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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Support sought amid sword fears
Paul Macdonald
Mr Macdonald said few crimes were committed with swords
Campaigners have urged MSPs to support their opposition to any ban on the sale of swords.

Ministers want to restrict sales as part of a clampdown on knife crime.

However, the Save Our Swords group has handed in a 2,000-name petition and warned that a ban could threaten a part of Scotland's heritage.

On hearing sword maker Paul Macdonald's plea, the petitions committee agreed to write to ministers and ask them what they plan to do.

Mr Macdonald, 33, a historical sword fencing instructor, said MSPs should oppose any legislation which would outlaw the sale or ownership of the weapons for legitimate reasons.

He said: "No hard evidence has been brought to light to give any reason for swords being as deadly or as dangerous, supposedly as knives are.

I'm a legitimate user of a bread knife and if there was an increased use of bread knives in crimes I don't think the parliament would take our bread knives away
Rosie Kane
Socialist MSP

"They are, in fact, not a problem on the streets."

Mr Macdonald expressed fears that a ban would affect antique dealers, tourist shops, auctioneers, collectors, museums, fencers, Highland dancers and sword fighters among others.

He argued that only 1% of all knife-related crimes involved swords.

"It's a largely flawed decision to deal with swords along with knives, it's inappropriate, misleading and unjustified," said Mr Macdonald.

Re-enactment
Campaigners fear changes could affect historical societies

"Knives are more concealable, more disposable, cheaper on the street as well and are used 99 times to one over swords."

Labour MSP for Dumbarton, Jackie Baillie, told the committee that the police had expressed concerns about a growing number of crimes involving the use of swords.

Socialist MSP for Glasgow, Rosie Kane, said: "I'm a legitimate user of a bread knife and if there was an increased use of bread knives in crimes I don't think the parliament would take our bread knives away."

The committee agreed to ask the executive what proposals would be brought forward regarding the sale and ownership of swords.

Exemptions exist within current legislation for antique weapons and those used for religious, cultural and historical purposes.

"The executive has no plans for proposals to strengthen the legislation on bladed weapons to remove such exemptions," a spokesman said.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Campaigners say a part of heritage could be lost



SEE ALSO:
New law and order bill published
03 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Crackdown targets knife culture
22 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Police condemn knife crime level
18 Jul 05 |  Scotland


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