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Dean Fell





Joined: 16 Nov 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 5:06 am    Post subject: Proposed UK legislation to ban sale of 'samurai swords'         Reply with quote

Hi Guys

This is my first post, but something of a weighty one. I live in the UK and today the UK Government’s ‘Home Office’ (sort of a Ministry of Justice and Department of Homeland Security combined) has announced it is ‘consulting’ on a proposed ban on the manufacture, import, sale, hire etc of ‘samurai swords’ in the UK. This follows a spate of violent attacks and murders in which so called ‘samurai swords’ were the principle weapons.

The link to the actual consultation document is here. For a government paper it’s not too long, and quite readable.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/cons-b...iew=Binary

I would appreciate anyone’s advice, help or suggestions on putting forward a response to the consultation because I think it could quite easily turn into a sledgehammer of a law where just a much lighter touch is required to address the problem the Government perceives. If they frame the wording incorrectly, I can imagine it being very difficult or potentially illegal for a collector to own or import into the UK any sort of sword or large knife with a curved edge (including the one I use to carve turkey at Christmas…).

What particularly concerns me is the definition of a ‘samurai sword’ they are proposing – “a curved, single edged sword (sometimes known as a “samurai sword”)”. It seems simplistic and could be confused by an uninformed customs officer, police officer or judge with an expensive replica or reproduction saber or falchion (leading to an expensive legal process to sort it out).

Anyhow, thoughts, suggestions and advice gratefully received. (The consultation closes on 28 May 2007.)

Dean
Cambridgeshire
England
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This topic was dealt with extensively not too long ago when Scotland tried to do the same thing. Unfortunately, legislators are never going to appreciate the difference between a high-quality (and correspondingly expensive) sword and the cheap 440 stainless steel wall-hanger that is almost inevitably the weapon of choice in this kind of attack. Nor do they care to try. Legislation of this sort is almost without exception a mere placebo designed to make it appear to the uneducated as if meaningful action is taking place. It is perhaps no coincidence that these proposals also seem to come up with eerie regularity as elections approach. The susceptibility of the average well-meaning voter to this transparent manipulation is practically the stuff of legend.

During the Scottish debate, a noted maker of custom basket hilted claymores (his name eludes me) remarked at the time that a war on the unrestrained import and mass distribution of said wall-hangers might be an excellent idea, but that nobody was going to pay anything close to his rates for a beautiful and finely crafted weapon only to use it on his neighbor in a fit of rage. His letter (to a Scottish politician whose name also eludes me) then went on to talk about all the usual topics that are brought up in these debates, including the heritage, history and national honor that are implicitly enshrined in a well-made sword, but not in a $50.00 stainless steel ninja sword with a plastic tsuka and nylon ito. It was a good letter. I wish I could remember who wrote it.

Whenever people have brought up gun bans, someone always says that people will just fall back on swords. I guess that’s what’s happening over there. Of course, people will just continue to fall back on alternate weaponry until they’re using wood axes, baseball bats, kitchen knives and, eventually, rocks. Banning an inanimate object is never a realistic solution to a socio-political dilemma, speaking in historical terms. It’s a wonder we continually insist on solutions that have an almost perfect track record of failure. I suppose propaganda-driven fear makes slaves of us all. At least that’s what they’d like us to think.

Anyway, you may wish to do some research and borrow some tricks from the Scottish arsenal. I believe their fight ended successfully. There are also organizations in the U.S. whose principle motivation is the preservation of the right to bear arms, and although their focus tends to be firearms and despite the fact that our two political systems are not entirely compatible, you may still find some useful tools that can be adapted to suit your needs.

Good luck. Keep us posted. I wait with dread for the day when we all have to fight this battle.

EDIT: Another thing you may consider is to seek support in fencing clubs and dojos. For you, the ban is bad because you think an uneducated customs officer will mistake your sword for a katana. For a practitioner of kenjustsu, this is a direct attack on his or her weapon of choice. And the owner of a fine Japanese sword is no more likely to rob people at swordpoint than the owner of a fine schiavonna or rapier. In any event, you must realize that banning Japanese swords is only the beginning. This type of legislation is a self-perpetuating beast. I've taken the liberty of referencing this thread on Bugei's Sword Forum. You may find it to your advantage to visit there and see how many of your countrymen are willing to flock to your banner.

