A son whose family was gunned down in a bloody massacre has accused the Prime Minister of blocking his bid to hike up the cost of gun licences.
Bobby Turnbull’s mum, Alison Turnbull, 44, sister Tanya, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47, were murdered in Peterlee, County Durham, on New Year’s Day in 2012 by Michael Atherton.
Atherton who had a history of violence, but had still been allowed a gun licence then turned his shotgun on himself.
Now Bobby is calling for a hike in the cost of a firearms licence to provide more money for stretched police forces to pay for background checks into owners.
The cost of a shotgun licence has remained at £50 since 2002 yet it costs nearly £200 to process each licence leaving taxpayer-funded police forces to make up the £150 difference. In total, police are paying an estimated £17 million a year on the subsidy.
The Association of Chief Police Officers wants the licence fee to rise to pay for more stringent checks on applicants.
Bobby’s campaign is also backed by shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, and the Gun Control Network, which successfully bid for a handgun ban after the Dunblane massacre.
But he claims David Cameron, who enjoys pheasant shooting, is understood to have intervened to stop a hike in the cost of licences.
Bobby, 25, said: “It is a disgrace. This has had support from police forces and shadow ministers and even Government ministers have agreed to this.
“But the Prime Minister is blocking it. He’s a keen shooter himself and seems to be looking after his own interests and the interests of his mates.”
Bobby, a groundsman from Blackhall, County Durham, and members of the Gun Control Network also lobbied policing minister Damian Green, who is understood to support their campaign. But the proposals were blocked after being referred to a cabinet committee.
The campaigners have arranged to meet Home Office Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker to press their case. Mr Baker has said the cost of firearm licensing should be “appropriate and fair”.
Gill Marshall-Andrews, chairman of the GCN, said: “The fee for a shotgun licence has not gone up since 2002.
“It is a glaring wrong and something that needs to be put right.”
The shooting lobby claims the cost of a licence needs to be reduced and have proposed for licences to be renewed every 10, instead of five, years. They argue sports shooting injects millions into the economy.
But Diana Johnson MP, the shadow police and crime minister, said: “At the moment the annual cost of a firearms licence is just a third of that of a fishing licence.
“This means the police spend £17m a year of tax-payers’ money on gun licences. This money could put hundreds of police officers back on our streets, but David Cameron would rather spend it subsidising his friends in the shooting community.”
A Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has sympathy with any victim of gun crime and wants to make sure gun controls are as robust as possible to protect the public.”
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