Austria is set to ban migrants from owning knives as figures showed the number of attacks using stabbing and slashing weapons in the country has almost doubled over the past five years.
Proposed amendments to the country’s weapons law would extend the prohibition on non-EU migrants owning firearms, introduced in 2016, to bladed weapons — with the exceptions of hunting and kitchen knives.
The significant rise in knife violence and deadly attacks means the government must take action, said Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, stating: “That is why the ban on weapons for asylum seekers or those entitled to asylum will in the future not only include firearms but all forms of weapons.”
Federal Criminal Police Office figures show the number of attacks using bladed weapons has been steadily on the rise, with the 676 incidents recorded in 2013 increasing to 1,030 last year — 635 of which were perpetrated by migrants, Der Standard reports.
Set to come into effect on January 1, 2019, the ban on most non-European migrants owning and carrying knives is part of a package of amendments to Austria’s weapons law designed to bring it into line with a new European Union firearms directive.