Following the conclusion of the trial resulting in a not guilty verdict and under Florida state law, George Zimmerman, being a free man, has the right to have his gun, the Kel-Tec PF9 he used to shoot Trayvon Martin, returned to him. However, before the Sanford Police Department released any evidence this week, which includes Zimmerman’s gun, the Justice Department stepped in and ordered the police department not to release any of the evidence from the case.
The hold indicated that the Department of Justice will continue the investigation into whether or not Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights, despite a jury already determining that Zimmerman’s actions were justified by reason of self-defense. In addition, the FBI already determined that there was no indication of Zimmerman displaying racial bias.
According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the case needs to be rehashed, despite what the justice system has already ruled, in order to “alleviate tensions, address community concerns and promote healing.” And apparently the best way to do that is to somehow prove that Zimmerman shot Martin because he is a racist. In fact, the DoJ has gone so far as to set up an email account where people can submit tips, opinions, suggestions or anything else that would help them build a civil rights or hate crime case against Zimmerman.
If the Justice Department continues to allege that Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights and follows through with a lawsuit, he will likely lose his right to carry a firearm if indeed found guilty.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, openly expressed to NBC News earlier this week that Zimmerman had even more of a reason to want or need to carry a gun now, as death threats abound not only Zimmerman, but his family as well.
Of course, legally Zimmerman has the right to go purchase a new gun instead of fighting to get back the gun from evidence, which O’Mara says he thinks should be destroyed anyway. Given the fact that the police department is not likely to handle the firearm with as much care and consideration as its owner, among other things, this author is inclined to agree. And although Zimmerman has made no public mention of wanting his gun returned, one would speculate that he possibly just wants to put the whole nightmarish ordeal behind him, PF9 and all.
Certainly, one would have to wonder, with the Department of Justice pushing so hard to revoke Zimmerman of his Second Amendment rights, how the FBI would react if the name “George Zimmerman” turned up on an NICS background check for purchasing a firearm, even if it wasn’t that George Zimmerman.