Kenney last week attempted to outlaw firearms, even for legal gun owners, at city recreational facilities, despite state law barring such regulation. The order was quickly challenged by nonprofit gun group Guns Owners of America (GOA).
“The law in Pennsylvania couldn’t be clearer,” GOA attorney Andrew Austin said in a statement following the ruling. “No municipality – including Philadelphia – may regulate the lawful possession of firearms in any manner.”
Pennsylvania state law specifically states, “No county, municipality, or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this commonwealth,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kenney claimed the order was necessary to protect people. “This gives them some protection, some peace of mind, some ability to call the authorities when some knucklehead decides they want to bring a gun into a rec center and they see it, that’s part of what this is about,” the mayor said, according to the Inquirer.
“Obviously, the City doesn’t care about that law or the concrete legal precedent affirming it, and since there are no consequences for them, they will continue to try to ram through illegal rules to the detriment of their own citizens,” Austin said. “However, we’re grateful that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was willing to act so quickly to prohibit the mayor’s illegal action.”
Though the city is expected to appeal the order, GOA said it won’t back down.
“All of the anti-gun municipalities across the Commonwealth need to understand the message from this case: Gun Owners of America will not tolerate illegal bans, prohibitions, or restrictions on the Second Amendment in violation of Pennsylvania law,” Pennsylvania Director of GOA Dr. Val Finnell asserted. “We stopped Mayor Kenney in less than a week, and we will do the same to you.”
Finnell added that there needs to be “consequences for these illegal actions” through the state’s preemption statute. “When municipalities like Philadelphia violate the law, they should pay attorney’s fees and damages,” the director said.