In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by admin

Philadelphia, April 21, 2016 Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday proposed legislation that would make it crime to leave household firearms within the reach of children.

The child access prevention regulation imposes criminal liability on adults who do not take measures to ensure guns are stored safely out of the reach of minors. All firearms licensed to be sold, owned or carried in the City of Philadelphia must be equipped with a trigger-locking device, and all firearms kept in a home with at least one person under the age of 18 must be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container. In addition, all ammunition kept in a home with at least one child must be stored in a separate, locked container.

“Guns and kids do not mix, and adults have a responsibility to make sure guns are safely stored out of the reach of children,” Council President Clarke said. “There have been way too many tragedies involving children accessing guns and accidentally shooting other children, adults, or themselves. The City of Philadelphia cannot outlaw stupidity, but we can do more to educate the public about safe firearms storage and send the message that senseless negligence involving children will not be tolerated.”

This week, a 30-year-old Kensington man was charged with murder after fatally shooting his 4-year-old daughter while allegedly playing with a firearm in her presence. Maurice Phillips, 30, initially sought to blame another child for the incident before confessing, according to police.

“That this individual tried to pin little Tahirah Phillips’ murder on a child points to just how preventable and stupid this act was,” Council President Clarke added. “Charging adults with negligence after a tragedy does little for victims. My bill will give law enforcement another tool to prevent such tragedies and prosecute dangerous negligence before tragedy can strike.”

In 47 states including Pennsylvania, adults face no legal consequence for leaving loaded, unlocked guns within a child’s reach.

The text of the bill can be read here.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at

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