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Gun law: Survivor of massacre calls for legal reform

A teenage girl who survived a shooting massacre in County Durham on New Year's Day has called for the laws on possession of firearms to be reviewed.

Laura McGoldrick, who is 19, narrowly avoided death herself after her stepfather went on the rampage with a shotgun. Her mother, aunt and cousin were all killed in the attack.

Miss McGoldrick recalled the harrowing events of that day as part of an interview with a national newspaper. She described the moment she tried to call out to her mother to warn her that her stepfather had a gun and meant to kill her.

Unfortunately she was unable to get the words out in time, and was forced to watch as her mother was killed. The teenager suffered injuries as shot discharged from the gun sprayed her as well.

The gunman, 42-year-old taxi driver Michael Atherton Snr, turned the shotgun on himself after killing three members of the same family. Miss McGoldrick, her boyfriend Myren Grant, and her stepbrother Michael all escaped the attack by climbing out of a window.

"I am surprised he didn't come after me; I'm very lucky to escape. He would definitely have killed me if he had the chance," said Miss McGoldrick.

Miss McGoldrick described her father-in-law as a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" character who seemed to have "several personalities". She also revealed he had a history of violence towards her mother prior to the fatal attack.

She called on legislators to review the gun laws which allow people to keep firearms like shotguns at home, following a very basic background check.

Often licences are renewed as a matter of course, and very little is done to check on the mental health of those who carry firearms licences, beyond a background medical check and a character reference. Often much of the focus in the initial assessment is on whether the gun is secure in the house and kept in a locked cabinet.

"There is no need for people to have guns in their houses. People's backgrounds should be checked better," she added.

Do you think that UK gun laws should be reformed? Leave a comment below.

Related links:

Read more on the story (Press Association)

Gun crime (FindLaw)

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