The Home Secretary should tighten gun laws in this Queen's speech - Yvette Cooper

Yvette CooperYvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“The Home Secretary should tighten gun laws in the Queen's Speech. People with a history of domestic violence should not be allowed to own guns. The Coroner in the Atherton case was right to call for ‘root and branch’ reform of gun licensing.

“Bobby Turnbull has been campaigning for tighter restrictions on gun ownership after the tragedy that hit his family. Atherton had a history of domestic violence and he should never have been given a gun. Yet the existing licencing framework is much too weak on domestic violence and too variable in the way it is enforced.

"That's why Theresa May should take the chance of the Queen's Speech to tighten the restrictions and legislate to reduce the chance of similar tragedies if future.

“What the Turnbull family have had to go through is harrowing and I pay tribute to them for taking this campaign forward."

Ends

Notes:

The story of Bobby Turnbull's campaign to address present weaknesses in the gun licensing regime is highlighted here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21715622

 

Within a Police Reform, Criminal Assets and Prevention of Crime Bill that Labour's Home Affairs team would introduce in this Queen's speech would be a significant tightening of gun licensing to prevent those with a history of domestic violence being allowed to renew shotgun licenses with seeming impunity.

Problem

-          We have some of the toughest gun laws in the world, but there are weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed. Only 0.2% of shotgun renewals are declined, the 200-page guidance for issuing licences only mentions domestic violence as an example of anti-social behaviour, and there are inconsistencies between handguns and shot guns. Tragic cases have exposed weaknesses, including the Atherton case where the killer was given back his gun licences despite a history of domestic abuse and other violence

-          The law is currently not as effective as it should be to prevent organised criminals keeping and utilising stolen money and the profits of crime. We need to seize more money and assets from criminals.

-          The Government’s police reform is chaotic and confused. This Bill would improve public confidence and police reform in two key areas – private sector contracts, including ruling out privatising neighbourhood patrols, and introducing a new Police Standards Authority to replace the IPCC, which only 19% of people surveyed were ‘very confident’ in.

Proposals for strengthened gun laws

-          Legislating to ensure a history of domestic violence prevents people from owning firearms

-          Legislate for clearer cost recovery for police forces issuing gun licences

-          Legislating to set out clear guidelines on issues related to alcohol, drugs and mental health