Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Zimmerman trying to auction gun used to kill Trayvon Martin

Published:Thursday | May 12, 2016 | 5:33 PM
In this Tuesday, November 19, 2013, file photo, George Zimmerman, acquitted in the high-profile killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, listens in court, in Sanford, Florida.

MIAMI (AP):
An online gun auction website yanked George Zimmerman's ad to sell the pistol he used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, saying it wanted no part in the deal, but a second site offered to post it.

A listing for the weapon was removed from the GunBroker.com site this morning, minutes after the auction was to begin, as negative traffic about the sale exploded online.

In a statement posted on its website, GunBroker.com said listings are user generated, and that the company reserved the right to reject listings at its discretion.

Zimmerman never contacted anyone at the site and no one there "has any relationship with Zimmerman," the company wrote in its statement.

It added, "We want no part in the listing on our website or in any of the publicity it is receiving."

Hours later, United Gun Group tweeted that it would post Zimmerman's ad. The new link was posted, along with a statement from Zimmerman. However, the site apparently went down a few minutes later. The site calls itself a "social market place for the firearms community."

Critics called the planned auction an insensitive move to profit from the slaying.

PHOTO: In this June 28, 2013, file photo, Sanford police officer Timothy Smith holds up the gun that was used to kill Trayvon Martin, while testifying in the George Zimmerman trial, in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman had told Orlando, Florida, TV station WOFL that the pistol was returned to him by the US Justice Department, which took it after he was acquitted in Martin's 2012 shooting death.

The auction for the 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol was to begin at 11 a.m. EDT today and end 24 hours later.

Zimmerman's listing said a portion of the proceeds would 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 state attorney Angela Corey, who led Zimmerman's prosecution.

The listing ended with a Latin phrase that translates as "if you want peace, prepare for war."

Zimmerman, now 32, has said he was defending himself when he 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 Martin's February 2012 shooting death. The case sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to prosecute Zimmerman on civil rights charges