Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Sign Bennie Hargrove Bill Into Law
Surrounded by lawmakers, law enforcement, and victims of school shootings and their families, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed House Bill 9, otherwise known as the Bennie Hargrove Act into law.
The bill is named after Bennie Hargrove, a 13-year old who attended Washington Middle School in Albuquerque who was shot and killed by another student in 2021.
Bennie was shot after he confronted classmate Juan Saucedo Jr. who had been bullying a fellow student.
Saucedo got the gun because it wasn’t properly stored. The new law makes it a crime of negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor if the person keeps or stores it in a manner that negligently disregards a minor's ability to access the weapon and a minor displays or brandishes the firearm in a threatening manner or causes injury to the minor or another person.
Gov. Lujan Grisham says it was a strong effort by all of those who fight to prevent more such tragedies.
“It takes incredible courage in the face of real grief to be here in this building (Roundhouse) to support courageous lawmakers who are looking at ways to turn the tide to change the circumstances and to be really clear that we have a constitutional right to be safe in our own homes and communities,” she said. “(There) is no easier place to draw that very clear distinction than in schools. I can’t imagine what it’s like to drop a child off at school and not be able to pick them up.”
A person who negligently makes a firearm accessible to a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor unless the child causes great bodily harm or death of another person, in which case the firearm owner is guilty of a fourth degree felony.