UK Sword Ban
Posted 07 August 2006 - 08:10 PM
This is the topic to give updates and information on this misguided attempt to legislate these works of art.
I am copying a bit of the info from the old board, and updates or further info is welcome.
"for all collectors, particularly in the UK, and Europe but this is also important for us all everywhere in the world. The British Government is going to try and ban the selling and import of Japanese swords in the UK and make them basically illegal.
This Word doc was sent to NMB member Paul Bowman.
Please read this official notice from the Home Office in the UK. Please write to Mr. Jonathan Batt, Public Order section and express your concerns over this ridiculous proposal.
I have attached a PDF of the official notice and can put any member in touch with the relevant parties ( collectors in the UK ) if they need more information."
"There has been a lot of activity in July. Clive Sinclair together with members of the British kendo association met ministers in the Home Office and had a good response to their points.
Soon after a Conservative MP deciding that the government weren't moving quickly enough and introduced a private members bill to ban "Samurai Swords" A number of us are in contact with this gentleman and he has recognised that there are differences between the items used by thugs on the street and true Samurai swords.
Northumberland Police have responded to my query regarding the disposal of possibly valuable antiques following the knife amnesty. their response was basically people knew when they handed them in they would be destroyed so its not the polices job to decided if something was worth saving.
I am pursueing this mindless response and am currently in contact with the Chief Constable.
Yesterday the Northern Token Society recieved the following from the Home Office:
â€œThank you for your letter of 21 May regarding a possible ban on samurai swords.
I can assure you that the Government does recognise that there is a difference between genuine samurai swords and cheap imitations and that such a difference would need to be reflected in any legislation. This point was made to my Ministerial colleague Vernon Coaker at a meeting with the British Kendo Association and the T-Ken Society of Great Britain.
There is scope within the legislation to make exemptions or defences for certain activities and we will certainly consider making these exemptions for collectors of genuine samurai swords. I should add that there is already an exemption in the legislation for weapons over 100 years old.
I will ensure that you are given the opportunity to comment on our proposals.
If in the meantime you would like to meet with officials dealing with this issue, Catherine Webster, Head of the Offensive Weapons Section would be happy to meet you.â€
The reality is I believe that the Government will introduce some sort of ban. They have already confirmed that antiques would be exempt. The challenge now is to ensure that we offer accurate definitions for further exemptions for Shinsaku-To, Gendai-To and Showa-To. A number of people are working on this and we hope to have an acceptable range of exemptions by the time any bill comes in to force (likely to be early next year.
I think there has been solid progress. There is no point in continuing to argue the stupidity or otherwise of such a ban. I am sure it will happen. However based on progress to date and if we continue in this way I believe it will have minimum impact on serious collectors and marshal arts groups.
"All, we have added a petition to help try and end this ban.
Please sign this, and leave any comment you care. we will be forwarding this on to the appropriate authorities as soon as we have decent numbers.
Also, if you are unaware, the UK government is nor considering changing the policy to include all swords, not just Japanese, so if you collect other types of swords or have friends that do, please pass this on to them.
Note: look out for the check boxes at the bottom, they come up auto checked and I cannot turn this off. Just in case you do not want the junk mail that may ensue."
Posted 22 June 2007 - 03:49 AM
Posted 14 July 2007 - 09:20 AM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 09:52 PM
Perhaps its just that Labour politicians have been in power too long,and they are getting bored; time to vote them out next time?
What happened to freedom of expression?or is it just some freedoms and some expressions,especially those that dont rock the Home Office boat so they can continue uninterrupted making a pigs ear of Jurisprudence in this country.You can just hear the politicians in their close meetings,"Lets throw the public another red herring scare story so they dont ask too many questions which we cant answer."
Posted 27 October 2007 - 08:12 PM
Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:38 PM
As chairman of the Northern ToKen Society, and a recently retired Senior Curator at the Royal Armouries Museum, may I offer a crumb of comfort to those concerned about items handed in to police stations during amnesties. It is true that the attitude taken was one of 'If its handed in take it off them' and some good items were undoubtedly destroyed. Despite this some forces did show some sympathy towards antiques and I was able to rescue a very fine wakizashi with a Tadayoshi blade, a suriage blade in gunto mounts (which I failed to identify because of its condition but which I felt held great promise), and finally a Tokyo Arsenal made gunto in the most pristine mounts I have ever seen.
