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Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:36 pm
by FreedomEnterprises
I had an email this morning asking for support. Please read.

The proposed ban on the import, sale and manufacture of swords will have an adverse effect on legitimate practitioners, collectors and manufacturers. Actual sword related crime is very rare and does not warrant a ban that affects the cultural activities of thousands of legitimate martial artists, collectors and smiths. Current legislation is quite adequate to deal with violent crime connected with bladed weapons. New legislation is merely for show. Enforcing such a ban will also affect cultural events such as Scottish Sword Dancing and many Sikh festivals. We urge the PM to reconsider this knee jerk reaction to media influenced scaremongering.

We would appreciate your support on this matter by signing the petition below;

We would also appreciate it if you could forward this message onto anyone else who would be interested in this petition.

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:01 pm
by PaulMurphy
The proposal is actually to add "Samurai" swords to the list of prohibited weapons.

Now, as misguided and badly targetted as this is in my opinion, the online petition does everyone a great disservice by scare mongering and making everyone think that the government have already decided to ban everything.

I would encourage everyone to think before acting - in this as in everything else. If it does indeed come to pass that re-enactment is threatened, or that the government don't see the need for an exemption from this proposal for recognised martial arts bodies with appropriate supervision and qualifications required (i.e. you can't walk in off the street, join a club, and buy a sword the next day), then I would be the first in line to speak to my local MP and the minister responsible.

However, I don't think we're there yet, and running around shouting "Wolf" isn't helpful.


Nanny State

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:51 pm
by FreedomEnterprises
“running around shouting "Wolf" isn't helpful” I am quite offended by that, this email was sent to me to raise awareness and support about a subject that has been considered and continues to be raised by our government. I feel that this is another example of, and I hate to use this saying “ A nanny state “. If by signing this petition helps even in the smallest amount then that is better than doing nothing and complaining afterwards.

This proposed ban may be aimed at Samurai swords but where will the line be drawn. It may start a ball rolling which may impact re-enactment as we see it today. In any case as a responsible member of society who just so happens to have quite a few weapons of various types, some for re-enactment, some for cutting practice and others for simply looking at. I would not consider a ban on making, selling and importing these items to be a good thing, there are far more dangerous products on the market.

Therefore this small and I suppose insignificant petition in my opinion still needs supporting.

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:38 pm
by Aelfric
Paul is quite correct in my opinion. A petition to protect martial artists by opposing the actual proposed ban on ‘samurai’ swords would have my full support, however the petition in question is asking the Prime Minister to “to Reconsider an outright ban on swords”. As no such ban has been proposed (yet at least) such a petition is indeed the scaremongering and wolf-crying Mr Murphy suggests.

Re: Nanny State

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:33 pm
by PaulMurphy
FreedomEnterprises wrote:“running around shouting "Wolf" isn't helpful” I am quite offended by that, this email was sent to me to raise awareness and support about a subject that has been considered and continues to be raised by our government.
If someone sent you an e-mail telling you that your house was on fire, would you call the fire brigade, or stick your head round the door and sniff for smoke?

Believe me, if such a proposal ever does get anywhere near a vote in parliament, it will be well after this site has spent 3 months co-ordinating responses and organising people to turn out in protest.

I have no doubt that your post was well-meaning, but you didn't check out the facts, and so have helped to increase the panic and misinformation which is already out there.

So, don't take offence - but please check before posting.


[b]Offended once again![/b]

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:03 pm
by FreedomEnterprises
Offended once again!
The implication that I am gullible and believe all the emails that are sent to me, is offensive. The email was from Peter Schofield of Medieval Weaponry, I have delt with him in the past and have found him to be good to his word.

Now I have been re-enacting for over 10 years and running a business which involves the selling of swords for over for about the same time. I have been listening to rumours and concerns over swords/ Bladed weapons etc for years and some have been fact. What we are really talking about is the addition of “Swords” to the Criminal Justice act ( Offecisive Weapons ). There is at present 17 weapon descriptions in the act from sword sticks to hand claws.
Swords is a very broad term and most of the debate is based around Samurai swords but with most thing it will all come down to its description in the act. Blade length, curved or straight, sharp or degrees of bluntness, overall purpose. That you can debate.

