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Smithsonian: No, We Did Not Try to Buy the Gun that Killed Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman is auctioning the handgun he used to shoot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, and says the Smithsonian was interested.

by Derek Mead
May 12 2016, 2:25pm

The gun in question during trial in June 2013. Image: Getty

Last night, news made the rounds that George Zimmerman is auctioning the handgun he used to shoot Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

The verified auction reads precisely as you'd expect, considering Zimmerman has used his killing of an unarmed teen to build a mid-grade personal brand revolving around gun rights. (Sample quote: "Prospective bidders, I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of 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 on 2/26/2012.")

A screenshot of Zimmerman's listing.

Zimmerman has set the starting bid for his Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm, which is one of the myriad no-name cheap pistols available for a few hundred bucks in the US, at $5,000.

But more curious is Zimmerman's assertion that the Smithsonian Museum expressed interest "in owning and displaying the firearm." So, was the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old whose death became a flashpoint for the civil rights movement, enough to elevate a cut-rate pistol into a Smithsonian-worthy piece of history?

No, the institution says.

"We have expressed no interest in collecting the gun, it will never be on display, and we have no interest in ever collecting the gun," an exasperated-sounding public relations official with the Smithsonian told me this morning.

There were 6,404 handgun homicides in the US in 2012. Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder charges by a Florida jury, has a day left on his auction.