FORT LAUDERDALE – Florida Gun Shows Inc. recently filed a complaint against the city of Fort Lauderdale in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging violations of freedom of speech and equal protection after the city canceled its gun shows.
According to the complaint filed Oct. 2, the city refused to continue renting out its public space to Florida Gun Shows even though their license agreement held their date slots for the gun shows through 2025.
Florida Gun Shows Inc. began operating agreements with the War Memorial Auditorium for gun shows each year since 2014.
Even though the Florida Gun Shows have been promoted with extreme safety and have no history of bad incidents in the past, Fort Lauderdale city commissioners refused to renew the license agreement in light of Broward County gun violence.
Florida Gun Shows believes that they are being deprived of freedom of speech because their license agreement has not been honored. The company asserts that they are a legitimate business and law abiding. They believe that they should be able to continue their agreement because they have the right to promote and engage in commercial speech while being protected under the First Amendment.
In addition, Florida Gun Shows believes that the city is violating their Forth Amendment rights by denying them equal protection under the laws. The complaint states that they are a legitimate business and should not be treated any differently because of what they are promoting.
Also, Florida Gun Shows alleges a violation of Florida statutes by the city in adopting anti-gun show policies and trying to regulate the purchase, sales and transfers of firearms in the state.
The suit is asking the court that the dates reserved for the gun shows in the agreement be honored and alo seeks actual damages, injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and any other relief that the court deems proper.