Now at the present time Scotland is far closer to passing tough laws restricting the sale of swords, this bill was introduced to the Scottish parlement in October 2006 and was expected to pass early this year. Paul MacDonald of MacDonald Armouries has raised over 2000 signatures in his attempt to fight this.

Meanwhile south of the border in Middlebrough a campaign called Mothers Against Knifes are calling for a ban on “Bladed Weapons” Please note this term would cover SWORDS. With the support of the mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, they have raised over 5000 signatures of support. This point was raised by Dr. Ashok Kumar on Priminsters Question Time on the 21st of February.
Transcript Below:

Q2. [121276] Dr. Ashok Kumar (Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland) (Lab): Is my right hon. Friend aware of a local campaign in Middlesbrough calling for a ban on the sale of bladed weapons? The campaign has been organised by Mothers against Knives and has the support of 5,000 people, including the mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, and the former leader of the Conservative party, the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard). Given that there is so much support; will my right hon. Friend use his good office to try to ensure that we ban the sale of bladed weapons?

The Prime Minister: First, let me pay tribute to the work of Middlesbrough Mothers against Knives. Its members are part of the interesting phenomenon throughout the country of people and families getting together to try to do what they can in their local communities. The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 raises the age at which a knife can be bought and makes sure that we take tougher action against those who are using bladed weapons. The use of knife amnesties has also played a part. I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend says, and we keep very closely under review both the legislation in respect of this and measures taken locally.

So the subject of Swords/ Bladed weapons is in the public domain.

Just another point just two years ago Australia added swords to their list of precipitated weapons. This means that traders amongst other things have to apply for a licence to sell swords plus must keep detailed records of who they are sold to. As for the public they have to apply for a licence to own the sword plus keep it in a locked cabinet. There are some exemptions but if that applies to re-enactment weaponry is debatable.

So apart from all this there is a lot for traders to be aware of and the signing of the petition is not crying wolf. I would suggest that you Paul Murphy please check your facts before posting a response. Please remember this part of the forum is for traders not members of the public or re-enactors.

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:33 pm
by PaulMurphy

At no point did I call you gullible. I merely suggested that it would be better to check on facts before posting something which would cause a panic.

This area of the forum is called "Traders Discussion", not "Traders Private Area" - it is visible to the public and to other re-enactors. I am also a moderator here, so if you want somewhere truly private to discuss this sort of thing without others popping in to point out you are wrong, this is not it, and you won't ever have such a facility on this site, as no-one in their right mind would create such a thing unless they had a personal vested interest in doing so, which Cal doesn't.

On your other points, you have gone from saying that there is a Bill before Parliament to saying that weapons bans are being talked about. This is nothing new - it has been talked about for the whole time that I have been in re-enactment (22 years), and the net result of all that waffle has been a slight tightening of the law and a lot of publicity for police officers and MPs which has ended up wrapping a lot of fish and chips.

The police and government in this country will never tackle the problem of bladed weapons in any sort of sensible way, because it is beyond them. For all the publicity that sword attacks get, there are three hard facts which they cannot avoid, and which they are uncomfortable in discussing:

1. The majority of bladed weapons used in attacks are domestic - kitchen knives, Stanley knives, etc, which are on general sale, and which they could not ban or restrict in any serious way. There are doctors and police officers who have called for anything over 3" long to be banned because it serves no useful purpose in the home, but of course they all eat pre-sliced bread, and in any case Stanley knives have a blade of 2".

2. The majority of crimes involving bladed weapons happen between two people who are known to each other, and in most cases it is a domestic incident - not gangs of people having a battle with swords in the street, despite what the newspapers would like us to believe.

3. Almost all of the crimes involving bladed weapons also involve alcohol to a degree which would render the person liable to prosecution if they attempted to drive a car.

