), or businesses which sell any amount (100% for liquor stores) only for off-premise consumption, are required to post a “blue sign” notice that “unlicensed carry” is prohibited:

“No excuses. There is never a reason for you to – ”

First off, check your tone. You don’t own me, you are not my mother. In fact you seen confused about the whole public servant thing. You work for us, although it’s no wonder England is falling apart with that kind of attitude.

Second, how could you possibly know what I need and when I’ll need it you got no business speculating about whether I need a knife or not.

Beyond that, it takes a special kind of arrogance to assume you know whether there is ever any reason for anyone to carry a knife.

What the hell has happened to England? 10 years ago they would have dragged this twit out into the street and come with his ass.

    Clinger in reply to Fen. | April 10, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Charlie Rangel interview:

    “Rangel: Well law-abiding citizens just shouldn’t have to carry a gun.
    You know that, so you’re not going to push me in that direction.

    Pickett: But you’re protected by guns all over the place here in the Capitol.

    Rangel, laughing: Well, that’s a little different. I think we deserve–I think we need to be protected down here.”

    Their arrogance offends me.

What about pointed sticks? Or fresh fruit?

The increase in London homicides has been so profound that for the first time in recorded history the UK capitol’s murder rate has surpassed New York City’s…

Capital. Neither the UK nor NY has a “Capitol”.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 10:08 am

    NY does indeed have a capitol, but it is not located in NYC. It is is part of the Empire State Plaza complex on State Street in Albany, the capital of NY.


“There is no reason for anyone to clench their fist in public, thereby being in possession of an offensive weapon.”

To be followed by:

“To open one’s hand flat, fingers and thumb aligned together, will be construed to be a potential martial arts attacking weapon…”

No doubt something similar will apply to the extended middle finger.

“there is never a reason to carry be knife”

I just remembered. London, middle of the afternoon, raghead runs over one of your own soldiers and procedure decapitate him in the street in broad daylight.

Your men stood around and stared down at their shoes. Your police showed up and did nothing because they had neither guns or knives. It took a woman the show courage and talk the jihadi down.

The secret for having a baseball bat in the back seat is to also have a couple of gloves and a ball, and a teenage boy.

Someone recently emailed me a picture of UK approved kitchen knives which had a rounded, dull knob on the end, and just a tiny little separate point under it that started the cutting edge. Jesus.

I wonder how the UK would react to my pocket knife, a 4″ Benchmade 9050 automatic. I only carry it because opening a package with a gun usually makes a mess, even outside.

So how do they do surgery. Are the #15 scalpel blades also rounded on the end?

    Mac45 in reply to MajorWood. | April 10, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Be careful where you carry that knife. The 9050 is not an assisted opening knife, but an automatic knife totally opened by a compressed spring. In many jurisdictions, this makes it illegal, a la a switchblade. Knife laws are an incredible hodge podge which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Of course, they are all unconstitutional. But, the 2nd Amendment is essentially dead, in this country.

England has had weapons bans since the Middle Ages. It is essentially a part of their culture. Law abiding British hem and haw about it, but then go back to being good little drones.

Now, the bulk of these knife attacks are being perpetrated by immigrants or first and second generation citizens from third world countries. And, a lot of them are the result of inter-gang violence. But, rather than target the gang members and the groups of people from which the perpetrators come, the answer is to deny the law abiding citizenry access to what is arguably the most widely used tool in the world, the knife. When the NYPD and CPD were conducting their Stop and Frisk programs, street level violence, especially gun violence, dropped considerably and remained low, until the ACLU stuck its nose into the situation. Then the violence jumped in both cities.

    alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | April 10, 2018 at 11:39 am

    England had a vibrant gun culture in the 1800’s and the gun trade was booming with the likes of Purdey, Holland & Holland , Westley Richards, Rigby, Greener … et al. The Irish troubles and the fear of Bolshevik uprising really put bans into high gear. People forget that Dunblane killings that totally banned handguns was in part the willful destruction of the guy by a town without pity.

