Raffling off the same model gun that George Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin might not have been the most sensitive fundraising idea.
The Gun Rights Preservation Forum had planned to raffle off a bible and a Kel-Tec PF-9 — the same 9mm semi-automatic handgun model that Zimmerman used to fatally shoot Trayvon Martin last year in the case that captivated that nation — at a Nov. 4 fundraiser in Viera, Fla., where Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara is the keynote speaker.
Forum host Bob White, the chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida, told Florida Today that the group thought it appropriate to support a local manufacturer as part of the upcoming fundraiser, and the raffle and forum raises money to support lobbying efforts for personal liberty issues. He said that he had not been aware that the gun was the same model that killed the 17-year-old Martin.
But after news of the gun raffle kicked up controversy, organizers decided to postpone the raffle until early December. Raffle participants were assured that their tickets are still valid and that they could still win the gun. White gave this statement to Florida Today:
We have no doubt that George Zimmerman used this weapon legally in the defense of his own life. Certainly, its use prevented further serious bodily harm to himself, and he may very well have saved his own life by its use. We also recognize, though, that another life was lost in the process, and we do have empathy for the parents of Trayvon Martin. Losing their son was tragic, regardless of the circumstances.
Zimmerman was acquitted earlier this year in Martin’s death, ending a high-profile case that ignited debate about race, guns, and self-defense laws.