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Mike Pospichal





Joined: 20 May 2005

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 13 Dec, 2007 10:04 pm    Post subject: Britain banning samurai swords.         Reply with quote

I hadn't seen this posted here anywhere and thought it was interesting(and quite frightening). I wonder where they're going to draw the line on "cheap, easily available" ones and the "genuine more expensive samurai swords which are of interest to collectors and martial arts enthusiasts".

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNew...7520071214
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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Dec, 2007 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The factors leading to this ban (or at least similar) have been discussed before on myArmoury. In reverse chronological order (i.e. recent first):
Vote on swords being banned in the UK
Ministers' proposal to ban in Scotland
Sword Legislation in Scotland

The specific news link in Mike's post, however, is regarding a consultation result, not any written legislation as of yet. The specifics have been discussed on a thread at the Nihonto Message Board and I'm going to repost a few of the pertinent links here:
Consultation paper on weapons ban
BBC video on proposed ban

I've watched this slowly unfolding over the past several years and it's disheartening. Naturally the attacks, few though horrific as they may be, are being carried out with cheap replica items that have nothing to do with our interests. However, the consequences damage our interests regardless. If a ban is going to take place--and at this point it will--then exemptions should be necessary, but defining and enforcing them will be another challenge altogether. There have already been genuine antique Japanese art swords submitted (for destruction, presumably) to UK police departments, some thankfully rescued by museum curators.

The paper linked above references support for exemptions largely due to the actions of UK Token societies, martial arts organizations, and private collectors; I would like to thank them for engaging the UK government in an intelligent consideration of relevant issues.

I would like to remind myArmoury members to keep discussion of this topic at our site's usual high caliber. This ban may raise some strong emotional responses, but if we believe that collection of historic arms and armour is a legitimate hobby, then we have a responsibility towards our pursuit's reputation.

Thank you,
Gabriel L.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
________
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 6:06 am    Post subject: Britain Banning Samurai Swords         Reply with quote

Looks like there will be no martial artist in Britain using samurai swords during training as the country bans such swords. What do you people think? Is it clever to do so?
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Doug Bostic




Location: Tucson, AZ
Joined: 24 Sep 2007

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually from the looks of this
Quote:
However collectors of genuine Japanese swords and those used by martial arts enthusiasts would be exempt from the ban.

that won't be the case.
I'm just curious as to how and where the legal lines will be drawn on the topic.
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Dan P




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Jun 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So how is this going to affect collectors and responsible users of "midrange" swords like the stuff from Hanwei? On one hand its not an antique or nihonto, but almost no one would argue that its not a real sword either. My gut feeling is that the government is simply going to ban these as well because its easier to legislate, or waste tons of money forcing everyone who wants one to get a license proving their affiliation with a martial school. Which would then also have to register with the government. Or something.

I hope this never makes it over the water to the USA, but I'm sure our politicians are as crazy as everyone elses and they'd buy it up in a heartbeat if they thought it would win votes.
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George Davidson




Location: Glasgow Scotland
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

there is a lot of concern for what exactly the legislation will say. What exactly IS a genuine Japanese sword? Does the law affect sabres as the description will be similar. What constitutes a collector or a martial artist?

Assuming they can agree on definitions ... Martial artists, re-enactors and collectors should be exempt HOWEVER there is concern that the average policeman stopping and asking to see in your bag will be unlikely to be able to tell the difference between a cheapo katana and a blunt longsword. Intent (which is a legal requirement before a crime is being committed) is often ignored under current govt. stats driven targets, which has more to do with tabloid/govt inspired fear or spin than good policing.

In the UK, measures that are brought in for extreme circumstances often become the standard i.e. terrorist legislation being used to suppress legitimate freedom of speech. There is also a great deal of worry given this administrations tendency to use a wide brush and simply ban everything in the hope that a scattergun approach will somehow solve problems (10yrs of labour govt, 3000+ new laws - and they often break the laws they themselves enacted) that are simply the visible aspect of a more fundamental problem.

Yes, we are ALL worried about what it will mean to grant funding, insurance, hall leasing and police 'harassment'. I've already created ID cards for all my groups members in case they should be stopped and need some corroboration they are martial artists on their way to a longsword class.
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Pierre T.




Location: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 14 Dec 2007

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this a lot.

I used to work as a compliance officer, and I've studied effective enforcement and regulations. There is actually a "science" of sort behind what makes good laws and good enforcement activities, but it's only in its infancy and it's not always heeded.

