NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – There’s a push for gun safety in the state. Now, a bill that would hold parents accountable if their child kills someone with their gun is on the brink of becoming state law.

In August 2021, Bennie Hargrove was killed at Washington Middle School by a student who brought his dad’s gun to school. Because of this, lawmakers introduced House Bill 9.

“These child access prevention laws do work, 23 states have them including our neighbor, Texas,” said Senator Mimi Stewart (D – Albuquerque), current President Pro Tempore on Senate floor.

Clearing a major hurdle on the Senate floor Friday, the bill that would hold parents responsible if their child uses a gun in the commission of a crime, or if the child hurts or kills someone with that gun.

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“Last year, we saw more gun violence. We saw more suicides with children who had access to guns, and we saw more, more children having access to even accidental shootings because they did have access to those firearms,” said Representative Pamelya Herndon (D- Albuquerque), who is the sponsor of the bill.

The bill makes it so that parents are responsible for securing their firearms, either by locking them up, or keeping them where “a reasonable person would believe them to be secure.”

That determination of what’s “reasonable” would be up to the district attorney.

The bill has seen some changes since arriving in the Senate, including an exemption if a parent gives a child permission to use a gun for hunting or other recreational activities.

“The young person who did something improper would be punished accordingly, but to punish the parent for something that is inadvertent is just not reasonable,” said Senator Steven Neville (R – Aztec).

Representative Herndon said she wants to get the word out about the soon-to-be law, in the hope it will inspire parents to take a hard look at gun safety in their homes.

“I just want people to become aware of, we don’t want to pass a piece of legislation, and then it now sits in the books, and no one ever knows about it until there is another incident that requires that piece of legislation to be utilized.”

The House already approved the bill, but it has to go back one more time for House members to approve the Senate’s changes, then it heads to the governor’s desk

The governor released a statement in support of the bill, saying she plans to sign it once it makes it to her desk.