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Offensive Weapons Bill returns to the Lords

11 April 2019


The Offensive Weapons Bill returned to the House of Lords on Wednesday 10 April for consideration of Commons amendments in 'ping pong'.

Members discussed subjects relating to the delivery of bladed products to persons under 18 years of age, including:

  • the precautions to be taken by a seller when delivering an item to a residential address
  • the criminal liability undertaken by a delivery company on behalf a seller
  • the parity under the new law between UK and overseas sellers
  • the further application of the law to corrosive substances

Following debates on the floor of the House, all the Commons amendments were agreed to without a division (vote).

As both Houses have now agreed the text of the bill, it now awaits Royal Assent, when the bill will become an Act of Parliament (law).

A date for Royal Assent has yet to be scheduled.

Lords Third Reading: Tuesday 19 March

Members discussed a range of topics, including:

  • the creation of a 'trusted courier' scheme for the sale and delivery of bladed products
  • the surrender of prohibited weapons and the requirements for an owner's compensation claim
  • the legal presentation of a curved sword by a follower of the Sikh religion at a ceremonial event

There was one division (vote) on a proposed amendment (change) to the bill.

The vote concerned the creation of a 'trusted courier' scheme and the exemption of sales using 'trusted couriers' from certain restrictions within the bill.

234 members of the Lords were in favour of  the amendment, with 213 against, and so the change was made.

Explanatory Statements

New in the Lords, the list of suggested changes for debate include short statements (‘explanatory statements') from members briefly setting out the effect of their proposed changes.

Explanatory statements are voluntary, maximum 50 words and allowed for committee stage (line by line check), report stage (further check and change) and third reading (chance to ‘tidy up') of the Offensive Weapons Bill.

Lords report stage day two: Monday 4 March

Members discussed issues related to bladed products, including:

  • the creation of a 'trusted trader' status for the sale of bladed products
  • the definition and delivery of bladed articles for agricultural purposes
  • the issue of bladed articles arriving from abroad via postal services

Lords report stage day one: Tuesday 26 February

Members discussed a range of subjects, including the court authorisation of Knife Crime Prevention Orders and the possession of firearms.

There was one division (vote) on a proposed amendment (change) to the bill.

The vote concerned the insertion of a new clause into the bill, which would allow a court to issue a Knife Crime Prevention Order against a defendant without securing a conviction, under three conditions:

  • An application for the Order is made by a relevant chief officer of police or a chief constable of either the British Transport Police or the Ministry of Defence Police.
  • The court is satisfied that on at least two occasions, during a two year period prior to the Order being issued, a defendant has held a bladed article without good reason at either a public place in England and Wales or at a school or further education premises.
  • The court believes it is necessary to issue an Order to protect the public from harm and to prevent the defendant from commiting an offence.

The new clause also clarifies a 'good reason' for holding a bladed article as being:

  • For use at work
  • For educational purposes
  • For religious reasons
  • As part of a national costume

Members voted 145 in favour of the new clause and 84 against, so the change was made.

Lords committee stage day four: Tuesday 12 February

The committee stage of this bill took place in Grand Committee, a room outside the Lords chamber. In Grand Committee, any member can take part and decisions on amendments can be made, but no votes can take place.

Members proposed amendments (changes) on subjects including miniature rifles, manufacture of ammunition and the requirement to produce a report on the causes behind youth violence with offensive weapons.

The bill completed its committee stage in the Lords without further debate.

Lords committee stage day three: Wednesday 6 February

Members discussed the offence of threatening with offensive weapons in a public place, knife crime prevention orders and increased security measures for certain firearms.

Lords committee stage day two: Wednesday 30 January

Members discussed the sale of bladed articles to persons under 18, the lawful possession of Kirpans and prohibition of certain firearms.

Lords committee stage day one: Monday 28 January

Members discussed the prevention of persons under the age of eighteen from buying corrosive substances, possession of a corrosive substance in a public place and the requirement of the government to report on the number of arrests made under the provisions of the bill.

Lords second reading: Monday 7 January

This is a public bill (a draft law that affects the public). Members discussed a range of issues raised by the bill, including the prohibition of certain firearms, the sale and delivery of corrosive substances and the rise of knife crime.

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government.

Offensive Weapons Bill

This bill aims to update offenses relating to sale, delivery and possession of and threatening with offensive weapons, including firearms, knives and corrosive substances.

Further information

Image: Unsplash-Ashim-DSilva