Judge strikes Philly’s local ban on guns at recreations centers, playgrounds

A judge is blocking Philadelphia from enforcing a new ban on firearms in recreation centers, citing a state law that bars local governments from regulating guns.

Judge Joshua Roberts of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas also pointed to a 1996 state Supreme Court case that held the state legislature prevents municipalities from setting their own restrictions on the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms.

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney and his parks commissioner in late September issued an executive order prohibiting guns in city-run facilities and grounds, including courts, recreation centers, playgrounds and pools.

They signed the ban shortly after Tiffany Fletcher, an employee at the Mill Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, was shot and killed while on the job. The city is also combatting a high rate of shootings, a development GOP critics blame on lax law enforcement as city leaders focus on the flow of guns.

A gun rights group, Gun Owners of America, and state residents sued over the city ban.

“Pennsylvania law is ‘crystal clear’; regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern, and must be undertaken by [the] General Assembly,” their complaint said. “Mayor James Kenney is not permitted to regulate firearms by executive fiat, as he attempts here.”

A spokeswoman for the city told CNN that officials are disappointed by the judge’s ruling, handed down Monday, and will consider whether to appeal.

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