School shooting prompts lawmaker to draft gun safety law

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Bennie Hargrove (Courtesy Vanessa Sawyer)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Civil rights organization partners with local lawmaker to push for gun safety legislation after recent Albuquerque middle school shooting killed 13-year-old and another accused of murder.

Harold Bailey, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Albuquerque, joined State Representative Pamelya Herndon, D-Albuquerque, on Saturday to announce the drafting of the Gun Safety Act Bennie Hargrove.

Juan Saucedo Jr., an eighth-grade student at Washington Middle School, is accused of shooting and killing his classmate Hargrove during lunch break on August 13. Authorities said Saucedo Jr. took his father’s gun.

Authorities are investigating whether the father will face charges in the case.

“Bennie was shot not once, not twice, but six times. Could it have been avoided? The answer to that question is absolutely yes, ”Herndon said at a press conference at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Albuquerque. “All we ask is that the people who decide and determine that they want to have control of a handgun, or any type of weapon, that you control it in a safe and secure manner. …

“If it had happened this Friday afternoon… today we wouldn’t be here to honor the life of Bennie Hargrove.

Democrat Pamelya Herndon. (Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal)

Herndon said legislation, details of which are still being worked out, aims to charge anyone who does not protect their firearms with fourth degree felony.

Bailey said the NAACP is particularly concerned about parents or adults failing to protect their guns and that these guns end up in the hands of children. He said there had to be consequences.

“We have a problem here in Albuquerque and America: our kids become gangsters and killers at 12 and 13 years old. We have to fight this phenomenon, the consequences have to be proportional to the crime, ”Bailey said, noting that Saucedo Jr.’s maximum possible sentence of eight years is“ not enough ”.

“Eight years is too generous for such a brutal, ruthless and, apparently, premeditated murder,” he said.

Authorities say scores of children, school staff and others saw Hargrove gunned down near the east end of the school near the city center. Classmates told police that Saucedo Jr. had shown the gun to others beforehand and that Hargrove had tried to get Saucedo Jr. to stop bullying his friends when he was shot. above.

Hargrove’s mother Collette Wise grabbed tear-soaked tissues and spoke briefly at Saturday’s press conference, telling the crowd the family still suffered from the loss of Hargrove and wanted justice .

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