Pembroke Pines residents voice concerns over gun show in wake of mass shootings

PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - After the massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, South Floridians are voicing their concerns over a gun show that will be held in Pembroke Pines.

The show is expected to be held at the Charles F. Dodge City Center, at 601 SW City Center Way, Saturday.

Attorney Barbara Markley, who is against the show, showed 7News cameras several signs she plans to use to protest the show.

“More guns in a community means more gun deaths and more gun injuries,” Markley said.

Markley said she has used the signs before when she fought for the city of Fort Lauderdale to cancel the gun show at the War Memorial Auditorium. The city eventually settled with the gun show, which will not come back.

“Cities seem to be under the mistaken impression that they are required to rent to a gun show,” Markley said. “The preemption, the law in Florida that says they can’t pass a law about guns, means that they are required to rent their property, and nothing could be further from the truth.”

Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo said having the gun show in the city is offensive considering the massacres that just happened in El Paso and Dayton, but he said state lawmakers are making it impossible.

A 1987 Florida statute states the city can’t pass a gun regulation tougher than the state’s. Doing so could get local officials in trouble, so the Pembroke Pines City Attorney said they have to go through with the shows, despite the recent mass shootings.

“The city attorney says whether you like it or not, you have to have these three events,” Castillo said. “Three gun show events, because that’s what the law requires, and it’s very, very frustrating, and it’s personally offensive to me. We’re seeing things coming out of Tallahassee now we’ve never seen before. We are the cities! We know best how to protect our people. Get out of our way, and let us do our job.”

The Pembroke Pines City Commission met to discuss the issue to see if there is an alternative at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday

“You absolutely have a choice just like all these other cities that say, ‘No, thank you,’ to the gun show,” Markley said. “In Florida, a child is shot every 17 hours on average. We have a gun stolen every 26 minutes. We’re third in the nation for gun theft, and more guns is just more death.”

Castillo said there is so much conflicting information as to what they can and cannot do. The commissioner said they hoped to resolve it when the commission met.

“How dare the state create a law that says that we, at the local level, who know better than they do how to protect life, health, safety and welfare of our people, can’t make decisions along those lines,” Castillo said at the meeting. “We built a city center at the request of the residents of Pembroke Pines, so they would have a family-friendly place to go.”

The commissioners also heard from many upset residents at the meeting, like Lourdes Diaz.

“They have the right to say who can and cannot use our facility,” Diaz said. “I’m frustrated that they are allowing themselves to think their hands are tied, and they’re not fighting.”

“We have a public park where kids will be playing right next to where the gun show will be held,” one woman said. “Those are family-centered activities. We don’t want gun shows next to children playing.”

City commissioners said they plan to hold another meeting to discuss the topic further.

7News spoke to the gun show’s promoter over the phone.

He said the show follows all state and federal laws, and they have never had any incidents.

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