Organizers of a gun rights forum are postponing a raffle they were planning to hold during an event with George Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara after finding out that the handgun they were going to give away is the same model Zimmerman used to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin.
Defense counsel Mark O'Mara addresses the jury during closing arguments in George Zimmerman's murder trial July 12, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. (Getty Images)
The Gun Rights Preservation Forum was planning to raffle off the gun and a copy of the Bible until O'Mara brought up concerns about the firearm, a Kel-Tec PF-9, Bob White, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida, told USA Today.
O'Mara's speaking engagement is still set for Nov. 4. The raffle will now likely take place in December.
"The right thing to do is to postpone the raffle," White told USA Today, noting that they had just been trying to support Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc., a local manufacturer.
White said he hadn't been aware that the firearm was the same model Zimmerman used when the raffle was first announced.
"We have no doubt that George Zimmerman used this weapon legally in the defense of his own life. Certainly, its use prevented further serious bodily harm to himself, and he may very well have saved his own life by its use," White wrote in an email to Florida Today. "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."
In the email, White said holding the raffle during the O'Mara event would "accomplish no useful purpose" and would possibly distract from the forum's goal of having a discussion about Second Amendment rights.
"At the same time, it could potentially cause needless additional heartache for the parents of Trayvon Martin. Nothing good could come from such a thoughtless act," he wrote.
White told Florida Today he was initially expecting the event to draw 200 people, up from the 50 to 60 they typically see.
White previously told the newspaper O'Mara would be receiving the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida’s annual Jefferson Cup Award, which is given to a person who speaks "truth to power." O'Mara is being honored mainly for his role in the Zimmerman case.
The money from the raffle will help raise funds for lobbying and public education projects. Tickets were $15 or five for $50, Florida Today reported.
(H/T: USA Today)