After getting the boot from Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium, Florida Gun Shows’ two-day events have now been removed from Pembroke Pines’ Charles F. Dodge City Center as well.
Pembroke Pines is presently challenging a Florida law that would give the state more power over gun laws. That measure has been found partially unconstitutional but is on appeal.
In a document directed to the Khaled Akkawi, owner of Florida Gun Shows, Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge wrote, “As you may know, the city is currently the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging certain provisions of Section 790.33, F.S., related to the state preemption of the regulation and sale of firearms … The city does not intend to reconsider its position on this matter until after the conclusion of this litigation, if at all.”
Pines residents weren’t too happy about having the events take place there. Many had been trying to get city commissioners to terminate the events, but couldn’t due to the city’s contract with Florida Gun Shows Inc.
Narifa Ally, resident of Pembroke Pines, claims these shows give the city a bad look. “I cannot believe shows like these exist,” she said. “They are promoting violence. We have been pushing to get these events cancelled or moved from here. It looks like city officials are finally listening.”
Ally, along with other residents, was amongst those protesting at past shows. “We cannot be blind to the obvious situation in our country,” she added. “There have been more mass shootings in the past couple of years than ever before and these events are not only facilitating the access of firearms to these people, but almost promoting the violence too.” She and others plan to protest at the last event being held in Pembroke Pines.
Dodge allowed a January show at the city center, but said the city will not be renewing the license agreements for future gun show events at the facility.
Akkawi said he does not want to leave the facility. “I’m going to do everything I can to stay here. I love the building,” he said.
Meanwhile Florida Gun Shows has more events scheduled around the state in upcoming months. They are set for Tampa, Orlando and the Fair Expo Center, near Florida International University’s South Campus, in April, May and July.