Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First guns, then swords, then .....? "Swords will be banned from sale in Scotland in a new effort to tackle the country's "booze and blades" culture. Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, will announce the move today. However, it is understood that exceptions will be made for weapons required for religious, cultural or sporting purposes. Retailers yesterday claimed the move was an over-reaction, as swords constitute just 1 per cent of knife crime. Ms Jamieson, who has the backing of the police, will also launch a range of measures to restrict the sale of non-domestic knives, including hunting knives, bowie knives and machetes. Almost 30 people are admitted to hospitals in Scotland every week with wounds from bladed instruments. Earlier this month, a Glasgow man was jailed for killing a woman with a sword. In a recent amnesty, more than 12,500 lethal blades, machetes and swords were handed over to police.... Gordon Nicolson, of Nicolson Highlandwear, expressed concern for the future of Scotland's sword manufacturers, who sell the items to collectors around the world. "It is part of our history and part of our culture and we have to be able to use it," he said. "In certain circumstances, it is required to give authenticity to our heritage and to throw that away in a blanket ban seems nonsensical." ... Campaigners argue that a ban is an unwarranted infringement of the rights of swordspersons, including collectors, martial artists, sports fencers, Highland dancers and historical re-enactors."

Australian gun bans at work -- gun crime doubles: "Crime across the state is either stable or declining, according to the latest crime statistics, but there remain significant pockets of problems. In the 17 categories measured by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, none registered a significant increased over the last two years, while three dropped: break and enter, car theft and stealing from a dwelling... There are still some problems. In inner Sydney, robberies with a firearm increased by 111 per cent over the last two years, robberies without a firearm went up 44 per cent in Canterbury-Bankstown, shoplifting in the Eastern Suburbs went up by 26 per cent, and fraud went up by a quarter in Blacktown."

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