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§ 10-834. Responsibility To Avoid Possession And Discharge Of Firearms By Children.

(a) Legislative Findings. The Council of the City of Philadelphia finds that:

1. The unintentional firearm-related death rate for children 0-14 years old is nine times higher in the U.S. than in the 25 other industrialized countries combined;

2. In 2003, there were 130 firearm deaths of children and teens in Pennsylvania, including 41 suicides and 4 accidents;

3. During the past year the following Philadelphia children have killed themselves and others in accidental shootings after finding loaded and unlocked firearms in their homes:

a. 3-year-old Talib Bailey-Hankerson, who shot himself in the face with a firearm he found at the home of his mother's boyfriend;

b. 13-year-old Jevon Chestnut, who shot himself while playing with a gun inside his house in North Philadelphia;

c. 12-year-old Marquette Cooper, who was killed with his father's loaded handgun that he found in his home;

d. An unidentified 15-year-old boy killed and a 16-year-old girl shot after playing with a loaded handgun in his home in Northeast Philadelphia;

4. The American Academy of Pediatrics has adopted a policy on firearms that states that loaded firearms and unlocked firearms and ammunition represent a serious danger to children and adolescents and encourages legislation mandating trigger locks, lock boxes, and other safe storage of firearms until guns are fully removed from the environment of children;

5. A comprehensive review of state-by-state surveys of firearms ownership patterns by the Rand Corporation found that only 39% of homes with children and firearms regularly keep their firearm locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition and 43% had at least one unlocked firearm in the home where children were present;

6. Recently published controlled studies in prominent medical journals conclude that storing household guns as locked, unloaded, or separate from the ammunition is associated with significant reductions in the risk of unintentional and self-inflicted firearm injuries and deaths among adolescents and children.

7. In 47 states, a parent can leave a loaded, unlocked gun on a dining room table or a nightstand and face no legal consequence for leaving that gun within a child's reach.

8. According to a January 13, 2014, report by Diane Sawyer entitled Kids and Guns: By the Numbers, 31 percent of U.S. households in 2012 had at least one child and one gun in the home.

9. The American Academy of Pediatrics adds that guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many deaths as heart disease, and fifteen times as many deaths as infections.

10. Several states have taken steps to protect children from tragic gun accidents by requiring guns to be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock anytime they are not in use.

11. Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia have passed laws criminalizing the act of leaving a gun where a child may access it.

12. Statistics and research prove that these laws are effective. States that have enacted these laws substantially decreased the number of unintentional child firearm deaths.

(b) Definitions. As used in this Section the following words shall have the meanings ascribed herein:

1. "Adult" means any person who is 18 years of age or older.

2. "Child" means any person who is younger than 18 years of age.

3. "Firearm" means any device designed, made or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosive or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use.

4. "Range" means any public or private facility at which firearms training or practice, or both, is conducted under controlled circumstances intended to encourage the safe handling of firearms and at which procedures or facilities are in place that are intended to prevent the projectiles discharged from the firearms from causing any damage to persons or property.

(c) (1) All firearms kept in a home in which one or more individuals younger than 18 years of age reside or regularly visit shall be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, except when an authorized user is carrying it on his or her person or has the firearm under his or her immediate control.

(2) All ammunition kept in a home in which one or more individuals younger than 18 years of age reside or regularly visit shall be stored in a separate place from the firearm, except when an authorized user is carrying it on his or her person or has the firearm under his or her immediate control.

(d) It is unlawful for a child intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence to discharge a firearm within the city.

(e) It is unlawful for any adult intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence to facilitate, suffer or permit the discharge of a firearm by a child. If an adult intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence allows a child to obtain unsupervised access to the firearm, such facilitation, sufferance or permission shall be inferred.

(f) It is unlawful for any adult intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence to facilitate, suffer or permit the handling or physical possession of a firearm by a child by allowing the child to obtain unsupervised access to the firearm.

(g) It is a defense to prosecution under subsections (d), (e) or (f) that:

1. the firearm was handled, possessed or discharged upon a range and under the supervision of an adult; or

2. the child's access to firearms was obtained as a result of an unlawful entry; or

3. the discharge, handling or possession of the firearm was justified as provided under Pennsylvania law.

(h) It is additionally a defense to prosecution under subsection (e) or (f) that the actor had taken reasonable precautions under the attendant circumstances to ensure that a child would not have the ability to obtain access to the firearm without supervision. Such precautions could include, but need not be limited to:

1. storage of the firearm in a place where, at the time the access was obtained, an unsupervised child would not reasonably have been expected to have been able to gain access; or

2. storage of the firearm in a locked safe, locked rack, locked hard case, locked soft case, locked drawer, locked cabinet or other locked container; or

3. installation of a lock on the firearm to prevent its normal function and discharge.

(i) Violation of this Section is a Class III offense punishable by incarceration of not more than 30 days and a fine in an amount provided for in Section 1-109 of the Philadelphia Code. To the extent that any conduct in violation of this Section also constitutes a violation of state law, then the conduct shall be punishable under the applicable state law. Violation of this Section by a child shall constitute a delinquent act as defined by the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa. C.S. § 6302 and shall be punishable according to the provisions of Subchapter D of the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa. C.S. §§ 6351-58.

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