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Last Updated: Friday July 25 2008 12:18 GMT

Should courts be tougher on people who sell knives to kids?


There are complaints that shopkeepers who break the law by selling knives to children aren't being punished harshly enough.

Between 2001 and 2006 a total of 71 people were found guilty of selling knives to kids but no-one was sent to prison. And most of the fines were less than 500.

There are tougher punishments available, like going to prison and fines of up to 5,000, but the maximum penalties are rarely used.

Do you think courts should be tougher on those who break the law by selling the knives?

Or do you think a fine is tough enough?

Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.

Your comments

"I think that any shopkeeper found selling a knife to children should go to prison for at the least 10 years, have the shop taken away from them and not be able to work in a shop for the rest of their lives. They should also be fined 3000 pounds which they have to pay in a certain amount of time."

Aisha, 10, London, England

"What is the problem with these people? I think the customer and the shopkeeper should go to jail for 35 years. It is not fair to us; all we can do is sit tight and pray."

Renee, 11, London, England

"I think that knives should only be sold to adults. They must be over 21 and show some ID. If anyone under 21 is given a knife, I think the seller should be fined, fired and sent to jail."

Jacqueline, 10, Tamworth, England

"I think they should be sent to prison and pay 150 fine."

Sophie, 11, London, England

"Nobody is doing anything to solve this problem. Shopkeepers are getting away with selling knives to teenagers. They should be fined, or if someone gets stabbed with the knife that was given to a teenager they should go to jail. People are dying everyday because of knife crimes. Some teenagers don't need to go to buy a knife because some take it from their homes."

Rosie, 9, London, England

"Knife crimes are increasing. Shopkeepers are to blame but they shouldn't go to jail, they should get a fine because teenagers can take knives from their homes, not just from shops or ask someone older to buy it for them."

Stephany, 10, London, England

"I think that the government is having a big issue with knife culture with my age group but then they don't punish the shopkeepers that sell them to them. You could say that they are to blame for some of teen knife culture!"

Holly, 13, Norfolk, England

"I think courts should be much tougher on people who sell knives to kids. Lots of kids may kill themselves or each other. People who do sell knives to kids should be fined a lot more than 500 or spend some time in prison. Many children could be in danger!!!"

Michelle, 10, Southampton, England

"I think that anyone caught selling knives to kids should automatically be locked up as soon as they have been proven guilty."

Ella, 12, Lincoln, England

"I don't think it's a good idea for kids to have knives and the people at the till should be sent to jail for a long time."

Sion, 9, North Wales

"They should be tougher because of the knife crime on the streets and if people don't sell knives to kids underage people won't be hurt. They should be fined or given a tougher punishment."

J'adara, 11, Essex, England

"Those who give knives to young kids should have their shops taken from them and they should go to prison for at least 7 years."

Lamin, 12, Birmingham, England

"Well, it depends really, because it depends what the purpose of the knife is. All in all, however, they should be punished more harshly, because it is illegal, and shopkeepers are humans and they have to follow the law like us too!"

Sara, 12, Preston, England

"Yes. Knife crimes are affecting Britain terribly. It's encouraging kids to murder someone, so I'm agreeing with the statement."

Katrin, 14, London, England

"This question shouldn't even be asked - of course they should! They are being irresponsible and dangerous!!"

Lila, 14, Birmingham, England

"Yes, I really think that people who sell knives to children are the ones behind the recent stabbings and knife-related crimes. And also, to quote a previous question, scouts should be able to get their knives from the adults in the group, so that they know they have been given their knife by a trustworthy person."

Barry, 12, Bristol, England

"I think the courts should be tougher to people who sell knives because I think it is just wrecking the world. Everyday there are lots of people getting killed because of people using knives. They should pay a big fine. People who have been killed by knives could have lived longer than usual. We are losing our families every day. It is very dangerous. They should pay a big fine and stay in jail for more than 12 months."

Haiqa, 11, Burnley, England

"The courts should be a lot tougher, because there are much more knife crimes in the UK committed by teenagers under 18. If they carry on committing knife crimes, they are going to grow up to be even worse law breakers, all because people selling knife to under 18s."

