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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 8:21 am    Post subject: Sword Legislation in Scotland         Reply with quote

The following is a response to a question of the purposed ban of swords in Scotland, by Rob Miller of Castle Keep, Isle of Skye ..... as posted on his website at : http://www.castlekeep.co.uk/

Dear Sir,
I am writing to you to express my deep concern over the First Ministers recent proposals in regard to knives and Swords. It is my understanding through the article in the Scotsman that it is the intention of the Scottish Executive to introduce legislation relevant to the carrying of knives in public, as well as an out right ban on the sale of swords within Scotland. Whilst I am in full agreement that there are issues to do with knife crime in the inner cities that need to be addressed, I am however not convinced that the proposed legislation is the correct method by which to tackle the problem. As you are no doubt aware, Glasgow has always had a reputation as a centre for violent crime within Scotland, and as is always the case the criminals will use whatever is to hand, a gun, a knife, a sharpened screwdriver, a baseball bat, a plank of wood with a few nails sticking out of it. The object is not the issue, a gun doesn’t kill ,as a sword doesn’t kill, it is always and invariably the person and the intent behind it. I have been a professional Sword smith here on Skye for almost 14 years, I am entirely self taught, as there was no-one else around to teach me when I first started. I have learnt from study and hard work what it takes to produce a fine work of Art, and have in return received acknowledgment worldwide as amongst the foremost in my field. My customers come from all walks of life, Doctors, Lawyers, IT professionals as well as Policemen and women, none of whom I would describe as irresponsible or reckless psychopaths who are intent on committing some abhorrent atrocity in their hometown. Most people have a deep love of History and Family, and look to a Custom made sword as an ideal way to represent that, as a living and vibrant symbol of a people and their will to rise above adversity. I have studied the ancient arts of pattern welding, that were all but lost for an entire Millennium until rediscovered and brought to life in this last Century, a way of producing exquisitely beautiful blades patterned throughout with the layers of carefully forge welded steels, I am concerned that all these skills will become redundant, and we will once more forget the past and the lessons learnt from that past. There are a very small handful of sword makers in Scotland, so no great loss really I suppose, until you consider the awards that have been merited, from the Scottish Arts Council and the Princes trust in the case of Armour Class of Glasgow, and the sincere enthusiasm that has fuelled these small businesses to become real contenders in a World Market .Scotland can rightly declare that there are living Artists and Craftsmen here who are at the pinnacle of the Sword Making World, not bad considering most of us few have been in existence for under 15 years. I think there is a very important distinction to make between the relationship of the sword Maker in Scotland and violent crime. Almost invariably headlines will announce something to the effect of ‘man goes mad with Samurai sword’ on the very few occasions that a sword is cited as being used in an attack on another person, and that sword will inevitably have been bought from a high street shop selling trashy cheap swords imported from India or the Philippines, these generally retail for around £40-100, consist of plastic moulded handles and mild steel chromed blades, there are even some that don’t actually use steel in the blade, but aluminium instead, these cannot be considered as real swords in any respect apart from appearance, yet with enough force and perseverance they can still inflict terrible damage on another human being, then again so could a shovel or a wood saw or a baseball bat, it is again the intention behind the act ,and the object used is secondary, apart from the consideration of price and availability. I don’t have people paying £400-£1000 for a custom sword to go out and arbitrarily start swinging away at someone, unless that is they are a very discerning re-enactor who is looking for something tough enough to compete against another sword in a mock combat, re-enactors of whom there are tens of thousands in this Country, fellow enthusiasts and law abiding citizens, or Martial arts students for that matter. It would be counterproductive to criminalise a sector of Society for the sake of political expediency; I feel that there are other suggestions that should be given serious consideration, and hope that you would be in agreement with this, so that we might be able to save throwing the baby out with the bath water. Jack Mc Connell is in favour or raising the age at which one can buy a knife from 16 to 18, that seems reasonable, as does the licensing of shops selling non domestic knives and similar objects Also higher sentences for possession of a weapon with intent could be considered as a deterrent of sorts,( although my earlier argument of whatever comes to hand remains a cold hard fact ,and a broken bottle can be used to inflict serious injury). However, when it is proposed to outlaw the sale of swords I am understandably not in favour, but would not be averse to a similar licensing agreement offered to those who sell knives, after all,, when does a knife become a sword?. It would be possible to register the name and address of anyone making a purchase through my shop with no difficulty, and that information could be made available on request, that sounds very reasonable to me. Mr Mc Connell might also consider my earlier point, which is to suggest that the overwhelming majority of swords used in violent crime are mass manufactured rubbish from overseas, if he wished to put a stop to the Importation of this cheap rubbish I for one would have no objection, as neither would anyone else who has any idea about what a sword is and what it represents. This would also have a direct benefit on this very small but thriving area of the Scottish economy, what is referred to as a win-win situation I believe. The newspaper report stated that Mr Mc Connell was quick to point out that the Sgian Dubh will be exempt from all considerations, whilst in the same speech declaring that;’ ‘the sale of swords in Scotland is fundamentally wrong, there can be no reason for people buying swords off the street for use or to have in their homes’ so why wouldn’t the same criteria hold true for the Sgian Dubh, or for that matter the Kilt?. And would he consider it at all ironic that THE strongest contemporary image of Scottish self- determination ,which in turn gave rise to the Scottish Parliament itself is now to be outlawed in the very land where it rose up in the hands of one William Wallace?. I hope that you are able to appreciate my concerns over the future of my small business and that there may be another less dramatic way to address the issues at the heart of matter, I feel, as do a great many other people, that this would be a very sorry day indeed for this Country if the actions of a few were to erode the responsible freedoms of the many.

