County Durham campaigner Bobby Turnbull, whose mother and sister were murdered by Michael Atherton with his own gun despite having a history of domestic violence, has written to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of the committee of the Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill to urge them to support Labour’s amendment to ban gun licenses from those with a violent history.
Voting on these new clauses / amendments will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 9 July 2013)
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, said:
“What happened to Bobby’s family should never be allowed to happen again. People with a history of domestic violence should not be given a gun license and the whole licensing regime needs to be much tougher.
“The Turnbull family have suffered unbelievable tragedy due to failures in the system and their campaign deserves our support. Police forces need to follow best practice and we do need national guidelines but that is not enough. We need the law to be changed too. That's why we are putting forward proposals in Parliament this week to toughen up the law on guns based on Bobby campaign.
“Bobby Turnbull and his family deserve our support and we must do everything we can to prevent this happening to other families.”
Shadow Labour Home Office Minister Diana Johnson MP said:
“The recent cases of Michael Atherton and Derek Bird, along with the recent Home Affairs Select Committee report, have all shown the need to make the first radical changes to firearms laws since the ban on handguns.
“We need to balance the legitimate rights of those requiring access to guns, such as farmers and sportspeople, with public safety. We need to do much more to stop firearms ending up in the dangerous hands of those with a history of mental illness, drug abuse or domestic violence.
“At a time of 20% policing cuts and tight public finances, it’s also vital that the true cost of having a proper firearms licensing regime can be recovered. The police and tax-payers cannot afford to continue subsidising firearms ownership to the tune of £18m a year.”
-Amendments introducing New Clauses 5 & 6 to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill would ban anyone with a history of domestic abuse from being granted a gun license.
-These are the first major changes to firearms legislation since Labour introduced the handguns ban in 1997
-Shooting is a legitimate sport and makes an important economic contribution, but we have to balance this with public safety
-Recent cases, including Michael Atherton and Derek Bird and reports from the Durham Coroner, the IPCC and Home Affairs Select Committee show the need for reform
-We need to prevent people with history of domestic violence, alcohol/drug abuse and other violent conduct and mental health problems from accessing firearms.
- We also need to address cost, can’t be right for police to spent £18m a year on firearms licenses when 15,000 police are being lost