Commons to debate gun laws

Grahame Morris MP. Below (left to right) victims Alison Turnbull, Tanya Turnbull and Susan McGoldrick
Grahame Morris MP. Below (left to right) victims Alison Turnbull, Tanya Turnbull and Susan McGoldrick

THE family of the Horden gun massacre victims could receive answers on the tragedy within weeks as a key report is due shortly.

Easington MP Grahame Morris secured a debate in the House of Commons on firearms controls.

It followed the New Year’s Day tragedy in Horden that saw Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, gunned down by Ms McGoldrick’s partner Michael Atherton, 42, before he turned the gun on himself.

The victims’ family, including Ms Turnbull’s son, Bobby, have since been campaigning for stricter gun controls.

Mr Morris, who is working with the family, said during a Commons debate: “A public debate on firearms is still needed, and the time is right for the public and Parliament to consider whether the current level of protection is adequate.”

He said current gun laws consist of 34 separate pieces of legislation, which is difficult and complex for the police and public to “navigate”.

Police and criminal justice minister Damian Green said: “One of the most important points raised by the Hon Gentleman (Mr Morris) was about the need for medical checks on those who have access to firearms.”

He added that the findings of the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the tragedy was due soon, saying: “I understand that there have been complexities with the IPCC investigation, although it is working through those matters as fast as possible and the investigation is now close to completion. The final report is now being finalised and it will be shared with the families.”

Atherton had licences for three shotguns, but it emerged they were removed by Durham Police in 2008 after alleged threats to harm himself, though they were later returned to him.