Re: Practical self-defense in the UK - a question

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Tue Jan 23 2001 - 06:34:53 MST

On Mon, Jan 22, 2001 at 09:12:13PM -0000, Russell Whitaker wrote:
> Someone offlist who might be able to help you is my friend
> Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance UK; his email
> address:

> >From: "scerir" <>
> >estropico wrote:
> > > Given the ban on handguns in the UK,
> > > does anyone know what one is allowed to
> > > carry, without breaking the law?

The general rule is, you are not allowed to carry a weapon for purposes of
using it on someone (whether in defense or offense makes no difference).

However, if you have a non-combative reason, you can carry most anything
that isn't banned outright. For example, live-action roleplay people or
Sealed Knot (civil war re-enactment) types get to carry axes, swords and
muskets in public. There _is_ a requirement that the items should not
be ready for use; if carried by hand, use a kit-bag, if in a vehicle,
put then in the boot (ObUS: trunk).

The cops will take an extremely dim view of any kind of knife with a
blade more than three inches long unless you've got a good excuse (it's
a chef's knife and you're taking it home from the shops/on your way to
a friend's dinner party/etcetera), but penknives and leatherman-type
multitools are fine. They might raise an eyebrow at your 6 D-cell maglite
if you're carrying it around in the morning, but keeping one in your
car or carrying one at night is fine unless you give them reason to
believe that your main motive for carrying it is as a weapon instead of
a torch. And so on.

Tasers and pepper spray are illegal (although in Scotland the Police use
pepper spray -- go figure).

It is an _extremely_ bad idea to carry a replica gun of any kind in
public, because someone will call the police and their tactical firearms
teams will assume that it is a real gun until proven otherwise. And
unlike the majority of armed cops, these guys are specialist marksmen
and will shoot to kill if they think there's a danger to the public.

-- Charlie

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:24 MDT