New Mexico has the Seventh-Highest Rate of Gun Deaths in the County; Guns are the Leading Cause of Death for Children and Teens in the State
SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the New Mexico Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee passed SB 224, a bill to require that firearms be securely stored when they are not in use to help prevent access by children and other unauthorized people.
“In this global pandemic with children and families home from school of work and a heightened risk of gun suicide, it is more important than ever to have life-saving gun safety legislation like secure storage on the books,” said Anamaria Dahl, a volunteer leader with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I am grateful to our lawmakers for prioritizing the safety of New Mexico communities and advancing this legislation.”
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in New Mexico. In 2020, unintentional shootings increased by 17% in Albuquerque. With millions of children and teens home from school and gun sales surging during the pandemic, secure gun storage is more important than ever.
Secure storage legislation can prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides among children and teens. According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equaling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Another 662 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member.
A 2019 study estimated that if half of households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented – saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.