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Letter to Governor from Vanessa Sawyer and Collette Wise

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Dear Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham,

Our names are Vanessa Sawyer and Collette Wise. We are the grandmother and mother of Bennie Hargrove who tragically passed away on August 13, 2021, from unnecessary and preventable gun violence at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are pleading to you to make the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act a part of your agenda during this 2022 Legislative Session. As a mother, we know that you must understand our frustration and anger in learning that the parents of our son’s murderer, who recklessly allowed their middle school aged son constant access to a firearm that was used in the murder and execution of our 13-year-old son Bennie Hargrove, are free from any criminal charges and prosecution. We know that you can understand our confusion and disbelief when the Albuquerque District Attorney told us that no current criminal statutes exist that could be applied to Juan and Luz Saucedo for their actions. The community has been outraged by this turn of events as no one can believe that these reckless gun owners have no criminal charges and are currently able to walk down to the local gun store and replace the firearm that was used to kill our Bennie. We must hold people accountable for their actions and involvement in the illegal use of firearms in this great State of New Mexico and protect New Mexico children from this unnecessary gun violence into the future. We as the family of Bennie Hargrove are pleading to you as the Governor of New Mexico to take this historic step and hold parents accountable for their reckless gun storage and improper access of the firearms to children and/or violent or mentally disturbed household members. We must stop the preventable
deaths of New Mexico’s children and make sure the situation that occurred on August 13, 2021, does not happen to another family.

Sincerely,
Vanessa Sawyer and Collette Wise

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