Offensive Weapons Bill

Barriers on selling knives to under 18s online.

Under 18s will face tough new barriers to buying knives online, following the introduction of the Offensive Weapons Bill.

The bill will mean online retailers cannot sell knives online without rigorous age-verification, and will no longer be able to deliver knives to residential addresses or drop-off points. 

The proposed new laws, which combine both devolved and reserved issues around offensive weapons, will also ban the sale of the most dangerous corrosive products to under 18s, and make it an offence to be in possession of a corrosive substance in public.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“I wrote to the UK Government in January 2017 raising concerns about the online sale of knives and the need for a joint approach – I’m glad to see this bill will address these issues and ensure more barriers are put in place to stop young people accessing knives and other offensive weapons online.

“We are resolute in our determination to tackle violent crime, and this bill, on which we have engaged closely with the UK Government, ensures we are going further to prevent incidents with offensive weapons from happening in the first place, as well as future-proofing the law.

“Possession of offensive weapons was down 69% from 2006 to 2016, and we are continuing to work with schools and local authorities on anti-violence campaigns to reduce incidents further.”


The Offensive Weapons Bill will:

  • put new restrictions on those buying knives remotely such as online or by telephone, with retailers having to undertake rigorous age verification
  • stop knives being sent to residential addresses or drop-off points after they are bought remotely
  • ban the possession of certain dangerous corrosive substances in public places
  • ban under 18s from buying the most dangerous corrosive products, like as sulphuric acid (above a certain concentration limit level)
  • ban certain firearms and firearms accessories including bump stocks.

The Bill is a UK Government Bill, but has been developed closely with the Scottish Government for those areas that extend to Scotland. For the areas of the Bill that are devolved, the Scottish Government will be promoting a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament to seek consent for Westminster to legislative on devolved matters.


Media enquiries

Back to top