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Thread: anti-sword legislation-please read!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hobart, Australia

    anti-sword legislation-please read!

    It seems that every time the subject of anti-sword legislation (i.e. legislation to ban swords) comes up, I spend hours explaining to people what approach needs to be taken.

    I have spent the last three years actively campaigning against legislation to ban swords. I have taken part in four campaigns (five if you count one to ban armour) and through a process of trial and error have discovered what arguments sway the sort of people who are in favour of, or sponsor this sort of legislation (and more importantly what sort of arguments harden their resolve to ban swords).

    Basically the sword is not a practical weapon in today's society (although like many easily available items it can be used to harm people). Swords are used in a large number of activities in roles other than as a weapon. These roles include Highland dancing, theatre, re-enactment, fencing, antique collecting, martial arts, belly dancing, Sikhs, Masons, Pipe Bands, and others. The sword is not a weapon in modern society. It is a cultural and sporting item that can be misused as a weapon.

    People who want to ban swords are thinking emotionally or reacting to people thinking emotionally. People thinking emotionally aren't swayed by logical arguments, such as the fact that swords aren't used as weapons very often, axes are cheaper and more effective etc. They can be swayed by emotive arguments, and arguments that present swords in a light they didn't expect and/or present them with unintended consequences of a sword ban.

    Essentially any argument that treats swords as weapons will fail. The people who want to ban swords are hoplophobic. That is they are scared of weapons. If you allow them to catalogue swords in their own minds as weapons, then you have lost. Swords = weapons and weapons = bad; end of story.

    What you must do (and I stress that this is not conjecture, it is based on personal experience of putting these arguments to politicians, bureaucrats and the media) is to confront these people with the consequences of a sword ban. I find the best approach is to try to get them off balance by asking why they want to ban Highland dancing and the plays of Shakespeare? They will be expecting something about weapons. To be confronted with a (truthful) claim that their ban will outlaw two perfectly harmless and very constructive activities throws them off balance.

    If you can get the thought in people's heads that swords are items used for harmless and constructive activities and that banning swords will ban these activities then you are most of the way to winning their hearts and minds. Remember that politicians will only enact legislation that they think people want and will gain them votes. If they think they will alienate a large number of voters, they will not legislate to ban swords, or they will bring in some sort of wimpy compromise that appears to ban swords but doesn't (satisfies the voters, but sword owners and police hate it - but at least we get to keep our swords).

    Fighting this sort of legislation requires a bit of a paradigm shift among sword owners. Most of us read our history, which is replete with examples of the sword as a weapon. Treating the sword as something other than a weapon takes a bit of a mental jump. But the sword isn't a weapon in the modern world. Axes were military weapons once, but nobody today considers an axe as a weapon. It is a tool that can be used as a weapon. That is how we have to look at the sword and it is how we have to make others look at it. This is not a lie, or a convenient twisting of the facts, it is the truth. Swords are bought and used as antiques, sporting implements, dance and threatre props, symbolic items for religion and ritual, as decorative items, but not as weapons.

    The current lunacy to demonise weapons will not go away, at least not in a hurry. What we can change is people's perception of individual items as weapons. If you allow people to think of swords as weapons then anti-sword legislation is a danger. You must ensure that people see the sword as a tool used in harmless and constructive activities by worthwhile, law-abiding people. It is the only approach that I am aware of that has met with success.

    Good Luck

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Capital District, NY
    Stephen, your post deserves a bump! If this were, I'd award you a star!
    Jim Mearkle

    Swing low, sweet nebenhut!

    "A sharp point is a peremptory fact, which makes quick work of illusions..."
    Baron de Bazancourt


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