    Shane in reply to Mac45. | April 10, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I live in TX, should I be subject to stop and frisk? Even if it would statistically lower crime?

      Mac45 in reply to Shane. | April 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Are YOU carrying contraband? If not, you have nothing to worry about. Even in NYC and Chicago, these stop and frisk incidents were not simply a LEO stopping anyone walking down the sidewalk. Nor was it simply every minority. Most of these stops could be justified and the frisk is simply a pat down for weapons. Given the areas in which these stops were occurring, the frisk was justifiable as well. Now, whether tyour area would benefit from aggressive stops would depend upon the crime rate and the amount of violent street crime. So, would it be beneficial to have an aggressive stop and frisk policy in your area?

My favorite front door weapon is what I call my “weed wacker”. It’s composed of a long axe handle with a 10 inch saw blade at the end. I deepend the wedge kerf at the center on a band saw to a depth of 6 inches, inserted the saw blade and drilled a cross hole for a bolt that went through the wood and the center of the blade. The blade I used is an old non-carbide 12 tooth rip blade with 13/4 inch deep gullets. Each tooth looks like it could rip your heart out. I only had to bring it out once.The guy took one look at it and was gone. If you ever have to use a weapon like this you better be prepared for medieval type blood and gore. That’s why my back up is a .45 Long Colt. One nice big hole that will knock him back to the sidewalk where he can bleed out on public property.

Henry Hawkins | April 10, 2018 at 12:26 pm

I’m making a mint on eBay selling knife silencers to the UK market.

Interesting video about knife rights:

I knew a chef that took his set of knives home every night each wrapped carefully in cotton clothes. Good knives are expensive fine tools.

If knives are outlawed, only kitchens will have knives.

As Spain previewed WW2, as Israel previewed the current fundamentalist Islamic war, so the UK is previewing the war against personal safety.

“The London mayor says there’s no reason to carry one”

Of course he does. He’s protecting his co-religionists when they launch (an ever increasing number) attacks.

It amuses me that the mayor of Lononistan wants to ban knives.

Here in Texas, last July Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1935 into law, removing size restrictions on knife blades carried publicly by adults.

It used to be that the maximum length knife you could carry in public was five and a half inches. I have a nice collection of neck and boot knives from three and a half to four an a half inches. It’s difficult to conceal a longer knife.

But now with no restriction on blade length I can strap a sword on and walk around in public. And no, I’m not kidding. Open carry of swords has been legal since the law went into effect seven months ago.

Texas. Giving Mayor Sadiq Khan the finger since 2017.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard of the incredible spike in beheadings and disembowelments since the law went into effect. Haven’t you? Haven’t you?

Yeah, me neither. A huge reason for that is almost everybody has a concealed carry license for handguns. Try threatening a stranger with your sword; you may be in for a big surprise.

    Arminius in reply to Arminius. | April 11, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Actually you never see anyone carrying a sword. I’d feel ridiculous. The law clears up a lot of things. For instance, you can now carry double edge knives, or daggers, and Bowie knives are now legal to carry. Yeah, it blew my mind when I moved here. In Texas of all places it was illegal to carry a Bowie knife. I thought we were supposed to be remembering the Alamo.

    In reality you don’t see any people on the street wearing huge Bowie knives, either.

    But I can guarantee that if London mayor Khan ever visits Texas he’ll see more people on the streets wearing swords than ever haunted his worst nightmare. And the Texas cops in his security detail will just look at him and grin as he freaks out.

So what happens after they ban guns, knives, bats, and everything else under the sun, and then homicides where people are being beat to death become common? Will they then ban hands and feet?

    pilgrim1949 in reply to Cleetus. | April 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    In the 1960s, Richard Armour wrote a humorous book called “It all started with stones and clubs”, a history of warfare.

    In it he noted that first offensive weapon was the fist, followed by the first defensive weapon, the skull.

    Methinks too may Brits (and gun-control freaks) have rather thick “defensive weapons” containing bird-sized brains.