NM bill blaming parents for kids' actions going nowhere

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Being a parent is rough. Anyone who is one knows just how difficult it can be to keep your kids on the straight and narrow path. While we try to raise them right and keep an eye on what they’re doing, we’re still not omnipotent.

With some kids, it’s easier than with others, too.

Some kids are sneaky. They do things behind their parents’ backs all the time without the parent ever being the wiser. I, I’m sad to report, was generally one of those kinds of kids.

Luckily, I was, at worst, mischievous and not criminal, but sometimes, it goes differently.

This is why I’m glad a bill in New Mexico is going nowhere.

 A gun safety bill named after a 13-year-old boy shot and killed this past summer in Albuquerque will not move forward this legislative session.

House Bill 9, otherwise known as the Bennie Hargrove Act, was tabled Thursday during a committee hearing. The goal of the bill was to hold parents responsible for allowing their children unsecured access to their firearms. It was named after Hargrove who was killed by a classmate at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque. The suspect reportedly used his dad’s gun.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Pameyla Herndon, D-Albuquerque. She attended the House Appropriations and Finance Committee hearing where the bill was tabled by a 13-5 vote. Herdon says she was disappointed in the decision calling it an unfair vote. She says the committee voted to hold the bill because of its merits not because of its financial impact.

“My first reaction was, committee let’s look at your responsibility and what you are in charge with looking at,” Herndon says.  “I’m not sure why they went astray from what their focus was and the focus is on financing. So that is still a puzzle to me and I don’t know why that happened.”

I don’t know how it ended up in that committee in the first place either, nor do I care.

What I do care about is that the bill is effectively dead.

See, the problem is that the bill essentially blames parents for the actions of a child, potentially making them have to prove their innocence. After all, if their kid gains access to a firearm, they have to defend themselves against claims they should have done more to prevent that.

Never mind that kids are, as previously noted, sneaky. If Dad leaves his keys in the same place, what’s to stop Junior from grabbing them, grabbing the gun, putting the keys back, and Dad not having a clue until the police show up?

Then there’s the possibility of people being prosecuted despite having taken every reasonable precaution.

None of which touches on the fact that bills like this prevent a parent from lawfully allowing access to a gun for a responsible teenager in the event of something like a home invasion.

I’d hate to imagine the parent who comes home to find their dead child knowing full well they’d have given the kid access to the gun were it not for the law.

No, this bill needed to die, and I really don’t care who killed it.