New Mexico lawmaker introduces gun safety bill

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SANTA FE, N.M. – As the legislative session approaches on Tuesday, one of New Mexico’s lawmakers hopes her bill – aimed at preventing school shootings – gets considered.

KOB 4’s Kai Porter explains what the bill would do – and why the lawmaker introducing it says it will save lives.

Bennie Hargrove was just 13 when he was shot and killed at Washington Middle School in August. The suspect, a classmate, allegedly took his father’s gun to school.

That’s why state Rep. Pamelya Herndon – a Democrat from Albuquerque – is introducing the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act.

"This bill is directed at making sure that we’re keeping our children safe while they’re in school. So when our children go to school, we don’t want them to worry about will they be able to come home because there’s been some shooting or some other violent act involving guns," said Herndon.

Here’s what the bill would do: if a parent or guardian doesn’t securely store their gun away from children and a child uses that gun to commit a crime, the parent or guardian could face criminal charges, ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony.

"So for example, if a minor accesses a gun, brandishes it, takes it into a place where they shouldn’t be taking it and causing a lot of mayhem, then what we are asking for is a $1,000 penalty and a misdemeanor, because no one has lost their life. But when there is the loss of life involved with a firearm that has not been stored securely, we’re saying it’s your gun your responsibility and you will be responsible for the penalty that incurred and the penalty that we’re looking at is a 4th degree penalty, a 4th degree felony," said Herndon.

This year’s session is a short 30-day one, that means lawmakers can only consider bills that the governor chooses if they’re not related to the budget.

Herndon said she’s hopeful the bill will be considered.

"So we hope that in the end we’re going to see on Tuesday when we open up the legislative session that she’s going to say I support the Bennie Hargrove Safe Gun Act legislation."