Rob Miller

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Rob Miller
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 8:58 am    Post subject: Scottish sword legislation         Reply with quote

thank you thomas,i also tried to mail this onto myArmoury earlier today.
At present i have e mailed and snail mailed the First Minister and a couple of other MSPs,as well as a selection of makers and enthusiasts in this Country.
What i propose to do next is to set up a website to collect signatures from anyone who is willing to help in this matter,this may take a week or so to set up,as i dont know how to go about it at all, Fin MacAteer is going to help out, we need to try and bring all interested parties into one central point from which to negotiate. There will in all probability be legislation,as it is definitely a 'Sexy' kind of policy to pursue for a new Government,one which has chosen as its first two major political decisions the banning of fox Hunting and a ban on smoking in public places,the first issue at least cannot be considered to have any far reaching social relevance in Scotland whatsoever.
anyone willing to put their name on a petition please step forward.....
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Rob

My clan would be most willing to help ..... just let us know where to sign !

Claidheamh 'n Alba gu Brath, Mac

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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=637&id=1345182004

Tue 23 Nov 2004

McConnell cracks down on knife crime

HAMISH MACDONELL
SCOTTISH POLITICAL EDITOR


JACK McConnell went on the offensive against Scotland’s growing knife culture yesterday, announcing a series of tough measures he hopes will stem the "scandalously high" human toll from knife crime, particularly in Glasgow.

The First Minister said he would introduce sweeping new powers, allowing the police to arrest anyone found carrying a knife. He announced longer sentences for knife-related offences and said he would introduce major restrictions on the sale and possession of knives and blades.

The sale of all swords will be outlawed in Scotland, nobody under the age of 18 will be allowed to buy a knife of any sort, and retailers who want to sell non-domestic knives will have to be licensed and monitored.

The First Minister said Scotland had a responsibility to tackle the "scandalously high" level of knife crime in "our own time and our own way" and as soon as possible.

His changes go far beyond anything previously proposed in Britain and signal the Scottish Executive’s determination to take action on a problem that is escalating out of control in some parts of urban Scotland.

Knife crime is a particular problem in Glasgow, which has the worst murder rate in Britain, at 58.7 murders per million people - twice as high as London, where the rate stands at 26 per million.

Half of all homicides in Scotland as a whole and in Glasgow are caused by knives or other sharp instruments, according to the latest figures, and ministers believe they have to do something to stop the trend.

Mr McConnell announced his plans at a press conference in Edinburgh almost three years to the day after he succeeded Henry McLeish as First Minister.

Mr McConnell said: "It is my very strong view, and it is a view shared by the Cabinet, that far too many young men, particularly in Scotland, view the carrying or using of knives or offensive weapons as an acceptable practice. It is not acceptable. The law in Scotland must be clear, the system must protect innocent victims and the culture of Scotland, particularly in our cities, in relation to knives and violent crime, must change."

He added: "The sale of swords in Scotland today is fundamentally wrong. There can be no reason for people buying swords off the street for use or to have in their homes."