So, speaking in very general terms, when you are trying to deal with crime, you can target three things (via laws or enforcement):
-Will
-Means
-Opportunity

Banning a certain weapon is trying to regulate crime by controlling a mean to commit crime. If, for example, you were to ban guns in an *effective* way, it could be argued that you have removed a mean to commit crime and have made criminals' lives that much harder. Guns - especially handguns - don't really have a valid "equivalent" that does fairly the same thing. This of course only works if guns are harder for criminals to get - if they are still widely available on the black market, you haven't accomplished anything at all.

In this specific case, this measure is doomed to fail as a way to control crime via means. The reason is that swords are easily replaced by something equivalent. If a criminal has to use a knife instead of a gun, it makes a big difference - he has to get close, it's easier for people to run away etc. However, if a criminal can't use a sword but instead uses an axe or a big knife... there isn't a fundamental difference now is there?

So what's going to happen? Instead of using swords, criminals will use axes, and it won't make any real differences. Sure, sword attacks might drop, but the shopkeep who's being threatened (or worse) with an axe probably won't be thinking "thank god it's not a sword!".

The real solution here is to look at the will - what motivates people to attack others with bladed weapons? But that is much harder to affect, so politicians pass laws that make it look as if they are "doing something".

Pierre
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Gene Green





Joined: 13 Mar 2007

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With all due respect, this is not as much about real career criminals, who're unlikely to use swords but rather handguns and knives. For them, the weapon is just a tool and the crime is the reason to use it.

This is more about these idiots that were bred on steroids and raised on bloody make-believe movies and think of themselves as some sort of comic book heroes, as they are often unable to see the difference between the real life and movies.

For them, the sword is not simply a tool for a crime, but a glamorous thing that, once they have it in their possession, they are itching to put to use. Remove their ability to procure swords & more or less freely carry them around, and you will remove their will to commit an assault - it is all about using the weapon and feeling "glamorized" by doing it.
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Joel Minturn





Joined: 10 Dec 2007

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Guns - especially handguns - don't really have a valid "equivalent" that does fairly the same thing.


I'm going to have to disagree with this and say that yes there is a valid equivalent for a pistol, its called a knife. And knives have the advantage of being silent. Just because a criminal can't get his hands a gun doesn't mean that he isn't going to commit the crime. He is just going to have to be more creative and if law abiding citizens can't inadequately defend them selves then a knife is just the tool to use to commit a crime - if those get banned a sharp stick will work. I've heard chain saw blades with a handle attached a popular weapon is some parts of the world.

But more to the topic at hand. Banning swords isn't the answer, the question to ask is why are these crimes being committed. And the answer of course is video games because that is the cause to all of societies problems Big Grin (yeah just kidding on that). I don't buy that its kids who get a sword and suddenly want to commit a crime to try it out. People don't buy cars and suddenly want to run from the police to break them in. Its more likely to be kids who want to commit a crime and get a sword because its more intimidating or cooler than the kitchen knives they would use otherwise. And I belive that if you look at the reports closely its only one or two crimes being commited by people with swords and most 99.9% are commited with kitchen knives, but you can't really ban kitchen knives. That would violate the first rule- never piss of the people who make your food.
But Politicians want to take the easy way out and it easier to ban something like a sword than try to see what the real problem is.

To quote "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both." [/quote]
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I notice that it's "Samurai sword" (a term I loathe), not just "sword". The instances of people being attacked with swords from other cultures is almost non-existent. Can anybody tell me the last time there was a report of someone being attacked with a cavalry sabre, for example?

I don't think the sword is an inherently effective criminal tool - it's bulky, heavy, requires (relatively) considerable skill to use. Where it IS effective is in its power of intimidation.

Very few of us have been shot before, so we don't know what to expect when faced with a gun-wielding criminal. Our experience is based on popular culture - TV and movies. That typically means a spot of blood on the shirt, but you'lll be fine by the end of the episode, or instant death. The instance death option scares us silly, so we comply.

Most of us have been cut with a knife at some stage in our lives, and we know how much it hurts. We also know that, bar some disfiguration, we can survive a fairly substantial cut. The knife is used as a weapon of intimidation: do it, or get disfigured. I suspect many people who carry knives (for criminal purposes) do so because deep-down they don't want to kill people, just frighten them ("I'll hurt you, but not fatally. I can live with that")

A sword, however, is an unknown quantity for 99.9% of the populace. Most people's only reference is popular culture (again). Now we get into the realms of the comic-book debates - the classic "Samurai vs Knight" debates. Move away from the educated forums and look at the answers to this debate (the forums driven by 13-year olds who's 'knowledge' is based on video games, TV and movies) and what is the perception? The European knight was a slow, cumbersome Neanderthal who could even stand up if he fell over; whereas the Samurai (or worse, the ninja) was some form of superhuman uber-warrior.

