THE son of a New Year’s Day shooting victim is urging people across the region to back his gun law campaign by signing a petition.

Bobby Turnbull lost his mother, aunt and sister in the tragedy at Horden, near Peterlee, County Durham, on January 1.

Taxi driver Michael Atherton, 42, shot dead his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and her neice Tanya Turnbull, 24, before killing himself.

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Atherton had a history of domestic violence and recent BBC TV documentary, Inside Out, revealed that a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, brands Durham Police's failure to remove Atherton's guns as "inexcusable" and "unacceptable". 

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

It says a marker should be put on gun owners’ medical records so that information on any problems can be shared by the police and health services.

And it calls for a single rigorous licensing system for shotguns and Section 1 firearms that requires a good reason for possession of each weapon.

Mr Turnbull, 24, a golf course green-keeper, of Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, has attracted great support for his petition in East Durham and has now launched an online version.

He hopes to trigger a Parliamentary debate by attracting 100,000 signatures to his petition, which closes next November.

He said: “If we get a debate then hopefully we can change things. I want to try my hardest so that even if there is a slight change in the law then at least I have maybe saved one life.” 

To sign the petition visit