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Government exploring toughening crossbow rules

A call for evidence has been launched to ask whether current crossbow laws need to be strengthened, as the government continues action to prevent violence

Under current legislation, it is illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase or possess a crossbow, and anyone who carries a crossbow in public without reasonable excuse faces up to four years behind bars.

The government is considering going further, launching a call for evidence to ask whether these rules are tough enough. Strengthened rules could include a licensing scheme to protect public safety police checks for anyone looking to purchase a crossbow. 

This would mean that crossbows are policed under regulations similar to that of firearms.

Safeguarding Minister, Laura Farris said:  

Crossbows are used rarely in violent crime in this country but they can be highly dangerous. 

We’re doing all we can to ensure we have the appropriate measures in place against any risks these potentially dangerous weapons may pose. 

I encourage the public and those in the industry to come forward to share their views so we can have the most accurate picture and take any necessary action to keep our streets safe. 

Whilst crossbow incidents are rare – there were fewer than 10 homicides by crossbow between 2011 and 2021 – it is clear that when used as a weapon, crossbows do pose a risk and the government is determined to ensure any needed safeguards are in place to keep the public safe.

Today’s announcement comes after former Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, commissioned a review on controls following the incident at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day in 2021 where a 19-year-old man was arrested on the grounds of the castle allegedly carrying the weapon. Following his arrest, Jaswant Singh Chail was sentenced to nine years in prison with a further five years on extended licence. 

The call for evidence builds on the government’s work to prevent serious violence and stop weapons ending up in the hands of criminals, and follows last month’s announcement that zombie-style knives and machetes will be banned.  

Through the Criminal Justice Bill, the government will give the police more powers to seize knives and increases prison sentences for anyone selling knives to anyone under 18 or possessing a banned weapon.  

Today’s call for evidence will last 8 weeks to allow time to gather information which will then be considered by the Home Office as it assesses the need for further tightening of controls on weapons.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-exploring-toughening-crossbow-rules

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