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Secure storage saves lives. Here’s how New Mexico lawmakers can act this upcoming session.

December 6, 2021

After the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan last week and the horrific shooting of Bennie Hargrove in August, New Mexico leaders and leaders across the country looked to the gun violence prevention movement to see what can be done to prevent school shootings in the future. Secure storage is one of the simplest ways for responsible gun owners and parents  to prevent school shootings, gun suicides, and untentional shootings. Gun safety champions Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto and Rep. Pamelya Herndon spoke with the Washington Post about how this law could save lives in New Mexico and their effort to pass a secure storage bill in the upcoming session. 

On Sunday, the Las Cruces Sun-News published an opinion piece detailing the importance of secure storage legislation to prevent gun violence and protect young people in the state. The piece was authored by Melissa Ontiveros, a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action in New Mexico, and highlights her own experience as a lifelong New Mexican and a leader for gun violence prevention. 

From the piece [emphasis added]:

Today, gun violence in New Mexico is at an all-time high with no signs of slowing. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children, with over 30 children and teens shot and killed every year. New Mexico has the seventh highest rate of gun violence in the country and gun homicide rose nearly 90 percent in the last decade alone.

Most recently, our state was rocked by the death of Bennie Hargrove, a 13-year-old at Washington Middle School who was shot and killed at school by a student who got ahold of his father’s unsecured gun — which never should’ve happened. Bennie’s shooting is a part of a heartbreaking trend — incidents of gunfire on school grounds and unintentional shootings by children are on the rise in New Mexico and across the country. In fact, researchers have tracked the most instances of people shot at school in this year’s back-to-school period since 2013.

Research shows that up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun home — just like the child who shot and killed Bennie Hargrove. We don’t have to live this way — and our children don’t have to die this way. These tragedies are preventable — and it starts with storing firearms securely. States with laws that require secure firearm storage have lower rates of gun violence on school grounds, unintentional shootings, and gun suicides. That’s why we’re urging Las Cruces leaders and Gov. Lujan Grisham to prioritize critical legislation this upcoming session to require firearms to be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.”

The full piece is available here.

This session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are prioritizing passing a secure storage law to prevent school shootings, gun suicides, and untientional shootings. Research shows that when it comes to gun violence on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their own home, a relative’s home, or from friends. Securely storing firearms — locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition —  can help prevent these shootings.

If you are interested in speaking with a volunteer or a gun violence survivor on their advocacy about secure storage this upcoming session, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]