George Zimmerman, acquitted in July 2013 at the age of 29 of killing teenager Trayvon Martin with a Kel-Tec 9 mm pistol, was a special guest of the company on Thursday when he toured the Kel-Tec plant in Cocoa, Fla. Given a standing ovation by the gathered plant workers as he entered the building, Zimmerman blushed and lifted his jacket to show off his holstered pistol for all and sundry to admire.
Only an hour’s drive away from Sanford, the gated community where Martin was killed, the Kel-Tec visit presages a coast-to-coast book tour and scores of appearances on national and local talk shows to shill it. Zimmerman took a tour of the assembly plant and was happy to be photographed alongside various workers and the company’s CEO and Chief engineer George Kellgren. When asked about the legality of purchasing a shotgun while visiting the plant, Kellgren told Zimmerman that although weapons were not available for purchase on site, per sé, they would help him find a discount retail outlet in the immediate Sanford area.
Quizzed by TMZ and The Washington Post, the PR people for Kel-Tec were not immediately available for comment, but the Kel-Tec web site says that although weapons are not sold at the plant, “Special arrangements can sometimes be made for military, law enforcement, or educational purposes.” Indeed, when contacted by email by regular citizens, the folks at Kel-Tec were happy to spread the gospel of the Concealed-Carry Law that has made inroads in all fifty states. Since the infamous Martin incident, the third largest manufacturer of handguns in the U.S., Mr. Kellgren’s company has seen its sales increase “by more than six figures.”
Since the Trayvon Martin incident, and after a number of well-publicized tragedies involving various loner psychopaths, sales of handguns have skyrocketed all over the U.S. Sales have increased by an estimated 400% between 2012 and 2013. At the same time, while liberals have attempted to sew political panic about lax gun laws, ‘constitutionalists’ have quietly passed a number of laws freeing ordinary citizens to own weapons of their own. While there is no federal law which specifically addresses the issuing of concealed carry permits, all 50 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government or police. Illinois had been the last holdout state, but its long-standing ban on concealed weapons was overturned on constitutional grounds by a federal appeals court on July 9, 2013.
Meanwhile, in the days after his acquittal, Zimmerman went into hiding. Interviewed on the Today show, his lead attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that his client had no regrets about carrying a gun the night he killed Martin and that Zimmerman intended to rearm himself and “needs it now more than ever… Really, there are a lot of people out there who actually hate him, though they shouldn’t,” said O’Mara. Thus Zimmerman, who was acquitted by a jury of six women who found he acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed teenager in February 2012, feels the need to protect himself all the more.
‘Hiding’ in Zimmerman’s case must be a metaphorical exaggeration as, less than a week later, he was one of two Samaritans to come to the aid of Dana and Mark Gerstle and their two children, who were trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after exiting the Sanford highway exit at too high a rate of speed.
Then, only a week later in Forney, Texas, Zimmerman was pulled over by a state highway patrolman for accelerating way over the speed limit. According to TMZ, Zimmerman can be heard on the police dashboard camera video telling the officer he has a gun in his glove compartment. After Zimmerman was checked for outstanding warrants, he was let go with a verbal warning. But not before the officer had his photograph taken with Mr. Zimmerman and asked him if he’d be interested in speaking at an upcoming fundraiser for the local NRA (National Rifle Association).
George’s wife and business manager, Shellie, charged with perjuring herself to the court over Web fundraising activities after claiming they were broke and in need of pro bono legal assistance in June 2012, was reported to have told reporter Barbara Walters that estimated book sales meant they could demand bidding for his memoirs to start at US$5m from major American publishers.