Governor signs House Bill 9, the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today signed House Bill 9, the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act, which prevents gun violence by requiring gun owners to keep firearms safely stored. The legislation is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, and Reps. Pamelya Herndon, Patricia Roybal Caballero, and Joanne J. Ferrary.
“Today, New Mexico is making it clear that responsible gun ownership is the law of the land,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This bill is about keeping New Mexicans safe by requiring gun owners to take reasonable steps to secure their weapons – plain and simple.”
“I am so proud and grateful that New Mexico is passing this bill in Bennie’s name. It means a lot to our family. This bill’s purpose follows Bennie’s spirit in trying to protect young children and to save lives” said Vanessa Sawyer, grandmother of Bennie Hargrove. “I am forever grateful to the New Mexico Legislature, Governor Lujan Grisham, Mayor Keller, and Representative Pamelya Herndon for passing this bill and all the hard work over the last two years to get to this signing.”
“Unsafe firearm storage is a threat to New Mexico’s public safety, to our public health, to the bright futures within each youth” said Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart. “Bennie’s Bill codifies what most gun owners already practice, the responsible storage of firearms which protect their children, their families, and their community from immeasurable tragedy. I would like to thank Representative Pamelya Herndon, our fellow cosponsors, and Governor Lujan Grisham for their leadership and vision for a safer New Mexico.”
“No family should have to go through what Bennie Hargrove’s family experienced. This bill is about taking commonsense steps to protect our kids from gun violence and tragic accidents,” said Rep. Pamelya Herndon. “I am so grateful to the survivors who have championed this bill and to everyone who helped honor Bennie’s legacy by getting this bill across the finish line.”
“House Bill 9 is the product of collaboration across chambers, communities, ideologies, and industries to safeguard New Mexicans’ liberties and lives” said Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. “As gun owners already know, personal responsibility and situational awareness is vital to keeping firearms safe. Safe storage and ease of access are not mutually exclusive, and House Bill 9 gives gun owners the freedom and leeway they need to determine how to best secure their firearms.”
“We can prevent future tragedies by holding adults accountable for safely and responsibly storing their firearms,” said Rep. Joanne Ferrary. “Bennie’s Bill becoming law will make our families and communities safer across New Mexico.”
House Bill 9 creates the crime of negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor if the person keeps or stores a firearm in a manner that negligently disregards a minor’s ability to access the firearm and a minor accesses the firearm and displays or brandishes the firearm in a threatening manner or causes injury to the minor or another person. 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.