Owners of some weapons, including zombie knives and knuckledusters, could face a jail sentence if found with them under a new law.
It was already illegal to possess a knife or offensive weapon in public, but the Offensive Weapons Act – which became law on Wednesday – makes it unlawful to possess certain rapid firing rifles, specific types of knives and other offensive weapons in private.
The list includes zombie knives, cyclone knives, knuckledusters, death star knives, flick knives, gravity knives, batons, disguised knives, push daggers and other offensive weapons.
Anyone unlawfully possessing a firearm covered by the ban will face up to 10 years in prison, and anyone who owns another weapon covered could face up to six months behind bars and a fine.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has warned that anyone found with the weapons will “face the full force of the law”.
She said: “Lives have been lost through serious violence, and this ban will help save lives by getting more knives and other weapons off the streets and out of the hands of violent criminals.
“The human suffering and hurt caused by the tragic loss of life through violent crime is unacceptable, which is why the Government will stop at nothing to give the police the powers needed to stop violent crime and protect the public.
“From today, anyone possessing one of these deadly weapons unlawfully will face the full force of the law.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife crime, deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty, said the Act will make it harder for young people to get hold of weapons.
“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act,” he said.
“These measures will help officers to seize more dangerous weapons, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.”
From December last year until March, the Government collected 14,965 knives and offensive weapons surrendered by owners as part of a scheme allowing them to claim compensation in the exchange.
More than 32,000 items of ancillary equipment were handed over, along with 1,133 “rapid fire” firearms, with the Home Office processing 829 compensation claims.
Another legal amendment, the Antique Firearms Regulations 2021, has also provided the first legal definition of an ‘antique firearm’ to prevent criminals gaining weapons for illegal uses.
This means owners of firearms which are no longer classed as antiques have until September 22 this year to apply to police for a firearms certificate which will allow them to own the weapons legally, or surrender them.