NEW LEGISLATION has been passed by Parliament which bans the manufacture, import and sale of replica guns; a weapon which was used earlier this year in a gun siege invloving a Costcutter employee.
The Violent Crime Reduction Bill has come in light of a sixty-six per cent increase in replica gun offences over the last year. Previously it had been illegal to carry a replica gun in public, but not to buy one.
Last November, nouse reported on the employee of a campus Costcutter store was involved in a five hour armed siege on the border of campus, highlighting the problem replica guns pose for the police. Nine armed police officers surrounded his house and after his arrest it was revealed he was brandishing a replica.
Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, said: “The police service has been pushing for a change in the law in this direction for some time.
“We are particularly concerned for public safety in respect to the use of replica weapons. Police officers face a difficult job when they can’t tell if a gun is real or not and have to make split second decisions.”
The police have argued that the lack of visual difference between replica and real firearms is a serious cause for concern, and can often cause confusion. An armed police unit will be forced to take extreme action in the event of an incident involving any kind of firearm, and they are hoping that this new legislation will prevent this.
Also in the Bill was an increase in the age limit of buying a knife from 16 to 18 years of age and granting headteachers the permission to search pupils. Bars that sell drinks to minors can now be temporarily shut, and ones in binge drinking hotspots will have to pay for extra policing.
By Elliot Taylor – DEPUTY EDITOR