A Philadelphia judge stopped enforcement of the mayor’s executive order prohibiting guns in recreation centers and playgrounds on Monday.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney last week signed an executive order prohibiting firearms and other deadly weaponry from 159 public spaces in the city. This includes recreation centers, athletic courts, playgrounds, pools, and athletic courts.
Kenney stated, “Pools are not places for guns.” “It is unconscionable for anyone to bring deadly weapons into places where our children gather.”
Gun Owners of America filed suit on behalf of many Pennsylvania residents immediately after the executive order was issued. A 1996 decision by the state supreme court prevents counties and cities from adopting gun-control measures.
Common Pleas Judge Joshua Roberts sided with the plaintiffs on Monday and ordered that the city be “permanently prohibited” from enforcing its mayor’s order after the legal challenge.
Andrew Austin, an attorney representing plaintiffs, stated, “For mine, I am pleased that the Court of Common Pleas could so quickly resolve the suit. But that was in large part due to the law being so explicit: The City cannot regulate firearms possession in any way.”
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The attorney accused the mayor of wasting taxpayer money and time on a “feel good” measure. Austin stated that this was a press release and would not have addressed the crime crisis in our City.
Kevin Lessard, spokesperson for the mayor, stated that the office of the mayor is currently reviewing the decision. He expressed dismay at the decision and stated that it “prevents city workers from making the reasonable request for anyone with a firearm/dead weapon to leave a recreation area.”
Lessard stated, “The executive order of the mayor was meant to prevent the senseless violence which is interfering in the safety of children and families as well as staff in what must-be safe places,”
Judge Roberts stated that Roberts’ ruling was solely based on legal issues. He did however quote two opinions of the 1996 state supreme Court decision. This suggests that the case should be reexamined.
Judge Russell Nigro, then-State Supreme Court Justice, quoted the dissenting opinion in Ortiz. “It is fundamentally important that the local government adopt legislation to protect its citizens whenever it is unable to or unwilling to do so.”
Judge Roberts also quoted Commonwealth Court President Emerita Bonnie Brigance Lebetter, who said that the “overwhelming problem of gun violence in the city” “may well justify more severe restrictions than those required statewide.”
The judge stated that he “shares”, echoes and amplifies the sentiments in the two quoted opinions.