Bids for the gun used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin reached $65 million Friday after Internet trolls seemed to game George Zimmerman’s second attempt to auction off the firearm.
Bidding on the 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol began at $5,000 on the United Gun Group website.
The company released a statement defending its decision, apologizing to the Martin family for their loss but said it was their duty to uphold rights it said are awarded by the 2nd Amendment.
“Unless the law has been violated, it is the intention of United Gun Group to allow its members to use any of the available features. While not always popular, this is where we stand,” the statement said. “These are the principals this nation was founded on, and our goal is to do our part to defend liberty.
“We know that many lives have been forever impacted by the incident February 26, 2012, and we’re truly sorry to the Martin family for their loss.”
The company said it will have no further comment on the matter.
By Friday afternoon, the gun had received offers upwards of $65 million that were likely made by fake accounts.
The top bidder at one point was username “Racist McShootface,” while another account used the name Tamir Rice, which is the name of 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot by police while he carried a toy gun.
“Quit trolling it’s not worth it,” one person wrote, lambasting those who created fake accounts for “wasting their time.”
Proceeds from the sale would go to fight Black Lives Matter “violence against Law Enforcement officers,” to “ensure the demise” of the career of the State Attorney who charged him in Martin’s death and to end “Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric,” Zimmerman, 32, wrote.
Calling the weapon “a piece of American History,” Zimmerman said many have expressed interest in owning the gun, including The Smithsonian.
The museum has discredited this claim, saying in a statement “The Smithsonian has never expressed interest in collecting George Zimmerman’s firearm. The Smithsonian has no plans to ever collect or display this object in any of its museums.”
Zimmerman’s listing ended with “Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum,” Latin for "if you want peace, prepare for war."
This is Zimmerman’s second attempt to sell the gun, as GunBroker.com removed his listing Thursday.
In a text message to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman said the original auction site wasn't "prepared for the traffic and publicity surrounding the auction of my firearm."
But the site contended that "Mr. Zimmerman never contacted anyone at GunBroker.com prior to or after the listing was created and no one at GunBroker.com has any relationship with Zimmerman.
“Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing,” the site continued.
“We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving.”
The United Gun Group briefly pulled the auction from its site as well, but by Friday morning the auction was back on. Prospective buyers have four more days to place their bids.