Father appears in court after son allegedly uses his handgun to kill teen girl

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QUESTA, N.M. — William Brown is the first person to be charged under Bennie’s Law, a new law in New Mexico that holds people accountable when they do not properly store their firearms in a safe space away from children.

The legislation, named after Bennie Hargrove, was drafted after Bennie was shot and killed at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque. Juan Saucedo Jr. is the middle school student charged with Bennie’s murder and reportedly used his father’s gun to shoot Bennie during recess.

Up in Questa, Brown was charged with negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor – the legal name for Bennie’s Law. Police believe Brown’s teenage son used his father’s handgun to shoot and kill a 13-year-old girl.

Brown went before a judge Tuesday.

There are no other details available about how Brown stored his gun. The law says it is not a violation if the gun was “kept in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure when obtained by a minor.”

At the hearing, Brown said nothing – just subtly shook his head – as they discussed barring him from contacting his 14-year-old son. Judge Jeffery Shannon held off on that decision for now, until Brown’s son’s hearing Wednesday.

Brown will not be held in jail, but he is not allowed to have any guns while he waits for trial.