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


Last edited by Sam Barris on Mon 05 Mar, 2007 6:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What do you want Dean? So they describe the samurai better, will that solve the issue? Would it be ok if they used a better matching definition?
The problem is not dangerous blades Idea but I guess you understand this too.

The key problem is society not adressing the real problem, improperly raised, - educated individals.
As long as thát is not adressd unbalanced souls will find something to do harm with and tools like an axe, clawhammer, car-jack every bit as lethal as any turkey-carver. In fact medieval knight preferred a hammer or moning-star.

The politicians wíll legislate this as they are simply adressing public outcry. Thát is what they dó and you can argue they might just as well ban monkey wrenches or that cars kill a lót more people daily untill you see blue.

Peter
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 7:35 am    Post subject: If swords are outlawed...         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
What do you want Dean? So they describe the samurai better, will that solve the issue? Would it be ok if they used a better matching definition?
The problem is not dangerous blades Idea but I guess you understand this too.

The key problem is society not adressing the real problem, improperly raised, - educated individals.
As long as thát is not adressd unbalanced souls will find something to do harm with and tools like an axe, clawhammer, car-jack every bit as lethal as any turkey-carver. In fact medieval knight preferred a hammer or moning-star.

The politicians wíll legislate this as they are simply adressing public outcry. Thát is what they dó and you can argue they might just as well ban monkey wrenches or that cars kill a lót more people daily untill you see blue.

Peter


The situation in the UK (and the entire former Commonwealth) is grim on this issue. Many English people collectively believe the premise that weapons cause crime, rather than people. (I personally feel that it's a function of both but that is neither here nor there). The attitude toward firearms specifically can be seen in the considerable pride taken in the fact that until recently British police did not even carry them. Part of this is directly in reaction to the perception of Americans as "Cowboys" with a childish and irresponsible fetishization of weapons which they (in the eyes of many in the UK) foolishly grant special protection to under the law and Constitution. Not fully grasping the profound poverty that exists in the USA, many Europeans and citizens of Commonwealth nations such as Australia believe that the proliferation of guns is almost the sole reason for the much higher murder rate in the USA.

In the UK the culture is much more tolerant and less fearful of authoritarian measures than the US. Where many Americans instinctively distrust government, many citizens of the UK feel that restrictions on personal freedom are necessary, and trust the government to implement them fairly and without abusing the system. The concept of an armed citizenry acting as a check against governmental excesses is perceived as childish and ridiculous. The idea of even what might seem fairly draconian restrictions in the name of public safety or public health is quite acceptable. Many of the legal changes in the Patriot act which could only be passed in the US after 9-11 were already quietly being implemented in the UK for decades. The United Kingdom pioneered the widespread placement of public video surveillance systems for example, with very little opposition.

In short, there is no basis for the idea of a right for citizens to own weapons of any kind, for any reason; whether as a Constitutional safeguard and individual protection against crime as in the US, for membership in a citizen army as in Switzerland or for hunting as in many other Continental European nations.

And unfortunately, the United Kingdom has her own culture of violence which in some ways outstrips the US, certainly in it's reach up into the middle classes. The violent behavior of many young men in the UK combined with the fundamental outlook of the English vis a vis weapons means that there is an inevitable trend toward the increased restrictions of weapons of every type. Firearms are already almost completely outlawed in both the UK and Australia now, for example.

There was a drive in the UK recently, I don't know if it was successful, I believe spearheaded by some emergency room doctors, to outlaw large kitchen knives. To an American this seems absolutely incredible - if only because (as has been pointed out in this thread already) so many other at least equally dangerous objects are always going to be part of the environment - steel pipes, pieces of rebar, sticks, bats, spikes, garden tools such as spades, pitch forks, shears and bills, etc. etc. etc.

I frankly think there is no way to resist this trend in the UK in the foreseeable future. Any attempt to do so will have to mean a very large grass roots effort and public relations campaign which will have to create a logical foundation for the ownership of weapons, and will have to address the issue of public violence in England.

I wish you luck.