The Executive’s proposals are:

• A licensing scheme for the sale of non-domestic knives and similar objects. This would require all shops selling non-domestic knives to be registered and licensed. Any retailer caught breaking the law would have its licence revoked.

• Increasing the minimum purchasing age for knives from 16 to 18.

• Banning the sale of swords. While the sale of swords would be outlawed under the proposals, the Executive has no plans to ban swords being kept in private homes. There would, however, be a ban on the possession of a sword in a public place.

• Giving the police the ability to arrest anyone found carrying a knife. At the moment police can only arrest people if they prove they are carrying a knife, have grounds for believing a crime is going to be committed and a third reason such as breach of the peace. The Executive intends to sweep away all these conditions, allowing unconditional arrests to be made.

• Doubling the sentence for possessing a knife or offensive weapon from two years to four.

Officials were quick to point out that Mr McConnell’s proposals wouldl not affect anybody wearing a sgian dubh, which is already exempt from anti-knife legislation because it is part of Scotland’s national dress.

The First Minister conceded that all the new measures might not be in force for a couple of years because of the need to have a public consultation, then put the policies through parliament.

Mr McConnell said police would use existing powers such as stop-and-search to tackle knife crime.

He added: "We believe the police should have the power of arrest on suspicion of carrying a knife or offensive weapon.

"We need to shift the balance of power here in the law in favour of those victims who far too often - particularly in Glasgow city centre but in a number of other parts of Scotland too - find themselves in hospital on Friday or Saturday night as a result of what appears to be the casual incident of a passer-by."

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Lee Watts




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I live in wales and i own a castle keep sword and i would hate to see Fine businesses like rob millers go down the drain due to some $££$ in the scotish parliament who doesn't understand Squat.

This makes me so friggin angry, if they ban them in scotland wales is bound to be next,

where do i sign ?


Last edited by Lee Watts on Sat 27 Nov, 2004 11:24 am; edited 2 times in total
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Lee O'Hagan




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Nov, 2004 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice one Mac,
Hi Rob,
Count me on your list,but you guessed that already,
Glad to see you posting,but a real shame your first post is under such undesirable circumstances,
But welcome anyway,
I'm so hoping this gets lost along the way of political silliness and these people see sense as this is only going to harm the makers and collecters as opposed to the criminal element that they are hoping to stop,
You only have to spend five minutes in your local diy store to pick up a varied assortment of weapons from the new stanley knife lock folder on up to a five £pound machete,

Alot of people are probably thinking this doesnt affect me, i live elswhere but if this comes to pass it spells trouble all round,
Other goverments watch different bill's passed to see if the numbers work, lo and behold before you know it their bringing it in where you live,
So where ever you people are take five to jot your sig down on the petition please,
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Rob Miller
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 8:26 am    Post subject: sword legislation         Reply with quote

bollocks,i have just managed to wipe out an entire half an hour of typing,arrrghhh!
The gist of which is,i am on the case here,we will need all the support we can get,as this legislation will inevitably lead to legislation in the UK as a whole,so this is your issue too.
by the First ministers Rhetoric there is no reason for the wearing or possession of the sgian dubh,indeed,it is a very recent victorian version that we see on sale in most shops,that came from the emasculated Dirk which in turn was the broken sword,ban one ban all,ban the tartan for causing inter-clan rivalries and the pipes for their association with the call to violence,ban the mention of battles and History in classrooms,make Scotland Cosy and sterile for the nice people.
i will post more when i have got some way to make a petition together,for now i will write to Prince Charles and Wilkinson sword in England. we will be forced to a compromise here because of the nature of government,once they have made an announcement they will need to be seen to follow it through,the issue here is to try to get a way to self regulate,we are grown-ups,not little children who need to be told what is good for them.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good luck on this Rob. Keep us posted and let us know if we can help in any way.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 8:59 am    Post subject: This is crazy!         Reply with quote

First, let me hail Rob Miller's work. I have a Castle Keep basket hilt. The workmanship is beautiful, and I cannot imagine parting with it.

As for banning knives and swords - What are these idiots thinking? This won't work, can't work. A good sharp kitchen paring knife, while not very 'sexy', can be a very dangerous weapon. And, unlike a gun, a punk who wants a knife can find a way to make one - it may be crude, but that won't stop it from being deadly. Even inmates in prison can find a way to make a knife.

