British crossbow rules in reticle after Windsor Castle breach
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LONDON – Crossbow regulations in Britain come under renewed attention after a man was apprehended with one of them on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where members of the Royal Family had gathered for the Christmas holidays.
“We are considering options to tighten crossbow controls,” a spokesperson for the UK Home Office said in a statement on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing review of lethal weapons rules ordered this year by Priti Patel, the Minister of the Interior.
The in-depth examination comes days after an intruder entered the grounds of the castle on Christmas morning. A 19-year-old man was arrested “on suspicion of an offense or trespassing in a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon”, according to the police, while Queen Elizabeth II was at the scene with others members of the royal family.
The British monarch had celebrated the holiday at Windsor Castle instead of his estate in Sandringham, Norfolk, as is his usual practice. Buckingham Palace said the move was a “precautionary approach” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The arrested man, whom the police refused to identify, did not enter any building and endanger the royal family. But police said they found a crossbow after searching it, adding that it was being treated by medical professionals receiving treatment for mental health issues.
Under current legislation, crossbows can be purchased over the counter or over the Internet by people over the age of 18. Owners do not need a license or certificate to use the guns, and unlike shotguns and firearms, the police do not have an official record of who owns them and how many are in circulation.
Detectives said they were reviewing a video as part of the investigation, Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Monday, but declined to give further details.
Controls on weapons such as crossbows aroused particular concern in 2018 after a Briton broke into a neighbor’s house in East Yorkshire, killed him with a crossbow and injured his pregnant partner. In a 2021 report investigating the man’s death, a county coroner called on senior police officials, including Ms Patel, to review legislation regulating the purchase and possession of crossbows.
“Evidence has been heard on the potency and lethal capabilities of these weapons, as well as the fact that they are essentially silent,” Coroner Professor Paul Marks said in the report.
“In my opinion,” he added, “there is a risk that future deaths will occur if action is not taken. “
The Home Office said work to revise the law was continuing after the East Yorkshire episode, adding that it was already illegal to own arrows or possess offensive weapons in public spaces. ” without valid reason or legal authority “.
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