Jean

EDIT: In fairness to the people of the UK, part of their attitude toward weapons probably stems from their collective memory of history (far better than in my country) and the fact that there were many periods in England when armed men roamed the streets and posed a considerable threat to public safety (anybody remember those "swash and buckler" men?).

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic


Last edited by Jean Henri Chandler on Mon 05 Mar, 2007 10:15 am; edited 9 times in total
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: If swords are outlawed...         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
I frankly think there is no way to resist this trend in the UK in the forseeable future. Any attempt to do so will have to mean a very large grass roots effort and public relations campaign which will have to create a logical foundation for the ownership of weapons, and will have to address the issue of public violence in England.


You are right ofcourse. They will have to ban screwdrivers and glass bottles before that will have effect though as it, adressing the roots of hooliganism, is 30 years or more overdue.

Peter
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I live in England and followed the debate in Scotland before (which was all swords...). The problem is the politicians throwing dirt in the eyes of the ignorant commoners as always. If you get stat's on it well over 90% of crime where a blade is present are common kitchen knives. The swords in general make up less than a percent if I remember right. The best way to get people's attention is to write your politicians where you live. Educate the ignorant around you and get them to complain as well. The skweaky wheel gets the oil right. It is in part the fact the laws on criminals are fairly weak here as Tony Blair stated the other day regarding underage crime. If we want a generation of chavs about then we just need to keep letting them do whatever they want with no consequence.

As far as gun control here in the UK. I am not a big modern gun guy, its not my thing but I tend to feel the issue is not holding people accountable and the government finding the short turn solution of a total ban. In the end the badies still get their guns. In the last couple decades the armed reponse units in the U.K. have increased dramatically. I will not say the ban does not work but.... it seems not to work how they thought it would.

RPM
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
I live in England and followed the debate in Scotland before (which was all swords...). The problem is the politicians throwing dirt in the eyes of the ignorant commoners as always. If you get stat's on it well over 90% of crime where a blade is present are common kitchen knives. The swords in general make up less than a percent if I remember right. The best way to get people's attention is to write your politicians where you live. Educate the ignorant around you and get them to complain as well. The skweaky wheel gets the oil right. It is in part the fact the laws on criminals are fairly weak here as Tony Blair stated the other day regarding underage crime. If we want a generation of chavs about then we just need to keep letting them do whatever they want with no consequence.

As far as gun control here in the UK. I am not a big modern gun guy, its not my thing but I tend to feel the issue is not holding people accountable and the government finding the short turn solution of a total ban. In the end the badies still get their guns. In the last couple decades the armed reponse units in the U.K. have increased dramatically. I will not say the ban does not work but.... it seems not to work how they thought it would.

RPM


It has often turned out the same way in the USA. Washington DC for example has some of the nations tightest restrictions on the ownership of firearms but their murder rate is routinely among the highest in North America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Washington,_D.C.


J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since the problem is with inexpensive "swords," why not simply tax imports of that particular kind of sword (which could be easily defined if anybody will actually try)? Somebody purchasing a £500-5,000 katana isn't going to be deterred by a £50 import tax. However, nobody is going to pay an additional £50 import tax on an SLO worth maybe £20. Pretty soon importers will drop the SLOs from their catalogs. Beginning collectors will be saved from foolish purchases. Loonies will go back to killing people with axes and kitchen knives. The perceived and actual value of quality swords will increase. The government makes a little extra money. Over time, Japanese swords shake the Kook Factor. Everybody wins.

This may be a moot point, anyway. When Brits get tired of living George Orwell's nightmare, they'll all trade their "Samurai" swords for bills and poleaxes to smash the CCTV cameras (longbows may be of use in some cases).


V

Laughing Out Loud

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Since the problem is with inexpensive "swords," why not simply tax imports of that particular kind of sword (which could be easily defined if anybody will actually try)? Somebody purchasing a £500-5,000 katana isn't going to be deterred by a £50 import tax. However, nobody is going to pay an additional £50 import tax on an SLO worth maybe £20. Pretty soon importers will drop the SLOs from their catalogs. Beginning collectors will be saved from foolish purchases. Loonies will go back to killing people with axes and kitchen knives. The perceived and actual value of quality swords will increase. The government makes a little extra money. Over time, Japanese swords shake the Kook Factor. Everybody wins.

