Sunday, November 28, 2004


Scissors and large pieces of wood to go next?

First Minister Jack McConnell has announced a five-point programme to clamp down on knife crime. The maximum jail term for possessing an offensive weapon will be doubled from two years to four under the proposals. He wants to ban the sale of swords and introduce a licensing scheme for retailers selling knives. He also announced plans to give police more powers of search and arrest and to increase the age limit for buying a knife from 16 to 18....

"We had a particular discussion on the issue of knife crime recently and we have agreed a package of measures that we will be consulting on early in the New Year," said Mr McConnell. "We will be putting forward the action we believe is required to tackle the scandalously high level of knife crime in Scotland." He said that 50% of the homicides in Scotland in 2002 were caused by knives or other sharp instruments.

There can be no reason for people buying swords off the street for use or to have in their homes," he said. He said too many young men thought it was acceptable to carry a knife or other offensive weapon. "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 said.

Dr Andrew Murtay, a surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, backed the crackdown. He said: "If you stab someone in the chest, it's just a random chance whether you end up giving them a minor wound, or whether you kill them. "I don"t think people are aware that as soon as they take a knife out, they become potential murderers."

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor said the most controversial aspect of the proposals would be the new powers for police to search those they suspect of carrying a knife. "The reason for the clampdown is that the knife culture, the possession of knives, is actually on the increase," he said. "I'm sure that opposition politicians, when they get hold of the details of the first minister's proposals, will look at them closely but probably fairly sceptically and wonder if in practice it will make a difference."

The Conservatives' justice spokeswoman, Annabel Goldie MSP, said: "Jack McConnell is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that imposing longer sentences for knife crime whilst his justice minister fails to end automatic early release is a crackdown on crime. "Increasing the sentence for possession from two to four years means that anyone convicted for the full term will still be automatically released after two years."

More here

South Carolina: Man shoots home intruder: "Jamie Harris woke up Tuesday morning in his southwest Charlotte apartment and realized an intruder was inside his home. He grabbed his gun and shot the intruder. 'My girl was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I hear two booms. After the second boom, I got up and the dude was already in the house,' said Harris. Not knowing if the intruder was armed, Harris grabbed his gun, but quickly lost control of it. 'He had it to my head, but somehow I reversed it,' He said. Harris then shot the intruder in the leg. He said he had no choice. Knowing his fiance and baby were inside the apartment, Harris said, 'That's what gave me the intention to shoot.'"

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