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Fort Lauderdale sued over decision to stop hosting gun shows

Officials sought to end years-long agreement after Parkland school shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The organizers of a Fort Lauderdale gun show have filed suit against the city after officials decided to not renew their lease for a city-owned facility next year.

Florida Gun Show has held frequent events at the city-owned War Memorial Auditorium in Holiday Park for the past several years. However, city officials began to rethink the arrangement after a gunman killed 17 people in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland.

Initially, city officials considered ending the agreement immediately in the aftermath of the school shooting, but they decided in April to continue the shows until November when the existing lease ended.

"The city's refusal to rent its publicly owned facility to a lawful and legitimate business is a violation of Florida Gun Show's constitutional right to engage in commercial speech and is violative of Florida Gun Show's right to equal protection under the law," the lawsuit said.

The organizers said the Florida Gun Show has a history of promoting successful and safe gun shows at the War Memorial Auditorium and should be treated the same as other groups that host events at the auditorium.