In 2016, there were 17.8 gun-related deaths in New Mexico for every 100,000 people—that’s 33.7 percent higher than the US average. Between 2008 and 2010, a firearm was used in 38 percent of child homicides and 35.8 percent of child suicides.

On Sunday Dec. 2 at 11 am, high school student activists Sophie Lussiez, Julia Mazal and Hannah Laga Abram join Miranda Viscoli, the co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, to talk about gun violence prevention legislation at Collected Works Bookstore. Journeysantafe, an organization which leads discussions on local issues every Sunday at the bookstore, organizes the event.
“New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence has been working with a group of youth since the Parkland shooting,” Viscoli tells SFR. “After we did a big rally with 400 kids at the capitol and we put together a legislative panel, three hours later they said, ‘OK, what do we do next?’ And I was like, that’s impressive.”

Child access protection laws are designed to impose criminal liability on gun owners when minors access negligently stored guns. Twenty-seven states have some form of CAP law, but New Mexico does not. The students are working to change that.

“I think the reason we went for that bill specifically is because, for one, we can use personal experience and talk about the way it’s affecting youth,” Lussiez, a 17-year-old senior at Desert Academy, says. “And another thing, it was sort of the most realistic bill. Because we’re not trying to take away people’s guns, it was easily the most bipartisan.”

Eighty percent of guns used in school shootings committed by minors were taken from the child’s home or the home of a relative or friend, according to the Washington Post.

“For people not to do anything about it is really not an option at this point,” says Lussiez. “It’s not enough just to recognize the issue, even though that’s a really important step. From there we have to progress and you have to get out there and do things.”
The bill has been drafted and is sponsored by Rep. Linda Trujillo. At Collected Works, the students will talk about the bill, gun violence statistics and their personal experiences with gun violence. 

“I want the takeaway to be that the youth of Santa Fe and New Mexico isn’t giving up at all and that we have a voice, a legal voice, and are going to keep trying to create change,” Mazal, a 16-year-old junior at United World College, tells SFR.

Journeysantafe: Student Panel for New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
11 am Sunday Dec. 2. Free. Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St., 988-4226