Organizers of a gun advocacy forum in Viera, Fla., removed from their raffle a 9mm semi-automatic handgun — the same model that George Zimmerman used in the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin.
According to TIME Politics, The Gun Rights Preservation Forum had originally intended to raffle off a copy of the Bible and a Kel-Tec PF-9 during an event with George Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara.
However, O’Mara suggested that this might not be the best fundraising idea.
O’Mara is still scheduled to appear at the organization’s event on Nov. 4, reported The Blaze. The raffle is likely to be rescheduled, and the handgun has been removed from the raffle altogether.
“The right thing to do is to postpone the raffle,” Bob White, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida, told USA Today.
White also stated that he had no idea that the handgun was the same model that Zimmerman had used when the fundraiser was announced, and that the organization was only trying to support the Kel-Tec gun manufacturer.
“We have no doubt that George Zimmerman used this weapon legally in the defense of his own life,” White said in a statement to Florida Today. “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.”
White also stated that holding the raffle during the event with O’Mara might distract from their goal of advocating Second Amendment rights.
“At the same time, it could potentially cause needless additional heartache for the parents of Trayvon Martin,” he said. “Nothing good could come from such a thoughtless act.”
White added that the event which normal draws in 50 to 60 people is expecting a crowd of 200 this year. All proceeds from the raffle will go toward lobbying and public education projects, The Blaze reported.