Mayor Jim Kenney signs executive order, bans firearms from Philly recreational centers
The executive order follows the killing of rec. center employee Tiffany Fletcher Sept. 9.
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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order on Tuesday, Sept. 27, banning firearms from city recreational facilities and centers. This comes a little more than two weeks after the shooting death of recreation center worker Tiffany Fletcher who was killed by a stray bullet while working at Mill Creek Recreation Center on Friday, Sept. 9.
The order bans all firearms, and other weapons from City recreation facilities, rec center buildings, courts, fields, playgrounds, and pools.
“It is unconscionable that anyone would bring deadly weapons where our city’s children gather to play — We will not tolerate the endangerment of children and families while they are in the care of our treasured community spaces, and we must do everything we can to protect the public, as well as the dedicated staff that make these facilities run. Banning guns from indoor and outdoor recreational facilities throughout our city is a critical step to protecting our public spaces and preventing the senseless violence that claimed Tiffany Fletcher’s life,” Kenney said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Kenney was joined by District Attorney Larry Krasner, city council member Jamie Gauthier, who represents District 3 where Fletcher fell victim, Deputy Mayor Vanessa Garrett Harley of the Office of Children and Families, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell in the Mayor's Reception Room at City Hall.
“We hope that this ban will deter the senseless gun violence that claimed the life of Tiffany Fletcher, a member of the Mill Creek Playground staff, who was caught in crossfire while doing her job and cleaning up outside of the rec center,” Kenney wrote on Twitter.
Both Kenney and Gauthier were in attendance at Fletcher’s funeral at Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Northwest Philadelphia.
"Tiffany took the job at Mill Creek Recreation Center because she wanted to make a difference — It was important to her that families have a place to cool off during the summer and a clean playgrounds year around. she invested in her community," said Gauthier.
"I've been to many going home services here. This might be the most difficult that I've come to. And I'm just so, so sad and so sorry that this all happened,” Kenney added. “I can't tell you how much my heart is broken also.”
PPR Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said the move was “to protect the children and families of Philadelphia, and our staff.”
“Parks & Recreation staff work tirelessly in service to the children and families of our city,” she continued.
Since 2019, more than 200 guns and other sorts of violence have occurred at city recreation sites. That includes over 18 incidents just this year. Philly has been facing a gun violence problem that has become an endemic as well as other deadly violent crimes, with more than 400 homicides in 2022.
“These spaces belong to the residents and families of the City of Philadelphia. This Executive Order is a major step forward towards preventing the senseless violence that is interfering with the safety of children, families and staff in what should be safe places,” said Deputy Mayor Vanessa Garrett Harley.
“We continue to work with law enforcement and community organizations to prevent gun violence, including working hand-in-hand with District Police Captains to ensure regular police presence at and around rec centers in high risk areas during hours of active programming,” she continued.
With gun violence worsening, and pressure from all surroundings on both Kenney and Krasner, citizens are pushing for harder gun laws. In what has been one of the deadliest Summers for the city on record, this past weekend was the first weekend of Fall and during those two days, 20 people were shot, including a two-year old, and four were killed.
As it becomes more of an unfortunate normality in the city, with elections upcoming this November, Philly residents will have a first opportunity to potentially change things for the better.