After being booted by the first auction site he attempted to use, acquitted second-degree murder suspect George Zimmerman relisted the gun he used to kill unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, and the high bidder, as of Friday morning, was "Weedlord Bonerhitler,” who had bid over $65 million.
— thriftymaven (@thriftymaven) May 13, 2016
As soon as the auction launched on Thursday, the site went down. It was unclear if it was due to a targeted distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, or if the server was simply overloaded from high traffic.
"I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American firearm icon," the auction listing read. "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.”
On Friday morning, however, a bidding war had commenced by people mocking the auction with usernames including “Racist McShootface,” a not-so-thinly-veiled slur on Zimmerman’s stated cultural preferences, aiming to drive up the price and prevent real bids. The site eventually began blocking the users, and the previous high-bidder, “Weedlord Bonerhitler,” is now listed as a "deleted member.”
— James Garner (@im_jamesgarner) May 13, 2016
"Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing," a GunBroker statement read. "We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving."
Hours later, UnitedGunGroup announced that they would host the auction, with an opening bid of $5,000. When the auction went live, the site immediately crashed.
By Thursday evening, the website put out a statement saying they would no longer host the auction, but the sale remained active on their website.
"As an organization, we stand by the rule of law and, while no laws have been broken, we do not feel like it is in the best interest of the organization to continue to host this sale on our platform," it said.
"Our mission is to esteem the 2nd Amendment and provide a safe and secure platform for firearms enthusiasts and law-abiding citizens; our association with Mr. Zimmerman does not help us achieve that objective."
On Friday morning, the website issued another statement, contradicting what they had previously announced:
“United Gun Group exists as a pro-2nd Amendment platform for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights. As a company, we respect and honor the Constitution of the United States of America, the judgements of our judicial system, and follow the rule of the law. 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,” the new statement read.
“While not always popular, this is where we stand. 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 on February 26, 2012, and we're truly sorry to the Martin family for their loss. We will have no further comment on the matter.”
Trayvon Martin’s family, refusing to even speak their son’s killer’s name, has declined to comment on the “actions of that person.”
Family attorney Benjamin Crump told NBC News: “It's just shocking, it's shocking to me and it's shocking to everybody—and Trayvon to them is their child."
"To everybody else, it may be a cause or a hashtag, but this is their son. So somebody's actually talking about profiting from the loss of their child and it's just very hurtful to them,” Crump stated.
Zimmerman has promised that proceeds from the gun's sale will be used to "fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against law enforcement officers."
Zimmerman told local Florida station WOFL that, if the weapon does not sell, he will put it in a safe to “save for his grandkids.”
“If I sell it and it sells, I move past it," he told the station. "Otherwise, it's going in a safe for my grandkids never to be used or seen again."
The United Gun Group website remained down on Friday afternoon, but it is expected that the user behind “Weedlord Bonerhitler” will continue his bidding war with “Racist McShootface” when the server goes back online.