5:07pm Tuesday 18th June 2013
By Gavin Engelbrecht
A RELATIVE of three victims of a shooting massacre has been praised by a Home Office minister for his “dignified campaign” to strengthen British gun laws.
Bobby Turnbull, lost his mother Alison, sister Tanya and aunt Susan McGoldrick, when Michael Atherton killed them in Horden, County Durham, on New Year’s Day last year.
Atherton, who had six legally-owned weapons despite having a history of drunken domestic violence, shot himself in the head.
The 24-year-old’s met with police minister Damian Green in London, days after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released a report calling for sweeping changes to gun laws and national guidance.
These included the requirement for gun owners to declare police cautions and penalty notices when applying for a licence.
And it recommends tighter restrictions around applications for firearms or shotgun certificates where there have been previous allegations of domestic violence or incidents which have not resulted in convictions.
Mr Turnbull said the 45-minute meeting with Mr Green went well.
He said: "I'm not running this campaign for praise for myself. I'm doing it, hopefully, to stop the heartache I've been through happening to another family.
"When you get someone like Damian Green agreeing with you it does make you feel like you're doing something special."
He added: “There are going to be some major changes made and there seems to be a lot going on behind the scenes.
“I would like to see the changes put in place sooner rather than later.”
Mr Green said: “Bobby Turnbull has run a dignified campaign to strengthen the firearms licensing process.
“I was pleased to meet him and update him on progress made so far in improvements to Home Office guidance.
“We are paying particular attention to ensuring intelligence about domestic violence is fully taken into account when police consider firearms licence applications.”
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