MPS look set to vote for new gun law legislation on back of Horden massacre

Grahame Morris MP.
Grahame Morris MP.

MPs could get to vote next month on whether new legislation should be introduced after the New Year’s Day shooting that saw three members of a family shot dead.

Easington MP Grahame Morris called for the Westminster Hall debate which comes after Alison Turnbull, 44, Tanya Turnbull, 24, and Susan McGoldrick, 47, were shot dead by Susan’s partner, Michael Atherton, 42, before he turned the gun on himself.

The inquest into the deaths, in Horden on New Year’s Day last year, heard that Atherton was granted a gun licence despite a history of domestic violence against Ms McGoldrick.

The Government announced earlier in the summer that Home Office guidance was being introduced to gather evidence of domestic abuse, a move which campaigner Bobby Turnbull, who lost his mother and sister in the attack, says does not go far enough.

Mr Morris says he welcomes the Government’s proposals to revise the existing guidelines for police when issuing gun licences, but he wants legislation put in place as it would be mandatory as the guidance is not.

At the debate yesterday the Shadow Policing Minister David Hanson said Labour will propose a motion to alter a clause in the Anti-social Behavour, Crime and Policing Bill that is currently going through Parliament, which is centred around granting gun licences to people involved in domestic violence cases.

If the motion to alter Clause 4 of the Bill goes ahead then MPs will vote on whether it should be introduced into the law.

Mr Morris said the Policing Minister Damian Green praised Bobby Turnbull, who he has met several times, for his campaign to get the issue in the spotlight.

He said Mr Green refused the proposal to introduce new legislation and said the introduction of the new police guidance would be sufficiant.

Mr Morris said: “It seems to me that this tragedy can still happen today.

“There is this Bill going through Parliament and it is an opportune moment.

“The Bill comes back in October and there will be a debate and look at the clauses. They will move this ammendment and presumable the Government will resist it and there will be a vote.

“I can’t claim final victory because the Governemnt is not going to change legislation. But here has certainly been some progress.”

The debate heard that in some areas of the country one in five police calls related to domestic violence.

Also in 2011/12 there were 88 women killed by their partner, while around one in three are shot by a legally-held firearm.

Mr Morris added: “Some of the Tory MPs were saying that it is only a small percentage.

“But for Bobby Turnbull and his family it is not a small number.

“I dont think you can negate it saying it is a small number.”