Now, I'd love to provide you with official statistics to back all of this up, but the sobering fact is that there aren't any - the police do not distinguish between someone being slashed with a craft knife, someone grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing their partner with it, or some lunatic running down a street naked with a katana. The only evidence comes from hospitals and informal surveys, so the government currently has no evidence whatsoever that swords are used in a growing number of crimes, except for hearsay via the press and the statements of a few MPs and senior police officers who want to make a name for themselves. In fact, what evidence there is shows sword-based attacks to be very much a tiny problem when taken in the context of the overall offensive weapon statistics.

We also need to be careful not to paint ourselves into a corner in this discussion by campaigning for the general right to own swords. Personally, I cannot see any reason for a shop to be selling sharp weapons to any member of the public who walks in and pays £80 for the cheap piece of badly-constructed Chinese or Indian stainless steel ironmongery that the shopholder has imported for £10 a time with the express intention of flogging them to as many people as possible.

Re-enactment suppliers operate in a very specialised area, and produce goods which are massively different from the low end of the market, but at the end of the day they could be just as effective (if not more so) in the hands of a criminal. If there are to be restrictions, I would prefer that they be aimed at removing the street trade while protecting the more specialist areas.

However, all of this discussion hinges on whether there is any plan to do anything to restrict the sale of swords, and despite all the huffing and puffing of the press, the pressure groups, and the MPs in marginal constituencies who will grasp whatever straw is left to them, it remains the case that there have been no substantial changes in the law over the last 10 years, despite the continued demand for it from some quarters.

Among the many reasons for this are that a ban would not stop the criminals from buying or making swords, that the police aren't interested in it (they'd prefer a bigger budget for more police, and tougher sentences when they catch someone, rather than 100 hours community service), and the fact that being in possession of anything bladed without good reason is already illegal. If the fact that it is illegal now and the police are acting on the law is not enough to stamp it out, how will a new law make a difference?

Finally, please don't post in bold - it makes it seem like you are foaming at the mouth, which this discussion doesn't need, and please don't suggest I check my facts - I have, and have posted them, which is why I am in disagreement with you.


Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:13 pm
by Hobbitstomper
This licensing retailers is the governments latest control method. The violent crime act has just done this for air guns and will probably come in to force later this year. It effectively destroys half the mail order air gun industry.

IF the same system was applied to re-enactment stuff, most re-enactment retailers/customers would not be happy.

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 5:01 pm
by FreedomEnterprises
Dear Paul Murphy
I am not getting into this with you anymore. I disagree with some of what you have written and was offended by the way you have written some of your opinions. I have given the facts, what you or anyone chooses to do with the information above is up to them.

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:32 pm
by gregory23b
"I have given the facts, what you or anyone chooses to do with the information above is up to them.

questioning the 'facts' is one of those things, you posted it in a forum, it got responded to, refuted in some cases.

Paul was hardly being offensive, he is one the more rational posters here and he is certainly well-informed on this particular issue, more than most. I read his cry wolf statement as a general point, seeing as this is not the only thread about the subject, see F and G.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:30 am
by Tuppence
Please remember this part of the forum is for traders not members of the public or re-enactors.
Although Paul has already replied to this, I must point out that there is only one private part of this site as far as I am aware - and it's there for a very good reason - every single other area is free for anyone to read, and for every registered member to respond.

In short, anyone may read, or reply to topics in this section, and any moderator may moderate this section.

I happen to think that Paul is 100% correct about this, and that he was (as always) perfectly reasoned and reasonable in his replies. I therefore cannot see what there is to be offended about (and to be honest, if offended by Paul, what would happen if certain others had replied - I'm pretty sure they'd be considerably less reasonable).

Debbie (moderator and trader).

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:12 am
by gregory23b
I haven't knicknamed him TVOR for no reason.


Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:29 am
by Fillionous
As for stiring up unwanted fuss I think this has just go to the next level... I caught part of a report on BBC radio 2 yesterday discussing this sword ban partition.

