Son steps up his campaign on gun laws

Alison Turnbull with son Bobby
Alison Turnbull with son Bobby

THE son of a massacre victim will meet with a top politician next week as he pushes forward with his campaign for stricter gun laws.

Bobby Turnbull will travel to London for a meeting with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper at the Houses of Parliament.

Bobby, 24, of Blackhall, hopes the meeting on Wednesday, will help him make great strides in influencing decisions on tightening gun controls, particularly where applicants have a history of domestic violence.

It follows last year’s shooting tragedy in Horden, which saw taxi driver Michael Atherton, 42, shoot dead his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, Bobby’s mother, and Alison’s daughter Tanya Turnbull, 24, before turning the gun on himself.

Bobby and his family have already been praised for helping to bring about change after Home Secretary Theresa May outlined proposed changes to gun legislation which could see people wanting to own guns having to show that their partner supports their application, to reduce the risk to domestic violence victims.

Bobby said: “I will be discussing my campaign and current gun laws and will obviously be bringing up the issue of domestic violence.

“I’m looking forward to hearing what Ms Cooper has to say, to give her my ideas and to see what she could put in place if she ever came into power.

“I’m looking forward to getting my point across and can’t wait to hear how she can help.”

Atherton had a history of domestic violence and had his weapons removed by police in 2008, but he successfully applied to have them returned.

A spokesman for Ms Cooper said the gun licensing regime does need to be tightened up and that Bobby’s campaign is a very important part of Labour’s campaign.

Bobby’s petition calls for people with criminal convictions, a history of domestic violence, mental instability, or alcohol or other substance abuse, to be barred from owning firearms.

It also wants more rigorous sharing of information between police, licensing authorities and health professionals and for the licensing system to require a good reason for the possession of weapons. It can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41060