It seems to me that the issue is a cultural one. The legislation needs to deal with the commission of the crimes, with extra penalties for use of a deadly weapon, be it a custom knife, or a sharpened screwdriver, or a baseball bat, or a broken beer bottle.

just my 2 cents, as they say.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: This is crazy!         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
First, let me hail Rob Miller's work. I have a Castle Keep basket hilt. The workmanship is beautiful, and I cannot imagine parting with it.

As for banning knives and swords - What are these idiots thinking? This won't work, can't work. A good sharp kitchen paring knife, while not very 'sexy', can be a very dangerous weapon. And, unlike a gun, a punk who wants a knife can find a way to make one - it may be crude, but that won't stop it from being deadly. Even inmates in prison can find a way to make a knife.

It seems to me that the issue is a cultural one. The legislation needs to deal with the commission of the crimes, with extra penalties for use of a deadly weapon, be it a custom knife, or a sharpened screwdriver, or a baseball bat, or a broken beer bottle.

just my 2 cents, as they say.


It really isn't a cultural issue either. It seems to be the habit of politicians to base their platforms on this type of feel-good legislation that is really meaningless. It's like draping a steaming pile of feces with a lace curtain. It looks better but it still stinks. Unfortunately it's easier to do that and convince yourself that you're accomplishing something, than it is to face the real problems of society.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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John Gage
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: This is crazy!         Reply with quote

Well put Patrick,

I couldn't have said it better.

John
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rob,

I am certainly siding with you. If there is a list to sign or a letter to co-write I would gladly put in my word as a fellow craftsman from another european country. Our situations are not that different.
I see this development with some worry.
We have a knife ban law in Sweden. Does not help agains knifings, but it has made the public see the knife as the weapon par preferance of street gangsters.
It is very sad.
The first and foremost tool of mankind is now a weapon of suburban crime.
Makes me sick at heart.

Swords are easy targets for this kind of public popularity fishing.

Soon we´ll see something similar here in Sweden as well I´m almost certain.

We are not many professional swordsmiths in Europe. Will we be an extinct spieces within the next decade?
We are certainly an endangered spieces as it is now... ;-)
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing to remember .....

We can do something about this kind of crap !
Hit 'em where it hurts ..... Vote the idiots of this kind of nonsense out of office, make it known that a majority of us do not care for the stripping of honest citizens rights ! Support every organization that has the power to Lobby these inane kind of laws, like the NRA ( in this country), and flood your local officals with letters of disgust !

We really have become a society that allows itself to be victimized ..... so lets do give 'em hell and fight back !
Each of us can make a difference, so lets not sit back and watch the self-proclaimed "do-gooders" of the world dictate what's best for us !

Rob ..... could you supply this forum with the official address that we can all write to ?
I for one would luv to give them a piece of my mind, Great British citizen or not !

Go team, Mac

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Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Sun 28 Nov, 2004 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Re: This is crazy!         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:

It really isn't a cultural issue either. It seems to be the habit of politicians to base their platforms on this type of feel-good legislation that is really meaningless. It's like draping a steaming pile of feces with a lace curtain. It looks better but it still stinks. Unfortunately it's easier to do that and convince yourself that you're accomplishing something, than it is to face the real problems of society.


To clarify my meaning, by 'cultural issue' I meant the development of a violent, gang-type of culture, where use of a knife as weapon has become 'cool'.

I certainly agree with the comment on politicians.
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Joe Maccarrone




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

...And on a related note, I can't bring a pocketknife on an airplane, but they're handing out silverware in first class!

(Never mind the fact that I possess the physical strength to hijack a plane without any weapons; should I have to ride handcuffed, to ensure that I don't start grabbin' the skinny people by the neck..?)

Physical security will never be accomplished by prohibitions on inanimate objects.

WTF?!
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 11:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Maccarrone wrote:
...And on a related note, I can't bring a pocketknife on an airplane, but they're handing out silverware in first class!

(Never mind the fact that I possess the physical strength to hijack a plane without any weapons; should I have to ride handcuffed, to ensure that I don't start grabbin' the skinny people by the neck..?)

Physical security will never be accomplished by prohibitions on inanimate objects.

WTF?!


History has shown time and time again that prohibition of any kind doesn't work. Whether it be on anything from inanimate objects, chemical substances, or speed limits. It simply isn't an effective means of behavior control.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Douglas G.





