May 12, 2016 - 8:30 AM
SANFORD, Fla. - Former Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is auctioning off the pistol he used in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.
In an interview with Orlando, Florida, TV station WOFL, Zimmerman said he had just gotten the pistol back from the U.S. Justice Department, which took it after he was acquitted in Martin's 2012 shooting death.
"And I thought it's time to move past the firearm," Zimmerman told the station. "And if I sell it and it sells, I move past it. Otherwise, it's going in a safe for my grandkids and never to be used or seen again."
The auction listing on GunBroker.com lists the gun as a 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol. The auction begins at 11 a.m. EDT Thursday and ends at the same time Friday. The bidding starts at $5,000.
The auction listing also says a portion of the proceeds will go toward fighting what Zimmerman calls violence by the Black Lives Matter movement against law enforcement officers, combatting anti-gun rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and ending the career of Angela Corey, the attorney who led the prosecution against Zimmerman.
The listing ends with a Latin phrase that translates as "if you want peace, prepare for war."
When asked what he thought of people who would be opposed to auctioning the gun, Zimmerman said, "They're not going to be bidding on it, so I couldn't care less about them."
Zimmerman, now 32, has said he was defending himself when he shot and killed Martin, 17, in a gated community near Orlando. Martin, who lived in Miami with his mother, was visiting his father at the time.
Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, was acquitted in the February 2012 shooting death of Martin in a case that sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.
Since then, Zimmerman has been charged with assault based on complaints from two girlfriends. In both cases, the girlfriends refused to co-operate and charges were dropped. His estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, also accused him of smashing her iPad during an argument days after she filed divorce papers. No charges were filed because of lack of evidence. They were officially divorced in January.
"The Trayvon Martin Foundation is committed to its mission of ending senseless gun violence in the United States," read a statement provided by the office of attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the Martin family. The statement was attributed to Tracy Martin, the teenager's father. "This election season, we are laser focused on furthering that mission. As such, the foundation has no comment on the actions of that person."
David S. Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor, said it appears Zimmerman is within his rights to sell the gun through an online auction at the Gunbroker website. Although only licensed firearms dealers are permitted to sell guns across state lines, the auction site Zimmerman plans to use transfers the weapons from sellers to buyers through licensed dealers, according to its website.
"By using Gunbroker as the intermediary he is in compliance," Weinstein said. "I can't think of any legal reason why he can't sell the gun."
Zimmerman said he has received death threats but has decided not to cower.
"I'm a free American," he said. "I can do what I want with my possessions."
News from © The Associated Press, 2016