NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As part of a statewide tour to raise awareness about New Mexico’s new safe gun storage law, Representative Pamelya Herndon has been touring the state in an effort to educate the community about Bennie’s Law.
“We think this law was very important, that adults should be held responsible if they’re not storing their guns properly,” said Communications Lead Volunteer with Moms Demand Action, Cheryl Haase at Sunday’s event.
This year, Bennie’s Bill was signed into law in New Mexico. The bill makes it a crime to negligently store a firearm and allow a child to misuse the weapon. Now, the representative behind Bennie’s Bill is touring the state to raise awareness and answer questions about the new law.
“What we’re trying to do is to make sure that people understand their responsibility for safely storing their firearms when they are not with it,” said Bernalillo County Representative Pamelya Herndon.
The biggest question Rep. Herndon said she has gotten throughout the tour so far is whether the bill affects a person’s second amendment right.
“What we are trying to do is to make sure people understand that we are not affecting their constitutional rights,” said Rep. Herndon.
The bill comes after what happened in 2021 when a 13-year-old student took his father’s gun and shot 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove outside Washington Middle School.
Herndon added that the bill is already doing what it is supposed to. The most recent person facing charges under Bennie’s Law is 32-year-old Phillip Jaramillo, who was arrested by Roswell police on September 6 for a shooting that left his 10-year-old daughter dead. According to investigators, the girl’s brother and his friend were playing with Jaramillo’s guns when one of them went off, hitting the girl as she slept in the house.
During the event on Sunday, Rep. Herndon explained some of the exceptions. The bill clarifies that if a minor manages to get ahold of a firearm that is in a locked container, then the individual who stored the gun would not be in violation of the bill.
“What we do want to do is to make sure that if any person decides to have a firearm, then you make sure you are responsibly storing that firearm away from minors,” added Rep. Herndon.
Albuquerque was the third stop on Sunday for the tour. According to organizers, more educational events are being scheduled throughout the fall. To learn more about the events, click here.