George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is continuing his attempts to auction the gun he used to kill the unarmed black teen despite three failed attempts in three days.
Two gun-selling websites removed the auction, saying they didn't want to be part of the negative publicity and halting the sale. News of the possible sale caused furor online from critics who called it an opportunistic and insensitive decision by the man acquitted of killing Martin.
Managers of one of the websites later changed their minds and decided to host the auction after all, but the auction was then pulled for a third time because of false bids.
That company said in a statement Zimmerman still plans to post the gun for auction later this week.
Zimmerman first posted the 9mm for auction Wednesday night on GunBroker.com, but it was removed from the site Thursday morning, just minutes before the bidding was supposed to begin.
Moments later, Zimmerman posted the gun on a different website, telling the Orlando Sentinel the first site had not been "prepared for the traffic and publicity surrounding the auction."
GunBroker.com, however, told the paper in a statement that the company wants, "no part in the listing on our website or in any of the publicity it is receiving."
The gun was then placed for auction at UnitedGunGroup.com with the same starting bid of $5,000. But moments after auction was posted, the website became unavailable for hours, preventing any bids from being submitted.
By Thursday evening, the company issued a statement saying it had decided to terminate the action because, "we do not feel like it is in the best interest of the organization."
"Our mission is to esteem the 2nd amendment and provide a safe and secure platform for firearms enthusiasts and law-abiding citizens," they wrote. "Our association with Mr. Zimmerman does not help us achieve that objective."
On Friday, the company changed its mind and deleted the previous tweet. It followed up by stating it would allow its members to use its service, and that, "we're truly sorry for to the Martin family for their loss."
But the posting was soon flooded by obviously fake accounts and bids, at one point reaching $65 million, NBC News reported. One bidder went by the name, "Racist McShootFace."
Zimmerman told Fox 35 in Orlando on Wednesday he had recently had the gun returned to him from the Department of Justice, and decided to put it up for sale.
"I thought it was time to move past the firearm," Zimmerman told the station. "If I sell it, and it sells, I move past it."
In the original posting, Zimmerman called the weapon "an American Firearm Icon."
"The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin," the description of the weapon reads.
"Now is your opportunity to own a piece of American history," he added.
Zimmerman's attempt to sell the weapon is not the first time that Zimmerman has looked to online bidding to make money after the high-profile and controversial shooting.
The 32-year-old was acquitted in July 2013 of the deadly shooting, and later that year sold a painting on eBay for more than $100,000.
Zimmerman wrote that a portion of the sale's proceeds would be used to "fight BLM [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers" and fight Hillary Clinton's "anti-firearm rhetoric."
Trayvon Martin's death sparked a national discussion about race and was one of the first in a series of shootings of young black males that sparked protests in the country.
Asked by Fox 35 about critics who would see his actions as "wrong," Zimmerman said, "I couldn't care less."
"They're not going to be bidding on it," he said. "I'm a free American. I can do what I like with my possessions."
Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, had no comment on Zimmerman's actions.
"The Trayvon Martin Foundation is committed to its mission of ending senseless gun violence in the United States," Tracy Martin wrote in a statement. "We are laser focused on furthering that mission. As such, the foundation has no comment on the actions of [George Zimmerman]."
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at email@example.com.
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