Following the Bill’s Introduction Moms Demand Action Volunteers Testified in Support and Contacted Lawmakers to Advocate for its Passage
SANTA FE, N.M — New Mexico Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statement, after House lawmakers concurred with Senate Amendments and sent HB-09 to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk. The common-sense gun safety legislation will implement Child Access Prevention (CAP) measures that seek to prevent children from getting access to firearms, promoting responsible gun ownership and preventing unauthorized persons from getting access to a gun.
“This bill has a clear goal – to keep children, parents and New Mexicans safe from gun violence,” said Becky Cox, a volunteer with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This measure is crucial to hold gun owners accountable for failing to protect minors from getting access to guns and keeping our children safe. Common-sense solutions work and we look forward to continuing to partner with lawmakers to fight gun violence at its core. We are proud of our gun sense champions at the legislature for taking steps to keep New Mexico families safe from gun violence.”
These types of secure storage laws are crucial for keeping children and parents safe from gun violence. Under this new provision, gun owners will be held accountable when their guns are not stored securely. Under HB 9, an adult could be charged with a misdemeanor if they negligently stored their firearm, a child then accessed that firearm, and the child displayed or brandished the gun. In addition, a gun owner could be charged with a felony if the child causes harm to themselves or others.
New Mexicans already know how dangerous it can be when children access guns in the home. This bill is also known as the “Bennie Hargrove bill” following an August 2021 incident where 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove was shot and killed by a classmate who brought his parents’ gun to school. Hargrove died trying to de-escalate conflict with the shooter. According to a study of pediatric firearm injuries, nearly 90 percent of unintentional shooting injuries and deaths among children under the age of 15 occur at home. A study on storage practices showed that households that locked both firearms and ammunition had an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children and teenagers than those that locked neither.
In an average year, 492 people die by guns in New Mexico. With a rate of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 people, New Mexico has the 6th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. More information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here.
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have been at the forefront of advocating for secure storage laws Nationwide. To speak to a Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer about our efforts, please reach out to [email protected].