Under 18s will face tough new barriers to buying knives online, following the introduction of the Offensive Weapons Bill.
The Bill will mean online retailers cannot sell knives online without rigorous age-verification, and will no longer be able to deliver knives to residential addresses or drop-off points. It will furthermore ban certain firearms their accessories, including bump stocks.
As the legislation contains elements that are reserved to Westminster, the Bill is a UK Government Bill which has been developed closely with the SNP Government for those areas that extend to Scotland. For the devolved parts areas of the Bill, the SNP Government will promote a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament to seek consent for Westminster to legislative on devolved matters.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“I wrote to the UK Government in January 2017 raising concerns about the online sale of knives and the need for a joint approach. I’m glad to see this Bill will address these issues and ensure more barriers are put in place to stop young people accessing knives and other offensive weapons online.
“We are resolute in our determination to tackle violent crime, and this Bill, on which we have engaged closely with the UK Government, ensures we are going further to prevent incidents with offensive weapons from happening in the first place, as well as future-proofing the law.
“Possession of offensive weapons fell 69% from 2006 to 2016, and we are continuing to work with schools and local authorities on anti-violence campaigns to reduce incidents further.”
Kenneth Gibson added:
“Scotland has led the way when it comes to the reduction of offensive weapon crime and it is heartening to see that the UK Government is now acting on our Justice Secretary Michael Matheson’s request to take measures to help curb online sales to under 18s.
“Since the SNP came into Government in 2007, the number of people carrying knives has decreased by 69%, from 10,110 to 3,111 across Scotland and in North Ayrshire by a whopping 77%. However, young people still have access to offensive weapons through online sales and I welcome the introduction of this Bill to help us continue this reduction and, ultimately, save more lives.”