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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 11:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It seems the Nannying of society in the UK will not end until Legislators ban
the horizontally opposed thumb, then no-one can grasp an object or make a fist.
Just as it is in Scotland people here in the US want to demonize the object and
make the perpetrator as much a victim as his prey.
Isn't it sad that personal responsibility has left the building, like Elvis?

Doug G.

P.S. Oregon could always use a good sword smith if there is a ban in Scotland
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 1:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Exactly how far do they intend to take this nonsense? Are Boy Scouts going to be arrested for carrying pocket knives on camping trips? I've carried a knife since I was twelve years old. That's fifteen felony-free years of knife ownership! Camping, hunting and fishing are all activities that one needs knives for, in addition to the simple fact that a good knife in the right hands is an excellent weapon for self-defense.

Don't they realize that the people they want to target with this legislation are the very people who are going to completely ignore it, while those who will adhere to the law are the very people who strengthen society through being armed? Patrick is right, prohibition never works. That's a historical fact. Creating stiffer penalties for people who misuse their weapons is a viable option. Taking the weapons altogether is a disaster looking for a place to happen. For that matter, there are thousands of people who have the strength and skill to kill with their hands. Should they have to lop them off at the wrist? Will we ban dojos next, to prevent people from learning the skills to fight?

Also, the language in which they frame this issue has been used by every repressive government for as long as there have been governments. Read your Machiavelli. Disarming the people is always the first step of a tyrant. And even if those in power now have no evil intent, they leave the door wide open for anyone to come along later who does. For every corrupt politician and clueless pundit who argues that there can be no legitimate reason for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to own private weapons, I counter that no government can have a legitimate reason to deny them.

Mr. McDonald, if there is anything I might do to help, please don't hesitate to ask. My wife wants us to relocate to Scotland when I'm out of the military. Up until now, I was perfectly happy to go along with her. I will gladly fight this kind of legislation wherever it tries to take root.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Rob Miller
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 2:22 am    Post subject: sword legislation         Reply with quote

thanks to everyone who has written in,there are some new and interesting avenues opening up through these discussions.there is also a very interesting thread in the legal section of Sword Forum,i hope to get some advice from Stephen Hand who has been fighting (oops! ) oppossing this kind of legislation in Australia for years.
There also appears to be a small concessionary measure being allowed by the Scottish Executive in regard to Historical items and collections,but this really needs to be broadened significantly to encapsulate all items of historical ,Cultural and religious significance within this Country,the practice of arts and crafts associated with those items,and the pursuance of past times and hobbies relative to these items.
It seems clear now that the majority of responsible collectors and enthusiasts know exactly what kinds of swords are the weapon of choice in the vast majority of attacks,and they are not to be confused as having any cultural bearing on scotland whatsoever,neither do the clumsy huge pieces of dragon/serpent/skullhead fantasy pieces whisch are sold in tandem through the same outlets.None of these swords are manufactured in this Country or have any cultural relevannce here,so whilst it seems like scapegoating i also believe that these shops have known about their little contribution to our general tribulations for some years now,yet they have made no effort to self regulate or have any discretion when selling to the public,yet our businesses and pastimes are now to be lumped in arbitrarily with the same people. and lets face it,if the larger chain of these shops were to be outlawed in Scotland it wouldnt really affect them that much,whereas it would devestate the small indigenous industry here.
there is another point that has been raised,in that we dont specifically know what the proposed bill is just yet,the major soundbites are the general proposals,so we need to find a strong negotiating point from which to proceed,there should be some details available from the Scottish executive.
If any of you should wish to lobby the first minister or the Parliament you can write to him at.
jack.mcconnell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk
or wite to a number of MSPs on the issue,they can be found through their pages at
www.scottish.parliament.uk
i would advise a polite and considered response,and i would STRONGLY advise reading the thread by stephen hand at swordforum legal issues section before composing a letter,as there are several very important pieces of advise that he has to share through his years of involvment in thie process,not least of which is the important use of language to describe specific things,take note.this is begining to attract some attention,so now it is a case of trying to get some cohesion and a good ground for negotiation,everyone here appears to bring along with them valid and succinct points,which will be a great help in the general struggle (oops) outlook Big Grin
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Curt Cummins




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Dec, 2007 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rob,

Move to this side of the pond and bring your forge with you.

Curt Cummins

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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