Former Florida neighborhood watch George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the high-profile shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has launched an online auction in an attempt to sell the firearm he used.
Zimmerman, 32, had initially posted his offer on the website GunBroker.com with the auction set to start at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. Minutes before the start time, however, GunBroker.com decided to remove the listing, saying in a later statement that it wants no part in the auction.
Hours later, Zimmerman re-listed his offer on the United Gun Group website, but no bids were placed within the first 4 hours. The group’s website later went down, but it was not immediately clear what caused the outage.
The starting price for the firearm has been set at $5,000.
“I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American Firearm Icon,” Zimmerman said in his offer. “The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012. The gun is a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm. It has recently been returned to me by the Department of Justice.”
The post also claimed that the Smithsonian Institution had previously expressed interest in owning and displaying the firearm at a museum in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian denied that claim, saying it never expressed interest and has no plans to ever collect or display the firearm.
Zimmerman was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder in 2012 after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had told a 911 operator that Trayvon was acting suspicious but, despite being told to stay in his vehicle, got out of his SUV to confront the teen. Zimmerman claims he was being attacked by Trayvon when he opened fire.
The shooting prompted allegations that Zimmerman – who is half Hispanic – was motivated by racism, a claim which has been denied by Zimmerman’s relatives, friends and supporters who say he was unfairly vilified by the media. The investigation was complicated by Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of being killed or suffer serious injuries.
Zimmerman was eventually acquitted of second-degree murder and a lesser charge of manslaughter.
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