So. You want to be the biggest bad-ass criminal in town? A gun's passe (EVERYbody's got one of them) and no-one seems that scared of a spotty 15-year old with his mum's kitchen knife. What do you do? That's it! A sword! Like a big knife, but much, much scarier and, besides, anyone mad enough to carry a sword is also likely psycho enough to use one, too.

But what sword to choose? Do I pick a 'battle ready' stainless steel European sword? Of course not, kinghts were p******. But a Samurai sword... ...those guys could use The Force (or something) and fight blindfold against a dozen men with guns. AND... I can get a REAL "Samurai Sword"(TM) down at the mall for $60.

Damn! I'm gonna be a tough S-O-B

...
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glennan,
The harsh language is not necessary nor appreciated. Please keep future posts clean.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Gene Green





Joined: 13 Mar 2007

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't buy that its kids who get a sword and suddenly want to commit a crime to try it out. Its more likely to be kids who want to commit a crime and get a sword because its more intimidating or cooler than the kitchen knives they would use otherwise.


I was not talking about "all" kids. Or the criminally minded ones, for whom crime itself is the motivation and weapon is just a tool.

There's the other bunch, thankfully not that large, for whom using a particular weapon and feeling powerful or special (basically, getting "high") because of it is the motivation and committing the crime is the tool.

The kitchen knife would not provide them with that motivation.

A samurai sword would.

Did you ever wonder whether the Columbine shooters or somebody similar would've designed a different way to kill a bunch of people (e.g. arson) if they didn't have the easy access to firearms and couldn't be at the scene, all dressed in black & spraying bullets left & right ? It seems to me that for many of these nuts it was just as much about the style & adrenaline & having a particular image of themselves as about the result. If not more.


Quote:
People don't buy cars and suddenly want to run from the police to break them in.


People do buy fancy sports cars and commit foolish things like speeding over 120 mph on a busy freeway & getting themselves & everybody else in grave danger, something they wouldn't do in a typical family sedan even though it's perfectly capable of such speed. This behavior is indeed opportunity-induced and most get it out of their system after first couple of months and a few near-misses and a large ticket. If they are lucky.

The bottom line is, there is such thing as opportunity-induced behavior (the correct scientific term may be different.)
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E Stafford




PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Worried WTF?!. Ok; they are banning a sharp item because they have been used in a number of attacks. That's...circular logic on its best day.

Here's an idea, one that works for anyone weapon. You commit burglary, you get ten years. You commit ROBBERY (burglary with a gun/sword behind it) and you go away for twenty at worst. Best, hard forty.

In short, enforce the laws you have before you add on ones that you don't exactly need. I'd also like to know where the poly sci's and the history majors are to tell these guys that the weapon isn't the problem. People carried swords more or less constantly up until the late 18-early 19 hundreds (smallsword). They some how managed. The idea of peace strapping is also something everyone here is going to be familiar with. So, what changed? Because, if we find out what changed, we can unchange it.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: ????????         Reply with quote

as for banning "low end" reproduction swords to affect more control over the "means", this seems to me to be a completely false belief. the reality is that right now you can go on e%^y or long's website and buy a legitimate antique victorian sword for less than 100 pounds and then take that out to the car park and wave it around and rob people too.......so where does that leave us? this seems like an unenforceable overreaction and a very slippery slope
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sorry but at the risk of making myself unpopular, I'm going to be a dissenting voice here.

I am in the process of building up a small collection of swords and daggers and still have a long way to go, but I agree with the ban. The area where I live, i.e. Liverpool and Birkenhead, has far too many psychopaths who get "samurai swords" not for aesthetic reasons but because they want a weapon to make themselves look tough and to intimidate their neighbors. It is at them that this ban is directed, not serious collectors or reenactors.

My work has often taken me to the homes of people with personality and/or mental disorders who also often have forensic histories as long as my arm. And almost inevitably there is a small collection of "samurai swords", nunchucks and what have you prominently displayed in these people's homes. One of these people was constantly having rows with a neighbor and told me "one day I'll kill him", this is not the sort of person who should be allowed to own weapons. On another occasion I had to see someone in a police station who had attempted to use a "samurai sword" on a member of the public. Fortunately no one was hurt.