Similar rescues occurred previously and all of these items have become part of the Museum's collection and are now available for study.
Posted 05 November 2007 - 07:19 PM
That really is sad to hear. It is truly sad how brainwashed some people can get when told what to think. I know a relative of my girlfriend was horrified in the Uk when some young thugs broke into his house and stole his old Scout knife among other things. He was distraught at the fact that thee was now a "deadly knife" out there in the hands of criminals. Goodness knows what mindset has to set in to lead to thoughts that some pointy objects are weapons whereas kitchen knives are harmless.
Goodness knows the danger you posed to the MP. YOu never know when those deadly "Samurai Swords" will decide on their own accord to fling themselves off the walls and attack people at random.
Ian, that is great news, glad to hear they were saved and there are some sensible attitudes out there. It does, however, turn my stomach to think that there are people out there who will turn in antique art like a Tadayoshi to be willingly destroyed in this day and age. I would hate to hear of some that didn't get rescued.
You guys are doing a wonderful job of protecting them within your abilities though. Please keep us informed.
- Admin -
Posted 06 November 2007 - 11:05 PM
My thanks for your observations.I have received a letter from Rosie Cooper M.P saying she has written to the Home Office and will let me know when she has a reply. As a gentleman I will desist from direct criticism of a lady but as I suspect my M.P. wouldnt know Nihonto from a bulls foot; just what the letter to the Home Office said by way of explanation exercises the mind greatly??But what the Home office reply will be to this letter beggars belief!!
and so the saga continues.
Posted 27 November 2007 - 02:52 PM
I have now received a reply from Rosie Cooper MP,in which she sends me a copy of a letter from the Home Office. It is from a Vernon Coaker,Minister responsible for policy in this area.He continues to refer to "Samurai Swords" being used in violent crime. I suppose we should be grateful that they are now quoting theswords in inverted commas. In my opinion its quite clear there is no evidence relating to genuine samurai swords in relation to the Offensive Weapons order in this respect,hence the inverted commas.
He continues to say he will publish responses he has received by the end of November.
We await with interest!
Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:50 PM
Get a grip already, politicans!
Man, Henry... i know alot of people, me included, who would have loved to receive such invitation from an experienced nihonto student, some people just are clueless...
"Without mercy, man is like a beast. Men are created equal, everyone is entitled to happiness."
Posted 28 November 2007 - 03:01 AM
Posted 28 November 2007 - 01:44 PM
Many thanks for your comments; I do so wish that this was a genuine consultation and not a smoke screen to con the public as it clearly is,the politicians having already made up their mind and sod what anyone else says.
Look at the record; I can remember the Labour Minister for Post leaving his clothes on an American beach giving the impression he had drowned only to be found alive and well;conversley the Conservative Minister sharing a bed with a lady not his wife who later shared the same bed with a top Russian spook,or the politicians jailed for committing perjury (lying),or the strange case of the party mystery donations!! They then have the cheek to ask for respect.I could go on but whats the point. You are right we have squandered millions of lives in the name of freedom,but then I need to look at Westminster and ask 'who's freedom?and for what'
When you become an MP and pick up Â£100,000 in salary and expenses and a generous pension and dont need any qualifications to get the job,what the hell do you expect to get?Someone to care for the interest of others!!Grow up will you!!!
Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:25 PM
with the world population topping 6,6 billion people and counting there is no shortage of lunatics running around the planet, in fact it could be argued rather easily that a number of heads of state fall into this category these days. None the less, and in view of staying on topic here, the headline and article linked above in all likelihood, will only work to increase the burden on nihonto collectors in the UK of peeling away social fear and ignorance in order to continue their nihonto collecting passion.
Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:39 PM
Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:28 AM
so far the home offcie have missed every terget date they have published so dont hold your breath. The most likely place to see anything is on the home office website. I expect that those who have participated in the consultation will eventually get some direct update, but I would bank on it.
If you see or hear any progress please let us know, likewise if I get any information I will place it here.
Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:00 PM
Many thanks for your mail.Government departments are always failing to honour their commitments, especially the Home Office. What with asylum seekers,immigration issues,bungled security matters with numerous other cock-ups,the list goes on ad infinitum; we awaiting another MP's deliberation s stand little chance of hearing very much. Still never mind,even an MP like Mr Coaker may get a pang of concience to deliver what he promised. I am reliably informed God moves in a mysterious way!!