This may be a moot point, anyway. When Brits get tired of living George Orwell's nightmare, they'll all trade their "Samurai" swords for bills and poleaxes to smash the CCTV cameras (longbows may be of use in some cases).


V

Laughing Out Loud


Here here! Maybe they could start an add campaign around the popular Robin Hood BBC show... Perhaps we could see the establishment of a 'right to bear longbows and quarterstaves' in England in the 21st Century, I mean, look at the effect Braveheart had on Scottish independence...


"Longbows for freedom!"

J

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Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Steve Fabert





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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You see here an example of the problem that undermines personal liberty in all countries - the willingness to restrict the right to do something the lawmaker is not personally interested in doing. It is always easy to vote to restrict the right to pursue a hobby that you and your personal friends don't engage in. The same thinking that banned fox hunts can easily ban any other hobby that is enjoyed by an unorganized and comparatively unfunded segment of society. If the political power of the fox hunters was not enough to protect their hobby, there is little chance to avoid a ban on swords.
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Peter Busch




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: If swords are outlawed...         Reply with quote

You are of course quite correct. The underlying philsophical premise of much this debate (as with firearms) is British Utilitarianism. Maximising the happiness of the majority. Only a minority are interested in guns and swords. Such objects are weapons. In the case of swords and handguns in particular, they were designed to kill human beings (rifles for game, shotguns for fowl). As such politicians tend to be more than happy enough to ban them in the interests of public safety.

In the 1980s in Melbourne there were the Hoddle St. and Queen St. massacres. In the latter example an M1 Carbine was used. Subsequently these were banned.

In 1996 in Dunblane, handguns were used. Subsequently Britain banned handguns.

In 1996 at Port Arthur in Tasmania, semi-automatic rifles were used. Subsequently Prime Minister Howard banned semi automatic rifles (and pump action shotguns simply for the sake of it while he was at it). Today you need to be a full time hunter or farmer to possess such weaponry. Bolt actions, lever actions etc. are still permitted.

In 2000? a Monash University student shot at his teacher and a couple of fellow students in a tutorial with his legally acquired handguns. Subsequently handguns have been further restricted in Australia (they were already fairly tightly restricted).

In 2001 a couple of Vietnamese (I believe) gangs were having a go at each other with machetes in Melbourne outside of a nightclub. Some gang members were injured/killed (a couple of them ran away and jumped into the Yarra river and drowned because they could not swim). To some degree as a result of this, sword owners now require permits (for each sword I believe) in the State of Victoria.

The act of many of these actions were those of mentally ill individuals, or hooligans etc. whatever ... Are they being banned ....?

Is the subject being banned? or the object ...?

As you say, in many Commonwealth countries, the philsophy is indeed one of trusting the government/politicans to make a decision. Indeed my understanding is that the Victorian Police Minister was simply able to make the decision to require permits for sword owners without any vote etc. (I could be wrong on this).

Selfish as I am, I would actually be happy for the SLOs/wallhangers and other crap I see in so many silly little stores to be banned ... more than happy ..... .. this rubbish gives serious sword owners a bad name and image .....






Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Peter Bosman wrote:
What do you want Dean? So they describe the samurai better, will that solve the issue? Would it be ok if they used a better matching definition?
The problem is not dangerous blades Idea but I guess you understand this too.

The key problem is society not adressing the real problem, improperly raised, - educated individals.
As long as thát is not adressd unbalanced souls will find something to do harm with and tools like an axe, clawhammer, car-jack every bit as lethal as any turkey-carver. In fact medieval knight preferred a hammer or moning-star.

The politicians wíll legislate this as they are simply adressing public outcry. Thát is what they dó and you can argue they might just as well ban monkey wrenches or that cars kill a lót more people daily untill you see blue.

