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Holiday Park Gun Shows Spark Protests At Fort Lauderdale City Commission Meeting

women standing with signs to end gun shows
Caitie Switalski
Barbara Markley, right, stands outside Fort Lauderdale City Hall before speaking at the Jan. 3 city commission meeting.

The debate over a long-running gun show in Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Park has carried over into the new year. 

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission met for the first regular meeting of the new year on Jan. 3, with recurring protesters in attendance. 


Off of North Andrews Avenue just outside of Fort Lauderdale City Hall, Barbara Markley demonstrated with a small group of women holding signs before the meeting began. 

“We have signs that say, ‘Honk if you want to stop the  gun show,’ and people honk their heads off,” Markley said.

She’s been coming to  commission meetings to protest the gun shows at War Memorial Auditorium since last year. The gun shows take place eight times a year and they’ve been going on for the last 30 years. An average of  3,000 people attend each show.

The park is just six miles away from  Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where a mass shooting occurred almost one year ago, on Jan. 6, 2017.  


postcards against gun violence
Credit Barbara Markley/Caitie Switalski / WLRN
This is a post card that Markley and some community members have been giving away, asking Fort Lauderdale citizens to mail them in.

Markley came to continue pleading with commissioners, even though there was no vote scheduled on the issue.

“Most of your constituents are not gun owners and none of your constituents wants to be a victim of gun violence,” she told the commission.    

This recurring public comment wasn’t met with any visible opposition ... from the audience anyway. The commissioners didn’t discuss it during the meeting. 

Instead, once public comment for the sport, pickleball, and rink renovations came up, the meeting switched gears.

“I agree with this gentleman on this issue,” Mayor Jack Seiler said, after the pickleball presentation. 

District 2 Commissioner Dean Trantalis said he is the only current commissioner in favor of stopping the gun shows. 

“Hopefully the new commission will be able to have a change of heart and be able to cancel the lease,” Trantalis said.  

On July 1, the lease will come up for renewal or cancellation, and a new set of commissioners will have to decide. That new commission will be elected in just a few weeks; election day for the city is Jan. 16.