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Easier to buy bullets than Calpol, claims Cumbrian MP

It is tougher to buy children’s medicine than it is to buy bullets, according to a west Cumbrian MP.

Jamie Reed photo
Jamie Reed

Copeland Labour MP Jamie Reed has hit out at the Government’s lack of action to reform gun laws in light of the west Cumbrian shootings of 2010 and Monday’s brutal shootings in County Durham.

Taxi driver Michael Atherton shot and killed his partner Susan McGoldrick, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44 and her niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, before turning the gun on himself.

After Bird murdered 12 victims in June 2010, politicians led a series of debates discussing gun control.

The Home Affairs committee recommended simpler and tighter guidelines, including more police control on granting shotgun licences to former criminals, and suggested consulting partners of applicants.

But David Cameron has not yet made amendments to legislation.

Mr Reed said: “Responsible firearms owners deserve better, but most of all the public deserves better.

“It is still harder to buy Calpol for a poorly child than it is to buy bullets.

“What the motives are behind the prime minister’s refusal to implement sensible change remain to be seen.”

Mr Reed argued that Mr Cameron had left the door open for similar atrocities.

He said: “This latest tragedy has regrettably again demonstrated deficiencies in the law. The need for urgent, sensible change following our own tragedy was obvious.

“This does go straight to the prime minister.

“I have asked him about implementation of the recommendations at Prime Minister’s Questions. As usual, he refuses to engage with the question or give anything like an answer.”

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat party president and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, backed Mr Reed’s call for tighter laws.

He said: “All of the Home Office review into firearms rules must be implemented.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister’s thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected by the tragic events in Horden. No one should be in any doubt the Government’s and prime minister’s first duty and highest priority is the protection of the public.”

Have your say

Mr. Reeds comments are ridiculous and plain wrong. As a firearms licence holder I can safely say that you cannot compare buying ammunition to buying calpol. There are stringent background checks in order to receive a firearms license with strict controls over buying ammunition and other firearms. Mr. Reed needs to get his fact right before he recommends reform. For example, "it emerged that up to 1,500 bullets can be bought in a single transaction", I am licensed to buy 5000, so how can this be correct? However, as a licence holder, I embrace a debate on gun reform, and think it is healthy to question after such tragedies occur. I would welcome more through checks, and consistency from our police forces. For example, I have two licence holder friends who both have 9 points on their driving license residing in different police force catchments. Whilst one has been told they will lose there firearms licence if they receive further points (because id one cannot be trusted with a car, how can they be trusted with a firearm?), and the other has not. More consistency please, and more research needed MPs!

Posted by Ollie on 16 January 2012 at 10:07

Some comments on this page really astound me. Our area knows better than any other how destructive a gun can be in the wrong hands.

OK fair enough, the comment might be a bit wishy-washy at best, but it is solely to highlight the Government's lack of progress with a serious problem.

Admittedly I am not a gun owner and have never attempted to get a licence or buy bullets. However how hard can it actually be? Derrick Bird managed to get through the system. Plus I imagine the point was that you can show a certificate and buy bullets, whereas when buying calpol you at least have to answer a series of questions. Fair enough, outlets might be hard to come by. And how many peole are parents compared to the number of gun owners? Of course more people are going to know where to buy calpol. Ask 10 gun owners where to buy bullets, and I'm sure you'll get 10 answers.

There are also people comparing gun deaths to road deaths and heart attacks due to stress. Seriously? How can you compare natural and accidental deaths to someone being murdered. Death is a fact of life, murder is not.

Mr Reed is simply fighting for a cause he believes in, and one which the entire of our constituency should believe in. How many more Derrick Birds, Raoul Moats and Michael Athertons is it going to take before our Government acts?

Posted by Andrew on 11 January 2012 at 13:23

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