In the UK recently there have been a number of widely reported stabbings and murders among the youth of our country. It's a sad state of affairs that youths are now using knives to attack and end innocent lives, but it's a symptom of a problem - not the problem itself.
Today, the government announced that it will be pushing stricter penalties on those who carry knives, and that possession is equal to 'intent to use.' This is the point at which I am very concerned. Although I think it's abhorrent that a few people in our society would wish to attack or defend themselves using knives - this type of law has no place in a developed society.
There are a number of people who rely on a knife in order to do their work - and the majority of people I've worked with in the trades carried a knife. It's a 'tool' that is very necessary for many people to carry - it's also a tool that may come in use in unforeseeable situations. They're also a very natural and historical tool - that have been carried around by gentlemen for centuries.
Last year, I wrote about a trip I took to the Nontron Knife Festival, at which I bought myself a knife. I wouldn't say I have particular need for a knife - but there are situations (such as when I'm fishing, camping .etc) when a knife is a useful tool to have. I'd take a photo and put it up, but I've left it at a friends after a camping trip.
With the proposed law (and current situation), should my friend and I decide to rendezvous on foot in order for me to take back my knife, the chances are that if we were seen one of us would end up in court. However, should I drive up to Sheffield (from my home in Birmingham) and pick up the knife in my car - my chances are massively diminished.
The other point is that playing with my knife is sometimes therapeutic. In January, I was eating an apple at my desk and cutting it up with the knife in my hand to eat it. It's a pretty normal thing to do with a knife, and 100% legal. However, after eating the apple and cleaning my knife, I dropped it into my pocket. I wasn't leaving the house any time soon, and didn't want to leave it in the kitchen draw. Only later on in the evening did I realise I still had it on me, so I left the pub I was in and took it home, before coming out again.
Now I'd consider this a responsible action, however, should I have been stopped in the pub or on the way home by the Police - I'd be facing a court appearance and custody. A disproportionate response to an innocent misadventure.
It's a shame that the law-abiding citizen has to suffer for the minority of idiots that choose to wield knives in an ungainly fashion - and then the majority of 'illegally used' knives are kitchen knives/cleavers. Do we ban these too?
It's a silly precedent that the government are setting - they should be looking at the wider social picture, rather than at an easy-to-target symptom of the problem. Curbing civil liberties is going to have little affect on the people who wield their knives illegally. I do understand there is a problem with knife crime in the UK, but better policing and targeting of unruly youths is the answer - not creating new laws to limit the general public's freedom.