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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2022 10:25 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Weapons in Public Parks
In the near future I plan on reintroducing Senate Bill 239 from last session which prohibit firearms or other dangerous weapons in public recreation areas.

According to the Philadelphia Mayor’s office, since 2019, nearly 300 reported incidents of gun violence have occurred at a city recreation facility. 

In 2022,a 41-year old woman was killed while working for the City of Philadelphia at a recreation center in the city’s Mill Creek section. 

In 2019 there was a mass shooting that wounded seven people at Baker Playground in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this was not a one-time occurrence. Several weeks before the shooting at Baker Playground, there was a shooting at Finnegan Playground in Southwest Philadelphia and one at a graduation party in Paschall Playground in Southwest Philadelphia.

In 2018, there were 526 crimes committed at a recreation center in Philadelphia. More troubling, in 2018, there were 18 gun-related crimes committed on or near a city owned recreation center.  According to data from the city, one in three shootings that result in injury or death in Philadelphia occur near a school, recreation center or park.

It is beyond time for us to act to protect the most vulnerable of citizens, our children, who are the primary users of publicly owned recreation centers.

My legislation, which is mirrored after current provisions of law which prohibit the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapons in court facilities and on school property, would make it a crime to possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a public recreation area. A public recreation area would be defined as a park, recreation center or pool owned or operated by a political subdivision.

I believe this is a reasonable solution to a horrendous problem plaguing our public recreation areas. We provide these protections in court and on school property and it is time to extend these protections to our public recreation areas.

This legislation will be identical to legislation being introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Bullock.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation. Please contact my office if you have any questions.

Introduced as SB53