Update—12 May 2016: Minutes after it started, the online auction of the gun George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin in 2012 was halted.
GunBroker.com issued a statement in the hours following the removal of the listing and distanced themselves from Zimmerman's publicity.
"Mr Zimmerman never contacted anyone at GunBroker.com prior to or after the listing was created and no one at GunBroker.com has any relationship with Zimmerman," the statement said. "Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing."
"We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving."
Zimmerman listed the gun - a Kel-Tec PF-9 nine millimeter handgun - on the site GunBroker.com with a starting bid of $5,000 (£3,462). He claimed to have received offers to have the gun displayed in the Smithsonian Museum, as it is “a piece of American history,” he said. The Smithsonian denied this claim the Thursday morning.
“The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin,” his wrote.
Fox 35 reports that the Department of Justice had just returned the gun to Zimmerman after investigating his case to determine whether or not to pursue federal hate crime charges.
“I recently received it back from the Department of Justice. They took it after my trial after I was exonerated,” he said, adding that the gun is “fully functional” despite “attempts [by DOJ] on behalf of B Hussein Obama to render the firearm inoperable”.
Shortly after Zimmerman listed the gun on the auction site, he claims to have received death threats and is in hiding.
“What I’ve decided to do is not cower,” he said. “I’m a free American. I can do what I want with my possessions.”
Representatives for the family of Trayvon Martin declined to comment on the auction, and instead issued a statement about their mission moving forward.
“The Trayvon Martin Foundation is committed to its mission of ending senseless gun violence in the United States,” the statement said. “This election season, we are laser focused on furthering that mission. As such, the foundation has no comment on the actions of that person.”
Zimmerman said he is using the proceeds of the gun auction to “fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of [Florida state attorney] Angela Correy's persecution career, and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric.”
In July 2013, a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of the unarmed Martin, who was 17-years-old. The defense invoked the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which does not require a someone to attempt retreat before using force in self-defense.
Zimmerman’s acquittal is often cited as the moment that launched the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Attorney General Eric Holder announcedthat the DOJ would not pursue charges against Zimmerman in February 2015, because “the high standard for federal hate crime prosecution” could not be met.
President Barack Obama spoke candidly about the case following Zimmerman’s 2013 acquittal.
“When Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Mr Obama said.
“And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognise that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
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