Posted 08 December 2007 - 02:17 PM
I have just received an email from Steve Smith of The Northern ToKen, UK to say that Jonathan Batt of the Home Office has been in touch with him and that the results of the consultation on the sword ban will be published on the 12th of December. Hard copies will be sent to those being more directly involved with the process.
Posted 10 December 2007 - 12:33 PM
Thankyou for posting your email; I look forward with interest to Mr.Coaker's comments.
Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:00 PM
Posted 12 December 2007 - 01:17 PM
At last the Home office have put out a press release with regard to the ban. Paraphrasing, and please remember it only for the press, the results of their consultation are as follows:
Replica 'samurai swords' will be added to the prohibited weapons list. When the act comes into force, buying, selling or hiring these objects will incur a penalty of up to 6 months in prison and a maximum fine of Â£5000. Carrying a samurai sword in public is already an offence that could result in up to 4 years in prison.
Genuine antique swords are exempt from the ban as are those made in Japan up to 1953, or subsequently by a Japanese registered swordsmith. Also exempt are those replicas used in martial arts or for similar purposes.
Thus I think that all of the lobbying done by everyone has had the desired effect. I did notice in a newspaper that there was to be a requirement that they should be kept under lock and key, but I see no problem there. What does slightly concern me is the carrying situation. There does need to be a qualification, that I am sure will be added, to the effect that real swords can be transported provided they are suitably wrapped and not available for immediate use.
Can I personally thank all who have contributed in this saga for their efforts to ensure we can continue with our wonderful hobby.
Posted 12 December 2007 - 03:22 PM
Genuine collectors of nihonto would appear to be safe. However remember these are politicians we are dealing with supported by the association of chief police officers who rely for their very existence on the MPs at the home office and who can properly be considered as an arm of government.
However we shall see; so far so good.
Posted 12 December 2007 - 07:30 PM
Those of us in the USA, RSA and many other countries will know what i mean when I act disgusted at them making you lock up simple sharp pointy objects and prove to them why you have a need for it. The English govt should hang its head in shame.
Btw..please note carefully that you have a "spy" among you. Note that their is a "collectors or re-enactors" association that voted against every single positive aspect of this. They can't possibly represent collectors or re-enactors!? Find out who they are.
Oh well..we wait and see.
- Admin -
Posted 13 December 2007 - 12:47 PM
I agree it is sad when a government feels it has to legislate in this way. In reality it is knives that are the real problem but there is no way anyone can come up with a suitable definition that does not include kitchen knives and the like. A former collegue wrote a superb article on firearm legislation in the UK that showed there was a statistical correlation between the amount of legislation and the increase in gun crime. No doubt we will see a similar rise in sword related crime (for 'sword' read machete, bayonet or anything else - to the UK press they are all 'samurai swords'). There now arises the slight problem of who is going to apply this legislation and how. The average policeman wouldn't know a real 'samurai sword' from a bucket handle. We will see.
I am intrigued by your comment about the 'spy'. I suspect I do know who you mean but there is little anyone can do.
Posted 13 December 2007 - 02:44 PM
Who's going to know the difference and who will police it? Not all of us want or can afford real Japanese smith made blades, especially when we only want to use them for tameshigiri.
Ok, it looks like instructors and collectors and students of Nihonto will end up paying another 'tax', to register as an authorised user.
There's a spy or 'mole' everywhere.
Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:23 PM
With respect I think you will find the devil will be in the detail. There will always be a correlation between the amount of legislation and an increase in activity against that legislation,it has ever been so. During the arguments on the gun ban the authorities were told if you ban guns only bandits will have guns,and so it has proved ;gun crime up over 400%.
I agree,your average Policeman wouldnt know a genuine nihonto from a bulls foot and more importantly neither would he care.
We have become the target of a political populace red herring exercise and can perhaps hope for a grain of sanity to survive the hot house of the parliamentary chamber. To those who campaigned I say well done!It would be naive of us to think as this is the culmination of the exercise,it is in fact only the beginning!
Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:32 PM
Posted 13 December 2007 - 07:02 PM
Remember that all that has happened so far is that a consultation result has been published. There is still a way to go before a law is actually drafted and passed. I have already been in touch with the Home Office voicing several caveats that will need to be addressed before the final legislation is drawn up. They have taken these on board and expressed the possibility of a meeting in the New Year to try and ensure that the final draft does not impinge too much on our right to collect swords. Let us see what happens.
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