Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Ban this lethal weapon: victim's mother

THE mother of an Antrim teenager who lost her sight in one eye after she was struck in the face by a pellet fired from a BB gun, has backed calls for the potentially dangerous 'toys' to be swept from the shelves.

THE mother of an Antrim teenager who lost her sight in one eye after she was struck in the face by a pellet fired from a BB gun, has backed calls for the potentially dangerous 'toys' to be swept from the shelves.

Last week councillor Paul Michael, a member of the Northern Ireland international shooting squad, launched a blistering attack on the legal loophole which allows the weapons to be purchased legally over the counter by anyone.

He said that he was alarmed that many were capable of firing ball bearings at a terrifying velocity - particularly at a time when they have been linked to a string of 'shootings' across the borough.

"I believe it's time that new restrictions are put in place before a child is blinded," said the UUP man.

But while he sets his sights on changing the lax legislation, any breakthrough will come too late for one local girl.

She was just 17 when she was seriously wounded by a BB gun in Antrim last July - and her family are still coming to terms with her injuries.

"My daughter was shot in the face and she has lost the sight in her left eye," said her mum.

"Her vision is gone and it won't come back. Almost one year on we are still running back and forward to the hospital.

"The pellet is still lodged behind her eye because the surgeons believe it's too dangerous to remove.

"It will have to come out eventually, but I think they're still trying to figure out how.

"In the meantime, we have been told to keep a close eye on her and to rush her in if she has any fits or anything like that."

The local woman added that she shared Mr Michael's concerns about the ready availability of the weapons.

"If anyone saw what this did to my daughter they couldn't seriously try and argue that these are toys," she said.

"What started out as a silly game cost a young girl her sight. That's the sort of thing that's at stake here."

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