Amougst the report various polititions names were mentioned as being in suport of a sword / samuri sword ban (there was some overlap and confusion in what they were actualy talking about banning) or being stired up now that there was this petition and 'public awareness and concern'. And that further lobying and consultation was going to take place because this was in the public eye / interest.

I hope and suspect that it will fade away in the next few weeks and that no flash in the pan media knee jerk will take it further...

Personnaly this is all so much waffle... heard a dozen times before in various guises and will probably come to nought... but it does again prove taht if you kick a hornets nest then hornets come out to sting you... ie if you stir up a 'potential' 'emotive' subject then it suddenly gets jumped on and made a BIG issue... I prefure to leave sleeping dogs, sleeping and keep enjoying my re-enactment in peace, (with my fachion).

Be bright, be bold

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:57 am
by Chris Neill
Actually I have always found Max to be an intelligent individual and well worth listening to. I do not like to see a person of his stature slapped down rudely in public; sadly though that is the level of debate one sees all to often.
I wonder whether it is right that a moderator should also be pushing their own views? Surely moderation and participation are incompatible?

There is no evidence at all that the Home Office -see
is proposing to ban swords in reaction to the petition; ... apons-0307
So- perhaps someone else ought to check facts before producing such innuendos?

Anyone who thinks this is going to go away is living in another place but the real world. The ban being proposed is not for samurai swords but "curved single edge swords" which would catch a lot of sabres. It goes without saying I would hope that the scope for hassle about what is caught or not is endless. What constitutes a curve alone is worth dozens of cases.

The only exemption propsed is for martial arts. The consultation is already biased in the questions it is asking.

Now we are very close to an outright ban on swords for sale. Since there is already a perfectly useful law on offensive weapons it should hardly be necessary, but then having seen some of the stuff that is readily and cheaply on sale in cash and carry oulets perhaps some control is needed.

But the petition is expressing valid concerns.

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:22 pm
by gregory23b
Chris, he was hardly slapped down, certainly not rudely.

"Surely moderation and participation are incompatible?"

Not at all, certainly not in this situation as Paul's personal interest is not related to his role as a moderator. Also he is extensively involved in these issues and is well informed.

Why should his, or anyone else's contribution be missed out by virtue of their volunteer status as a moderator?

It is easy to be offended and take offence, more so in this medium than in face to face, I seriously think that there has been an immediate assumption that offence was meant.

Had it been any number of people here (myself included) then that might be a different story, not with Paul. For the record I am not his mate nor a member of his group, nor have I any personal interest in him, save that his demeanour is honest, polite and reasonable.

I suggest a shaking of hands and acceptance that it was a misunderstanding, which from here it very much seems to be. It means we can then get on with the debate rather than discuss who did or did not offend who.

Anyway, from the consuiltation document

"2.4 The Government has no wish unnecessarily to restrict or adversely impact on cultural, sporting or dramatic activities. We value the many traditions and pursuits that contribute towards our country’s heritage and diversity. Groups representing the following activities have been in contact with the Home Office to discuss their use of

“samurai swords”:
• Martial arts – “samurai swords” are used in many martial arts, which revolve around strict codes of discipline and control

• Collecting – the preservation of the past by many individual collectors in England and Wales is important in itself, and often to the benefit of our museums andnational heritage bodies.

2.5 The Government aims to define “samurai swords” to catch those weapons used in violent crime. Reports have tended to describe any long bladed, curved weapon used in a violent crime as a “samurai sword”.

In reality, weapons of this type used in crime are almost exclusively cheap imported replicas of genuine swords and are readily available on the internet and in shops"

Interestingly it is acknowledging that there is a difference between what we use and what are used in the very few sword attacks, ie it is specific about what weapons are in reality used in such cases, not necessarily how they are described.

The next two clauses are discussion about how to define 'samurai' swords, not blanket inclusion of other weapons, not by implication even.

Other points relate to 'fantasy' knives, again with no relation to historical items.