Published: 03 August 2021
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the recent school incident allegedly involving an offensive weapon procured online (a) whether our current measures are sufficient to restrict juveniles' access to offensive weapons; and (b) over the last three years, what is the number of juveniles who are arrested for possession of offensive weapons.
1. In the past three years, 131 persons under 18 years of age have been arrested for possession of offensive weapons.
2. MHA currently regulates six weapons under the Arms and Explosives Act (AEA) – sword, spear, spearhead, dagger, bayonet and certain dangerous bows and arrows. Persons who handle these weapons are subject to certain safety conditions. For example, sellers must maintain transaction records of such items, and owners of such items must store them securely.
3. In January 2021, MHA introduced the Guns, Explosives and Weapons Control Act (GEWCA), which will replace the AEA when it comes into force in end 2021.
4. Under the GEWCA, the list of regulated weapons will be expanded and subject to greater controls. In determining which items to include, we have to find an appropriate balance, as almost any item can be used as a weapon, including those used in daily life like kitchen knives and choppers.
5. Highly dangerous weapons like guns and explosives must be tightly regulated as they can cause a lot of damage. For other mixed-use items like axes which have normal legitimate uses, we may want to impose some controls, but need to consider carefully exactly what, so that we do not over-regulate.