The daughter of murdered headteacher Philip Lawrence said Britain's knife culture was "out of control".
As Unity Lawrence, aged 24, spoke out yesterday, a shop assistant in London became the latest stabbing victim. The 19-year-old man is in a critical condition in hospital after being knifed at Wood Green Shopping City on Wednesday night.
Dr Lawrence's father Philip, aged 48, was stabbed to death at the gates of St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, north London, in 1995 as he tried to defend a pupil from a gang of youths.
She said: "The pain never goes away. Knife culture on the streets of many towns in the UK, as seen by recent events, is out of control.
"Why is carrying a knife considered less of a crime than carrying a gun? It's time for the sentences for stabbings to match those for shootings. A life is a life."
Meanwhile Home Secretary John Reid met his ministerial team to discuss knife crime in the wake of a spate of vicious stabbings.
The meeting came amid speculation that Mr Reid was considering increasing the jail term for those caught carrying a knife from two to five years.
Reports have suggested the Government could try to make a late amendment to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill as it goes through the House of Lords.
The Home Office insisted that no decision had been taken, but confirmed that the sentences for knife offences would be looked at by ministers as they "catch up" on what has become a high profile policy area.
"We always keep offensive weapon legislation under review," a spokesman said. "The Government has promised to look at sentencing for knife offences again before the report stage of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill in the Lords. No decision has been made on that."
As it stands, the Violent Crime Reduction Bill will raise the minimum age for buying knives from 16 to 18.
Campaigners want it to go much further and have called for mandatory five year prison sentences for those caught carrying knives without reasonable excuse. They say it is the only way to control Britain's worsening knife culture.
The Conservatives have backed a more stringent approach. They vowed to introduce an amendment - raising the maximum jail sentence for knife carrying to five years - to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, in a bid to get tougher penalties on the statute book.
Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "The fact is the Government have voted against us when we tried to raise the maximum sentence for carrying a knife.
"We hope they will take the opportunity, in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, to toughen up sentences by backing the Conservative amendment which would do exactly that. At the moment they seem more concerned with managing headlines."
Mr Reid is said to be awaiting advice from the Sentencing Guidelines Council before deciding whether to back the move.
Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, went further and gave her support to the idea of mandatory jail sentences.
She highlighted a recent Federation survey of 140,000 police officers, in which almost a third said they had been threatened with a knife in the last two years.
"That's why we need to send out a clear and consistent message - knives are not a fashion accessory," she said.
"It's also imperative that judicial sentences reflect the gravity of the offence of being found in possession of a knife without good reason, which is clearly not the case at the moment."
Britain's most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has also called for mandatory jail terms for those caught carrying knives on the streets.