Peter


The situation in the UK (and the entire former Commonwealth) is grim on this issue. Many English people collectively believe the premise that weapons cause crime, rather than people. (I personally feel that it's a function of both but that is neither here nor there). The attitude toward firearms specifically can be seen in the considerable pride taken in the fact that until recently British police did not even carry them. Part of this is directly in reaction to the perception of Americans as "Cowboys" with a childish and irresponsible fetishization of weapons which they (in the eyes of many in the UK) foolishly grant special protection to under the law and Constitution. Not fully grasping the profound poverty that exists in the USA, many Europeans and citizens of Commonwealth nations such as Australia believe that the proliferation of guns is almost the sole reason for the much higher murder rate in the USA.

In the UK the culture is much more tolerant and less fearful of authoritarian measures than the US. Where many Americans instinctively distrust government, many citizens of the UK feel that restrictions on personal freedom are necessary, and trust the government to implement them fairly and without abusing the system. The concept of an armed citizenry acting as a check against governmental excesses is perceived as childish and ridiculous. The idea of even what might seem fairly draconian restrictions in the name of public safety or public health is quite acceptable. Many of the legal changes in the Patriot act which could only be passed in the US after 9-11 were already quietly being implemented in the UK for decades. The United Kingdom pioneered the widespread placement of public video surveillance systems for example, with very little opposition.

In short, there is no basis for the idea of a right for citizens to own weapons of any kind, for any reason; whether as a Constitutional safeguard and individual protection against crime as in the US, for membership in a citizen army as in Switzerland or for hunting as in many other Continental European nations.

And unfortunately, the United Kingdom has her own culture of violence which in some ways outstrips the US, certainly in it's reach up into the middle classes. The violent behavior of many young men in the UK combined with the fundamental outlook of the English vis a vis weapons means that there is an inevitable trend toward the increased restrictions of weapons of every type. Firearms are already almost completely outlawed in both the UK and Australia now, for example.

There was a drive in the UK recently, I don't know if it was successful, I believe spearheaded by some emergency room doctors, to outlaw large kitchen knives. To an American this seems absolutely incredible - if only because (as has been pointed out in this thread already) so many other at least equally dangerous objects are always going to be part of the environment - steel pipes, pieces of rebar, sticks, bats, spikes, garden tools such as spades, pitch forks, shears and bills, etc. etc. etc.

I frankly think there is no way to resist this trend in the UK in the foreseeable future. Any attempt to do so will have to mean a very large grass roots effort and public relations campaign which will have to create a logical foundation for the ownership of weapons, and will have to address the issue of public violence in England.

I wish you luck.

Jean

EDIT: In fairness to the people of the UK, part of their attitude toward weapons probably stems from their collective memory of history (far better than in my country) and the fact that there were many periods in England when armed men roamed the streets and posed a considerable threat to public safety (anybody remember those "swash and buckler" men?).

http://www.swordforum.com/fall99/1865.html
http://www.oakeshott.org/1831art.html
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Stephen Hand




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The legal situation in Victoria was that a register of prohibited weapons already existed and swords were simply added to this. However, the outcry was so great that the minister effectively negated the legislation by creating mass exemptions for literally thousands of different sword owning groups and individuals. We jokingly call it the law that made it illegal to own a sword unless you own a sword. Of course the minister didn't mention the exemptions and was able to look like he was getting tough on crime, which is after all what this is all about.

Another state started looking at banning swords a bit before the Victorian situation resolved itself and this time all the sword owning groups picked up on it early, before specific legislation was actually proposed and sent letters etc to the government. I met with the Police Minister and opened with the line, "so you're the man who wants to ban Highland dancing and the plays of Shakespeare" which had a dramatically positive effect. We haven't heard anything for certain but it's been four years since we last heard anything and I suspect that the idea to ban swords was quietly axed.

From looking at the current proposal it looks to me as if the UK government has decided to
1) ban samurai swords
and
2) grant exemptions to sensible people to own them

Groups who may be affected (and I think this should include all sword owning groups) should make a submission. I am happy to send copies of submissions that I've made to government to any groups who want some assistance. Obviously they'd need to be tailored to the situation but they may help with getting an idea of what sort of arguments work and which don't.

One cause for concern is the wording of the definition, curved, single edged swords. This obviously includes sabres, scimitars, the swords used in Sikh religious ceremonies etc. At a minimum it should be suggested that the definition be expanded to include the words, 'designed to be used in two hands' but even this still includes things like the grosse messer. It would be nice to try to get a definition of what an edge is, but if Australian politicians are anything to go by, they won't want to do that. They like definitions to be as broad as possible, so villains don't have loopholes.

