Breakfasts at the Economic Forum of Albuquerque sure are getting interesting. Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder told business and community leaders at the March 8 event APS officials had confiscated 12 guns from its campuses this school year.
That’s two more than the 10 firearms Elder announced at a July 2022 forum meeting that APS had confiscated in the 2021-22 school year. And no one knows how many guns on campus go unreported.
The locations are varied — during the 2021-22 school year, guns were found on students at Washington and Hoover middle schools and at Del Norte, Manzano, Rio Grande, Siembra Leadership, Volcano Vista and West Mesa high schools. It’s not clear where this school year’s guns were found, but parents need and deserve to know.
“A lot of times, it’s not that they’re there to threaten anybody, it’s not that they’re there to hurt anybody — it’s just, for whatever stupid reason, they had a gun in their backpack and they brought it to school,” Elder said.
And sometimes students are armed to hurt somebody, as when a 13-year-old boy brought his father’s handgun to Washington in August 2021 and shot and killed Bennie Hargrove, also 13. The Legislature passed a bill in Hargrove’s honor making it a crime to improperly store a firearm a minor accesses and later brandishes or uses to kill or injure.
Elder is right, guns aren’t just an APS problem — they are a growing problem among youth and “we as a community need to come together and figure out how to address this.”
The Bennie Hargrove bill is a step forward, but more must be done. From school fencing to camera and weapon-detection systems, active-shooter training to prosecuting students who bring guns to school — all need serious consideration to convince the public APS’ campuses are safe.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.