Gun Show Organizer Sues City of Fort Lauderdale Over War Memorial Ban

As we reported in a prior article the assault on South Florida’s gun culture continues through efforts to ban gun shows at the War Memorial Auditorium. It appears that Florida Gun Shows Inc., owned by Lebanese-American Khaled Akkawi, isn’t taking that lying down.

Florida Gun Shows is now suing the city of Fort Lauderdale in federal court for violating the company’s free speech rights stating that they should not be treating its events differently than other legitimate commercial operations that are held at the public venue.

Mr. Akkawi also happens to own the largest private FFL chain in Florida, Shoot Straight, Inc and helped organize two bus runs to two pro-gun rallies at the Florida capital earlier this year.

Ft. Lauderdale’s anti-Second Amendment stance is nothing new. Back in 2016, the city tried to ban the sale of ARs by modifying the lease agreement and stipulating that ARs, AKs, and standard-capacity magazines couldn’t be sold on the convention center grounds. The state’s preemption law prevented that maneuver.

The city’s attack on the show as a whole has been ongoing and finally came to fruition when Mayor Dean Trantalis, who as a city commissioner last year found no support for getting rid of the gun show outright, now has colleagues in agreement with him on the issue in Florida’s post-Parkland climate. In fact, Mayor Trantalis spent five years as a city commissioner trying to ban the shows ever since the Sandy Hook shooting.

According to the Sun Sentinel;

“Despite [the gun show’s] history of promoting successful and safe gun shows at the [auditorium] for many years, as a result of the tragic school shooting deaths of a number of Broward County students at the hands of a criminal, the political climate in Broward County in 2018 has become very hostile towards gun shows and gun rights in general,” the lawsuit said.

As a former South Florida resident, I can honestly agree. The political climate in Broward County is overtly hostile towards gun shows and gun rights. I very much remember the attitude from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office when I was trying to get a chief LEO’s signature for an ATF Form 1 for a short barreled rifle.

Mayor Trantalis claims they want to ban the shows because they suddenly present a threat to the city park across the street. Yet in all the thirty-plus years that the show has been going on, there has never been an issue of safety toward show-goers or Fort Lauderdale residents using the park. As Trantalis told the Sun Sentinel . . .

“They never had an incident in Parkland, either. Why tempt danger when we can avoid it?”

By that “logic,” Fort Lauderdale could be at risk from a potential backpack nuke. Yet Hizzoner isn’t banning tourists from other countries from visiting Las Olas Beach. Why is he willing to assume that risk?

The Florida Gun Shows lawsuit also states that city commissioners are in violation of the state’s preemption law that prohibits local governments from regulating the purchase, sale, transfer and ownership of firearms and ammunition which the suit said the city is doing by “adopting and enforcing an anti-gun show policy at its publicly owned facility.”

Under Florida law, Mr. Akkawi retains the right to add individual officials to the suit who could be subject to penalties such as a $5,000 fine, possible removal from office, and opening officials up to further potential lawsuits seeking additional monetary damages in excess of $100,000. Stay tuned.


  1. avatar RA-15 says:

    Public venue does not apply to law abiding citizens & their rights , right ? SO WRONG !! I lived in Florida for 3 years. Back before all this nonsense started. It is pathetic the way these simple minded , gun grabbing sons of b…… Are acting. What happened to walking in to a local gun store and buying any gun you wanted ??

  2. avatar Robert Hutchings says:

    There must be a joke here somewhere. Example: you can’t have a gun show in the War Memorial.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “There must be a joke here somewhere. Example: you can’t have a gun show in the War Memorial.”

      Yeah, the irony is blatant, but it isn’t homegrown. There was a story, or note, on TTAG recently about the Brits trying to ban representations of guns on public war monuments.

  3. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    So they’re restricting access to a public accommodation based on the practice of a civil right? (One codified in the US constitution, even?)

  4. avatar m. says:

    good for you, mr. a. f these d-suckers, and the ones in del mar, ca.

  5. avatar el Possum Guapo Standartenfuher " they think we're making pizza's Oberst von Burn says:

    Well with a name like that, it’d be best not to fuck with his gunz

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    There’s an easier way for Trantalis to handle this situation.

    Just rename the War Memorial and call it the Deputy Scott Peterson Memorial. Then everybody would be afraid to go inside the building because of the guns. Done and done.

    No need to thank me. It’s a crazy world and I’m just here to help.

    1. avatar Just Sayin says:

      Ralph, you are a gem.

      But you have made an error. Mr. Peckerhead, er I mean Peterson, is not dead yet. Therefore no memorial to him.
      And when he does pass into the other side, I am all for renaming the Broward Co. landfill after him. Either that or one of the sewage treatment plants.


  7. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Shoot Straight is a great store!
    He has two here in South Florida.
    Both are large, clean, women friendly, with huge stock of guns and supplies and well ventilated firing ranges.
    Prices are good, you could beat them by a few dollars by going online, but after shipping and transfer fees it’s only $10.
    I have not been to a gun show in a long time.
    It’s all the same stuff, both at War Memorial in Fort Lauderdale and Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach.

  8. avatar DMD says:

    Go Khalid !!!! Ft Lauderdale’s anti-gun mayor is trying to end-around Florida’s State Pre-emption Law for his own political gain—–The mayor has taken on the wrong man!!! Sue the b^stard’s. ass off !!!! DMD

  9. avatar neiowa says:

    Suppose GoFundMe would allow a support thread?

  10. avatar Jay in Floriduh says:

    All he has to do is go after the Mayor and add him to the suit personally.
    Loss of office and a fine might be enough to have him back off.
    As I live in Boca a few miles (next town over) from Parkland. I can say some are pissed off about the school shooting. But most if not alot of the North Easterners moving here. Run to buy their 1st gun once they get residence here. Alot of what we hear here about the locals being antigun is just a bunch of BS. Just a very vocal minority backed up by the press and other media. The usual suspects.
    PS the Shoot Straight ranges usually have a decent wait time on weekends. A really good indoor place to shoot.

  11. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    Has anybody else noticed that more and more media outlets are dropping comment sections, including the Sun-Slantinel? It’s like they want to have a conversation about guns but not with anyone other than themselves.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’m shocked.

  12. avatar DMD says:

    …and add a count of unconstitutional denial of equal protection under the law by singling out only Khalid’s gun shows for prohibition from War Memorial !! DMD

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