Last edited by Hisham Gaballa on Fri 14 Dec, 2007 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Glennan,
The harsh language is not necessary nor appreciated. Please keep future posts clean.


Sorry Chad, didn't mean to offend.

Sometimes I forget that other cultures don't appreciate the more... robust, shall we say... working-class English. By English standards my language is neither particularly un-clean, nor particularly harsh.

So, to all those who found the language harsh; and to those who don't find irony amusing - I apologise

Please remove the post if you feel it is inappropriate (I cannot remove it myself)


Last edited by Glennan Carnie on Fri 14 Dec, 2007 1:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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George Davidson




Location: Glasgow Scotland
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the things that the american posters have missing here for a better understanding of the situation is the current government in the uk and the state of its society.

Knifings (especially between teens) are at an all time high, gun crime is out of control and the govt can do nothing to affect either as it has created a society where the criminal has all the rights and the victim none. The Uk police have been reduced to an extremely ineffectual paper shuffling organisation ... ie most assaults, almost all burglaries and virtually all vandalism is ignored. You phone 999 (911 eqivalent in the uk) and 3-5 days later someone will come take a statement from you, file it and thats the end of the matter. Under no circumstances should you make a citizens arrest otherwise YOU will be arrested for assault. As a result we tend to not get involved. Have a go heroes in this country end up dead or in the dock.

Now with the above in mind ... Guns have already been banned (note gun crime in the uk quintupled after the ban). Knives cannot be banned as the legal definition of a knife proved impossible but a beleaguered govt must be seen to do something, anything and the favourite of the current govt is to ban things. It makes them look like they are doing something. The legislation already exists to deal with knife carriers but the political will isnt there ... no prison space, the fear of public opinion if crime figures skyrocketed if police enforced a knife ban and the fact that the streets in the UK are heavily under policed due to govt underfunding. Police in the UK spend 1 hr per day on the streets and the rest shuffling paper or attending court where they will sit in a room doing nohing for hours until called to give evidence.

Now the scapegoat in this situation is the sword. Now over the last 5 years there have been a total of 100 assaults & 6 murders with katanas. This pales into insignificant next to the thousands of knifings during the same time - the percentage is something like 0.1% of attacks involve swords.
Now its ALWAYS katanas as they are readily available in certain shops for knocked down prices and the appeal to a nasty little sub class we have in the uk - the Ned or Chav. Violent, gang orientated, feral teens who have grown up in a society that isn't allowed to punish them as the little darlings need understanding. As a result they have no morality.

The govt at present is being critized from all directions over everything and needs a policy that the tabloids will support. An MP said recently 'No-one needs a sword in this day and age.' Statements like that show that anyone with a sword is obviously a dangerous nutter. It seems that endless tv, 24 hr alcohol and gambling casinos are what you do need in this day and age given what the Uk govt has been pushing on us recently.

Now you many not have liked Glennan's language but thats exactly the mentality on our streets. I've passed a shop called Victor Morris (on argyle street, glasgow) thats sells stainless steel katanas amonst other things. Standing outside were 3 teenagers. They were pointing out a sword and one said as I passed 'when I get ma money I'm gonna buy that one and F*ck him good'. Victor morris would sell that sword to that teen but the owner of the shop will deny (as he has in the past many times) any connection to the likely assault that will occur because of that sale. Ironically he also sells stab proof vests (at 6 times the cost of a sword).

This is not about crime in general but about the loss of control in the teenager who understands nothing except a feral desire to have 'respect' .... although no one is quite sure why you give respect to a lazy, druggie parasite.

sorry if this rambles a bit but its a complex subject that intertwines with the crumbling society of the UK. and if you question my knowledge here, my father was a policeman who still retains contacts within the force.... and very scathing of the present situation he is to!
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Nick B.




Location: Upstate N.Y.
Joined: 11 Apr 2007

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 2:28 pm    Post subject: Samurai ban         Reply with quote

I think the problem is, Samurai swords today, Sabers tomorrow and all swords the day after that. Right now the popular sword for these wingnuts is the Samurai but if they could ban them the Scimitar is almost as cool. The problem with banning anything is that it only keeps the honest people from having them. As long as the black market exists the wingnuts will still be able to get them.
I have an idea, lets ban wingnuts.
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George Davidson




Location: Glasgow Scotland
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Samurai ban         Reply with quote

Nick B. wrote:
I have an idea, lets ban wingnuts.


... am with you on that one dude!
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps I'll shelve that plan to move to the UK.

Wink

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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