Judge bans enforcement of gun ban at city parks and pools

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge has barred enforcement of an executive order signed by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney last week banning firearms and lethal weapons from indoor and outdoor recreational spaces in the city, including parks, basketball courts and swimming pools.

Common Pleas Judge Joshua Roberts on Monday ordered Philadelphia’s “permanent bar” from enforcing the ordinance after a legal challenge, citing Pennsylvania state law that prohibits any city or county from adopting measures gun control, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Gun Owners of America, on behalf of several state residents, filed a lawsuit immediately after Kenny’s order, the latest attempt by Philadelphia officials to regulate guns within the boundaries of the city. Lawyers for the city had cited its role as landowner managing its facilities, saying it distinguished the ordinance from previous legislation passed by the city council and struck down by the court.

Andrew Austin, who represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement that he was pleased with the court’s swift action. But he said that was “in large part because the law is so explicit: the city is not allowed to regulate gun ownership in any way.”

“It’s unfortunate that the mayor and the city are willing to waste their time and taxpayer dollars on these kinds of ‘welfare’ measures,” Austin said. “It was nothing more than a press release, and would in no way – address the crime crisis in our city.

political cartoons

Kenny’s spokesman Kevin Lessard said officials are reviewing the decision and are disappointed with the outcome, which “prevents city employees from reasonably requesting that anyone with a firearm or deadly weapon leave a facility.” Recreation”.

“The mayor’s executive order was intended to prevent senseless violence that interferes with the safety of children, families and staff in what should be safe places,” he said.

Roberts said his decision was based “purely on legal issues.” But he also cited two opinions strongly suggesting the need to revisit a 1996 state Supreme Court ruling that state lawmakers have the power to pre-empt local gun control laws. Roberts said he “shared, echoed and amplified” the sentiments of those opinions.

The signing ceremony came a day after Kenney spoke at the funeral of Tiffany Fletcher, a 41-year-old mother of three who was shot earlier in the month outside the town’s recreation center where she worked. A 14-year-old, who was shooting at another group of teenagers, has since been charged in the shooting death of Fletcher.

Hours after the signing, five shooters ambushed a group of teenagers outside a high school in northwest Philadelphia after a football scrimmage, killing a 14-year-old and injuring four others.

The city had just passed 400 homicides for the year, only slightly behind the pace of last year’s toll that ended up being the highest in at least six decades.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.