[Editor’s note: this perspective on British knife laws comes from a reader with experience on both sides of the pond. It was originally submitted as a comment to the UK Knife Laws: Hoplophobia Defined but it was just too interesting and informative to leave it languishing there.]
I’ll start by stating I am a licenced gun owner and have collected blades off and on for most of my adult life.
I have worked in security in the UK for 3 years. My experience stems from the court system, and I have seen the worst examples of what people can become.
I lived in the U.S. for about 5 years, but over here we have a certain element of society that does not seem to have a counterpart in the US. They go by the names of “Chavs”, “Neds” etc. They come about from demented generations of parental unemployment and drug abuse (generally heroin). They most often come from “housing Estates/Schemes” (Projects) and are usually dressed in hoodies and track suits. And their attitudes towards everyone is that of a predator.
You can go out minding your own business and get stabbed for no apparent reason than they just thought it was fun. They do not think like normal human beings and have no respect for anyone apart from their own social hierarchy. They are not like American gangs, in that they operate not for drug profits but for the buzz of the act. This has led to a knife crime problem, as that is their preferred tool (with locking blades being the most popular).
Now most of the laws here relate to carrying a knife “with undue reason” in a public place. Not all knives are banned from sale: just look on any UK web site where knives are for sale to see what you can get.
Now what is really sh***y over here is we are NOT allowed to adequately defend ourselves from attackers, as we are expected to use ‘equal force’ against the attacker. I mean when the **** has that ever worked?
I have lived and worked in both countries and the UK is way more physically violent. In the US, people assume that you are either armed or have a real good lawyer so for the most part you can just keep your self to your self and be ok.