Bids for Zimmerman gun rocket into millions

May 13, 2016 1:28 pm
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Trayvon Martin was fatally shot as he was walking home with iced tea and candy in February 2012/AFP
Trayvon Martin was fatally shot as he was walking home with iced tea and candy in February 2012/AFP

, WASHINGTON, May 13 – A website auction of the gun used by a neighbourhood watchman to kill an unarmed black teenager in the United States in 2012 quickly climbed into millions of dollars Friday.

Nationwide protests erupted after George Zimmerman shot dead Trayvon Martin in what he said was self defence, but the teenager’s family and friends claimed was a racist murder.

Zimmerman’s trial and subsequent acquittal exposed the deep racial fissures in US society.

Overview
  • Online bids for the gun, which had an initial reserve price of $5,000 - already far above the market value of a secondhand weapon - rocketed overnight Thursday and into Friday after it was listed on unitedgungroup.com, with five days left to go in the sale.
  • However, it was difficult to verify the validity of the bids, with participants using obvious pseudonyms and seemingly bidding against themselves as the price climbed past $53 million.
  • Zimmerman advertised the gun as "the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin" and called the sale "your opportunity to own a piece of American history."

Online bids for the gun, which had an initial reserve price of $5,000 – already far above the market value of a secondhand weapon – rocketed overnight Thursday and into Friday after it was listed on unitedgungroup.com, with five days left to go in the sale.

However, it was difficult to verify the validity of the bids, with participants using obvious pseudonyms and seemingly bidding against themselves as the price climbed past $53 million.

The auction site did not appear to have any restrictions on who could bid for the weapon and did not request down payments.

Zimmerman advertised the gun as “the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin” and called the sale “your opportunity to own a piece of American history.”

“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,” Zimmerman’s listing said, apparently referring to President Barack Obama.

“I am proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds will be used to: fight BLM (Black Lives Matter) violence against Law Enforcement officers,” he wrote.

The Black Lives Matter movement grew out of the killings of a number of young black men across the country, many at the hands of police officers who were not subsequently charged.

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