§ 36 and 37. Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he is aware that, owing to the serious injuries which spring-clip knives can inflict and the menace of their sale, the New York Penal Law, Section 1, 896, has made it a criminal offence for any person to offer, sell, loan or give to any person any knife which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing similar legislation;
(2) whether he is aware that renewed anxiety has occurred in consequence of the killing of a person by a boy 16 years of age by the use of a spring-clip knife, which boy was found guilty of manslaughter; and whether he will introduce legislation, similar to that contained in the penal law of New York, whereby a person who offers, sells, loans, leases, or gives, to any child under the age of 16 years any spring-clip knife or any other dangerous knife or any gun, revolver, or pistol, inter alia, is guilty of a misdemeanour.
§ Major Lloyd-George
I am aware of the public anxiety arising from the use of spring-clip knives, and I am considering whether it would be possible to take any effective action to keep them out of the hands of young persons.
§ Mr. Janner
Whilst I am very much obliged to the Home Secretary for at long last realising that something should be done about this matter, may I ask if he will say in respect of the first Question I asked whether he is satisfied or has made any inquiries to satisfy himself as to the effectiveness of the legislation at present in force in New York? In regard to the second Question, would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman be good enough to realise that these "flick" knives can be used for no other than criminal purposes? Even if he is not actually an accessory to attempts to murder, at least he is putting some kind of instrument into the hands of youngsters which ought never to be allowed there under any circumstances.
§ Major Lloyd-George
It is not as easy as the hon. Member makes it appear. There are things like sheath knives worn by Boy Scouts and all sorts of weapons which might be lethal but which are essential to ordinary trade. At the moment, I am having a study made of the New York legislation on the "flick" knife, but I would remind the hon. Member that such knives are greatly used by fishermen and others for legitimate purposes.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Would it be possible for the Home Secretary to consult the President of the Board of Trade to try to stop the import of these knives, which come mainly, I believe, from Italy? That seems the simplest way out of the problem.