Even if you don't think this will affect you, you need to take it seriously as Customs people and police are unlikely to know the niceties of sword distinction and any sword may get you into trouble, at least in the short term. Send in a submission. Make it scrupulously polite and acknowledge the legitimate reasons for the government's action but politely disagree with their response. Remember that anything that makes you look remotely violent or unstable will work against our cause. It need to be pointed out that many thousands of rational people use swords for constructive non-weapon related activities and that these laws will unfairly disadvantage these people.

Cheers
Stephen

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Steven H




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should be able to find more help at SFIs Legal issues forum

Good luck.

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The simple solution to a problem that SEEMS to be weapon-related is to ban the weapon. Never mind who is using it, just make it unavailable and the weapon-related crime will cease. That theory has been disproved time and again, but politicians who prefer not to do what is necessary about the root causes of crime - poverty, lack of economic opportunity and a general breakdown of family and society ties - will lean on that “solution” every time.

Gun owners in the US have fought an up and down battle for their rights under the Second Amendment of the constitution for about one hundred years now. In the early days of this country, to be armed meant to be able to defend one’s home and family as well as to provide meat for the table. It also meant that all American male citizens were on call to defend the nation against outside or - in the case of the frontier, homegrown - danger. Those obligations were a prime reason for the addition of the Second Amendment to the constitution; to allow the free availability of arms so that all citizens can become skilled in their use. There are those today who try to say that the amendment only applies to a collective right to bear arms in a militia. However, there were thousands of words written by the founding fathers who framed the constitution which say otherwise. And, in spite of the statements of various gun control groups to the contrary, there has never been a single case heard by the Supreme Court that clearly upholds the “militia theory”. Quite a number of other cases in the lower courts which supported the “militia theory” have been overturned.

The “Brady Bill” which banned certain firearms in the US based on their accessories and how they looked, not how they were used, did little or nothing to stem the tide of violence with firearms during the years it was in effect. What did make a difference was the booming economy that roughly coincided with the life of the ban. Of course the economy was headed downward when the law finally “sunset” in 2004 and it was not long after that crime began to rise again. Politicians who supported the ban and tried to reinstate it took this to mean that the drop in crime was due entirely to this “ban”, which really never took any of the covered firearms or large capacity magazines out of circulation, when in fact better economic opportunity was the real reason for the drop in crime. Of course you can use statistics any way you please as both sides of the debate have done. However, the common sense argument and historical argument are clearly on the side of those who defend the right to keep and bear arms in this country.

In the US, where there is a huge shooting and hunting population, attempts to ban the ownership of firearms in most areas outside the larger cities are met with strenuous opposition. The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobbying group and, while I do not necessarily agree with everything they do or how they do it, there is no doubt about their effectiveness in getting the message across. This is something that is lacking in most parts of the world, i.e. the numbers and the organization. I also think that these are the two things that have enabled Americans to maintain most of their freedom to defend themselves in the face of some considerable effort to remove that freedom.

One of the other posters pointed out several incidents in the UK and Australia that have resulted in bans and restrictions. In most of the cases cited these were isolated incidents perpetrated by an individual or persons who were clearly unstable. These folks are a tiny, tiny percentage of the population, yet their actions have resulted in the denial of rights to the majority. In the US, which clearly has its share of violence using firearms, the percentage of persons committing the violent acts is also very tiny. In fact, using the estimates of privately-owned firearms in this county that are bandied about by the gun control folks to support their belief that there are too many guns, then comparing the numbers owned with the number of firearms-related crimes, you come up with an almost infinitesimal percentage of these weapons used in crimes. If you break it down further based on multiple crimes with a single firearm, etc., you arrive at an even smaller percentage. A ban on the private ownership of firearms makes no real sense when considered in the light of this information. Punish the criminal, not the law-abiding citizen.

What is ahead? Who knows? However, with a presidential election year looming and very few moderate or conservative candidates in the wings from either party, I think we will once again be staring at the possibility of more unreasonable restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms and, worse, an all out attack on the second amendment.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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