Lucy, 11, North Wales

"They should be sent to jail for 27 years if they sell a knife to someone between three to 19."

Anisa, 10, London, England

"Lots of shops just hand over knives without a care."

Amelia, 10, Bedford, England

"I think the courts should be harder on people who sell knives to kids because it is dangerous these days; they can go round stabbing people so I think knives should not be sold to children."

Kylie, 10, Blackpool, England

"I think that courts should be stricter on people who sell knives to young kids. I recommend that they should be severely punished!"

Jenny, 12, London, England

"I think that only people over 25 should be able to buy a knife because then they are really mature."

Ayesha, 12, Stratford, England

"The prisons are full enough as it is. Perhaps the fines should go up but how is a real jail sentence meant to help the prison crisis?"

Colette, 14, Watford, England

"I think that shopkeepers shouldn't go to prison but get a fine of at least 2,000."

Tokes, 10, Bath, England

"Yes, courts should be tougher on people who sell knives to young kids. It's very dangerous."

Sarah, 14, Stafford, England

"People who sell knives to children from the age of three to 16 should go to prison for 10 years because it is making children kill others."

Cheneill, 8, London, England

"Most people using knives are just using them for carving, camping etc. The people who aren't, either get them illegally or from the kitchen drawer. Increasing the age and penalty just makes it harder for scouts and survival enthusiasts to get hold of them."

Rose, 11, Rugby, England

"People that sell knives to children should be put to prison for 11 years, or have their shop sold to someone else."

Charlotte, 11, Dartford, England

"Yes, courts should be tougher on them. It's disgusting that they even sell them to adults, let alone children! The only knives that should be sold in shops should be cutlery."

Lucy, 11, London, England

"Yes! They should know better because they should know it is very dangerous and especially now that there are so many teenagers getting killed. Getting a fine less than 500 is nothing to them but I think it is much better if they go to prison."

Abi, 12, London, England

"They should get two warnings then go to jail for 1 whole month!!!"

Bassil, 8, London, England

"I think they should be tougher in court. My Auntie is a lawyer and she has to deal with these problems. Shopkeepers should be highly fined if they are caught and should be jailed."

Conrad, 14, Aylesbury, England

"Definitely! It's partly their fault for people getting their hands on knives, causing chaos and knife crime."

Kelly, 14, Essex, England

"I think that it won't really make much difference. Maybe just increasing the fine would be better because it still makes the people learn their lesson."

Lizzie, 11, England

"I think knives should have numbers on them so that it can be traced back to the person if it is found."

Joey, 15, Didcot, England

"Yes they should, you hear every day that someone has been stabbed."

Lisa, 11, Liverpool, England

"Yeah, but the kids should also be punished. It's the shopkeeper's fault for letting them have the knife, but the kid's fault for using it."

Coco, 14, Watford, England

"DEFINITELY, it is contributing to the murder rate... I think it should be around 10 years as then people won't take the chance."

Emma, 14, Kent, England

"Yes, because I think it is their fault if they sell knives to kids then it lets the kids have knifes."

Jacqueline, 12, Mansfield, England

"I don't think so because if people have learnt their lesson I think a fine is tough enough. But if it's more serious crimes yes courts should be tough and I have mixed opinions on this."

Catherine, 15, Crawley, England

"In a way the shopkeepers who sell knives to kids are just as responsible for the knife crimes committed by kids. They should be sent to prison."

Bethan 14, Gloucester, England

"I think they should because then people would stop killing people with knives!!!"

Chloe, 13, Shropshire, England

"I don't know. Kids with knives should be punished."

Eleanor, 9, Hauxton, England

"I think that the tougher punishments should be used."

Ashleigh, 13, Granada, Spain

"Definitely YES because they shouldn't be selling them to kids no matter what. It makes me so mad when you see on the news about young people stabbing and in some peoples cases murdering, and yet they think it is so cool. If only they could stand back and think 'Oh my God, look at the trouble I have caused young and old people and their families. Why did I do that??' And so should the shopkeeper because if they hadn't sold that knife then that unfortunate victim wouldn't be in the situation they are in now!"

Danielle, 12, Pembrokeshire, Wales