George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain acquitted of murder charges in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, said Wednesday he is auctioning off the gun used in the shooting.
“I recently received it back from the Department of Justice. They took it after my trial, after I was exonerated,” Zimmerman told Fox 35 Orlando.
Zimmerman told the station the he’s received numerous death threats while in hiding and has received much more after putting the 9mm pistol that was used to kill Martin on Feb. 26, 2012 up for auction.
“What I’ve decided to do is not cower,” he told Fox 35 Orlando. “I’m a free American. I can do what I want with my possessions.”
An attorney for Martin’s family declined to specifically comment on Zimmerman, but did issue a statement to Fox 35 Orlando Wednesday.
“The Trayvon Martin Foundation is committed to its mission of ending senseless gun violence in the United States. This election, season, we are laser focused on furthering that mission. As such, the foundation has no comment on the actions of that person.”
The station reported that the starting bid for Zimmerman’s weapon is set at $5,000. He is auctioning it through GunBroker.com, where the item description claims “a portion of the proceeds will be used to fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of Angela Correy’s persecution career and Hillary Clinton’s anti-firearm rhetoric.”
Zimmerman added that “many have expressed interest in owning and displaying the firearm including The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.”
“This is a piece of American History. It has been featured in several publications and in current University text books. Offers to purchase the Firearm have been received; however, the offers were to use the gun in a fashion I did not feel comfortable with,” he wrote.
Zimmerman also claims that the Department of Justice tried to make the gun inoperable, but insists that the weapon remains fully functional and it will come with a letter of authenticity.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in death of Trayvon Martin in July 2013. The Justice Department determined last February that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Zimmerman with a hate crime in the shooting.
The acquittal is said to have started the Black Lives Matter movement.
The auction is set to go live on Thursday at 11 a.m.