In the U.K., private ownership of firearms is virtually banned. Professional criminals can still get guns, of course, but for your typical thug, knives are the weapon of choice. Thus there has been a steady outpouring of concern over burgeoning “knife crime” in recent years. The Sun undertook a bit of investigative journalism to find out how easy it is to obtain knives illegally, and was shocked at the result:
LETHAL swords, machetes and knives are being sold illegally to children — with no questions asked.
A Sun investigation today reveals how shockingly easy it is for youngsters to buy weapons, despite a series of high-profile killings involving teenagers.
One girl was able to buy 14 deadly blades from seven shops in just a few hours.
It is striking how similar descriptions of knife-buying in the U.K. are to gun-buying in the United States. In particular, gang members generally don’t buy knives themselves, but send their girlfriends to do it:
The Sun’s investigators sent girls to buy the knives in order to copy the tactics used by gangs. By law, shops can only sell blades to over-18s who can produce ID. But 17-year-old Hannah Rose-Wynter was served in seven shops without being asked to prove her age. …
A South London gang member, 15, told how teens get their girlfriends to buy knives because females arouse less suspicion and local shops rarely ask questions.
Great Britain has banned guns, but it can’t very well ban knives:
Kitchen knives are the most commonly used weapons in teenage gang attacks, police say.
Even in the nanny state, you can’t realistically expect people to get by on forks and spoons. But there are more frightening blades available than mere kitchen knives:
Hannah also bought terrifying swords from two martial arts stores, a machete from a Chinese supermarket and kebab knives from a business based at a house in Brockley. She said: “I was shocked at how many knives I was able to buy.”
In Liverpool, 17-year-old Beth Carter bought a large cook’s knife from The Catering Equipment Centre in Mossley Hill and said: “I couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
Here is Miss Rose-Wynter’s haul:
Is this a parody? No. It is straight reporting. If you ban guns, this is what you get: knife crime. It’s that pesky human nature again…