UPDATE (12pm ET): The gun used to kill Trayvon Martin has been removed from a gun auction site following widespread outrage.
The weapon was removed from the GunBroker.com website Thursday, minutes before the auction was set to begin. It was not immediately clear why the website took down the listing. Global News has reached out to GunBroker.com for comment.
Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman attempted to auction off what he described as an “American firearm icon” – otherwise known as the gun used in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
“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,” read the auction listing for the 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol on GunBroker.com, which has since been removed.
According to the listing, the handgun was recently returned to Zimmerman by the Department of Justice and still has the case number written on it in silver permanent marker. The listing claims many have expressed interest in owning the gun, including the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
Smithsonian spokesman John Gibbons denied any interest in the pistol.
“The Smithsonian has never expressed an interest in collecting this firearm and has no intention of collecting or displaying this firearm,” Gibbons said.
“This is a piece of American History,” the listing continued. “The firearm is fully functional as the attempts by the Department of Justice on behalf of B. Hussein Obama to render the firearm inoperable were thwarted by my phenomenal Defense Attorney.”
Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in February 2012 during a confrontation inside a gated community outside of Orlando, Florida. Martin, who was black, was unarmed when he was killed. Zimmerman, who is white, maintains that he acted in self-defence. The shooting sparked heated protests and a national debate about race relations now known as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder by a state jury in July 2013; however, Martin’s family turned to the federal investigation in hopes that he would be held accountable for the shooting.
In 2015, three years after Martin’s death, the U.S. federal government says there was insufficient evidence to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
In May 2015, Zimmerman suffered minor injuries after Matthew Apperson fired shots into Zimmerman’s truck. The auction listing also said a portion of the proceeds will go toward fighting what Zimmerman calls “violence by the Black Lives Matter movement” and combatting anti-gun rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“On this day, 5/11/2016 exactly one year after the shooting attempt to end my life by BLM sympathizer Matthew Apperson I am proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds will be used to: fight BLM violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of Angela Correy’s persecution career and Hillary Clinton’s anti-firearm rhetoric,” reads the description.
The listing ends with a Latin phrase that translates as “if you want peace, prepare for war.”
“The Trayvon Martin Foundation is committed to its mission of ending senseless gun violence in the United States,” read a statement from Martin’s father Tracy Martin.
“This election season, we are laser focused on furthering that mission. As such, the foundation has no comment on the actions of that person.”
Online reaction to the auction listing quickly began pouring in. By Thursday morning, “George Zimmerman” was trending on Twitter as many, including celebrities, shared their reaction to the listing.
The auction was scheduled to start Thursday morning at $5,000. It was not immediately clear why the website took down the listing. Global News has reached out to GunBroker.com for comment.
– With files from The Associated Press