[JURIST] The British government Wednesday announced proposals to stop the manufacture, import, and sale of the majority of replica guns [Home Office press release] available in the UK. The plan is part of the new Violent Crime Reduction Bill [PDF text], legislation that also seeks to raise the age at which a person can purchase a knife from 16 to 18 and reduce alcohol sales to minors. The proposals are in response to an increase in the number of alcohol and weapons related offences and a 66% increase in crimes involving replica guns. Violators will be subject to higher sentences and replica gun manufacturers will be required to produce replicas that cannot be made to shoot live rounds. Gun crime rates are much lower in the UK than in the US but have been rising [Home Office backgrounder] in recent years. BBC News has more.