George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, will try again this week to sell the handgun he had used in the incident, after an earlier online auction was hijacked by fake buyers.
Zimmerman, acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the controversial case, told Reuters in an email Monday a new auction would begin on UnitedGunGroup.com at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday and end at noon the following day.
United Gun Group owner Todd Underwood told CNN on Monday that the website would continue to facilitate lawful sales despite the criticism it has faced for allowing Zimmerman to list his gun.
The former neighborhood watch volunteer sparked intense debate on social media last week when he offered to sell the Kel-Tec PF9 9mm handgun, which he described in the auction listing as “an American firearm icon” that he had used to defend his life against Martin.
Martin’s family has said the black 17-year-old was simply walking home after buying a drink and candy from a local store before his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. The case ignited debates on race relations, gun control and American justice.
A lawyer for the family denounced Zimmerman’s effort to sell the gun, and another auction site, GunBroker.com, rejected the listing.
Two of America’s leading auctioneers of guns said they also had refused on ethical grounds to handle the sale after Zimmerman called their establishments recently hoping to consign the gun with them.
Bidding on the gun during an initial auction on UnitedGunGroup.com topped $65 million on Friday, apparently inflated by bogus buyers with names such as “Racist McShootFace.”
The United Gun Group said in a statement on Facebook on Saturday that Zimmerman had temporarily withdrawn the auction to remove the false bidders but planned to relist “his property” this week.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins)