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First Gun Control, Now Knife Control Demand Surfaces In America

There has yet to be a major call for knife control in the United States, it's mainly been an idea legal gun owners have used to accompany the argument that a weapon is not itself responsible for violent crime. However in London, where strict gun control laws are well known, violence by another means has grown has started to grow: stabbings. London's mayor is reacting to the surge with recently announced "knife control" policies. Now, nearly one year after a college student was stabbed to death during a knife attack on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin in Texas, a push for knife control has been started by his mother.Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

There has yet to be a major call for knife control in the United States, it's mainly been an idea legal gun owners have used to accompany the argument that a weapon is not itself responsible for violent crime. However in London, where strict gun control laws are well known, violence by another means has grown has started to grow: stabbings.

London's mayor is reacting to the surge with recently announced "knife control" policies. Now, nearly one year after a college student was stabbed to death during a knife attack on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin in Texas, a push for knife control has been started by his mother.

The murder rate in London surpassed New York City in February for the first time in the modern era (The Times of London, April 2018). The city's notorious restrictive gun control laws (handguns are banned and most police officers do not carry guns) received publicity during terror attacks in which the perpetrators stabbed their defenseless victims, which included unarmed police officers in some cases.

While shootings have declined greatly in London since 2003, murders have noticeably increased in the last 4 years. The Times of London reports that the murder rate has gone up nearly 40% since 2014. Meanwhile, New York City's murder rate has dropped nearly 90% since 1990.

While New York City has more restrictive gun control laws than most U.S. cities, most citizens are able to own a gun with a license. As the BBC reports, it is much tougher to own a gun in London, and by design. (BBC, Nov. 2010)

Deadly stabbings in London have caused the U.K. capital's murder rate to surge past New York for the first time since the early 1800's. London reported 30 murders by stabbing for the year by April 1, with more murders happening there than in NYC in both February and March.

Police in the U.K. are currently blaming social media for the surge in violence (Evening Standard, April 2018), but the Mayor of London used social media just two weeks ago to proclaim that no one in London will be allowed to carry knives, and announced a comprehensive series of knife control programs.

While London goes full speed ahead with knife control, the push for knife control in the U.S. has started with one case in Texas.

The mother of a UT-Austin student who was stabbed to death last May is pushing Texas Governor Greg Abbott to lead the charge against knives. She's calling for stopping state laws that could ease restrictions on where people can carry knives like the one used in the UT-Austin attack.

The mother says that she met with policy-makers with Governor Brown and told an Austin television news reporter that, “I have nothing to lose. I will not take ‘no’ for an answer."

Back in London, the push for knife control has been underway for a few years. A top doctor in the United Kingdom has called for the ban of all pointed kitchen knives, citing the statistic that kitchen knives were used in about 85% percent of stabbing deaths by August of last year.

Dr John Crichton, the new chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, says that switching to kitchen knives with rounded points could save lives. As of four years ago lawmakers in the United Kingdom did not give Crichton's proposal much support, but in light of recent events, anything is possible.

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