On Wednesday, we reported that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued an executive order banning guns in all rec centers. I had my doubts that he had the authority to do any such thing.
However, my expressing my doubts isn’t going to change a thing. Kenney either knows it’s illegal and is doing it anyway, or he doesn’t and thinks he can get away with it. My doubts aren’t going to change his mind.
But a lawsuit filed by Gun Owners of America might.
From a press release:
Philadelphia, PA – Yesterday, lame-duck Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order prohibiting individuals from lawful carry at all City of Philadelphia recreational facilities. The mayor’s actions are in clear violation of Pennsylvania law prohibiting these types of local gun restrictions. Within hours of Mayor Kenney’s signing ceremony, Gun Owners of America (GOA) filed a lawsuit to enjoin enforcement of this illegal gun regulation.
“Mayor Kenney knows this executive order is pointless: law abiding gun owners aren’t the people committing the violent crime and murder in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Val Finnell, Pennsylvania Director for GOA. “Instead, Mayor Kenney is trying to deflect attention from his failing policies and failing City by enacting more ‘feel good’ regulations that scapegoat guns for the crisis of crime in Philadelphia. Rather than take responsibility for city policies that created two years of record homicides, Kenney is attempting to capitalize on the tragic deaths of Philadelphia residents to disarm more people and create more victim-only, ‘gun-free’ zones. All this executive order does is put a bullseye on the back of every person at Philadelphia recreational facilities, because they know that Mayor Kenney won’t let you defend yourself there.”
“The lack of respect for taxpayer money is appalling,” said Andrew Austin, attorney for GOA and the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. “Pennsylvania law is clear here: Philly is not allowed to make gun regulations. Every appellate court in Pennsylvania has made this clear multiple times. Yet, they continue to waste taxpayer money by attempting to enact these illegal laws.”
Gun Owners of America will be seeking to enjoin enforcement of Mayor Kenney’s Executive Order in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In addition, GOA has previously filed several other lawsuits in Philadelphia in the last two years in pursuit of Second Amendment rights, and will continue to fight as long as necessary to ensure every citizen has the ability to defend themselves, particularly in lawless cities such as Mayor Kenney’s Philadelphia.
So, it seems the answer to my question is that no, Pennsylvania state law does not provide a provision allowing the banning of guns at rec centers and playgrounds. Unsurprising, really.
Further, it’s unlikely Kenney didn’t know this, either.
However, he also isn’t a fan of preemption because it doesn’t let him restrict people’s rights with a stroke of his pen–which is all this nonsense is. I mean, seriously, this isn’t even the city council passing a law, this is Kenney just deciding on a whim where you can and can’t carry a firearm lawfully.
Plus, as noted on Wednesday, the people who represent a problem aren’t going to be following this executive order in the first place. It will only inhibit the law-abiding, the very people who not only don’t represent a problem but the ones who actually represent part of the solution.
The criminals will keep doing what they’ve been doing.
So yeah, this lawsuit needs to happen. Kenney can’t make up rules as he goes along, especially in violation of the state’s preemption law. Philadelphia doesn’t get to make up its own rules, so there’s no way its mayor suddenly gets to.
My hope is that this is enjoined and quickly. The people of Philly deserve better.