As the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin continues, relatively little has come out about the weapon in question. Even less is known about how it was used and at what point George Zimmerman decided to fire it.
According to a Orlando Sentinel report on Monday, police said a single shot was fired as Martin pounded on Zimmerman while the two were fighting, and the bullet hit Martin in the chest. According to a police report, Zimmerman said he had shot Martin and was still armed. An officer found his weapon, a black Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm semi-automatic pistol, in a holster placed on his waistband. As Zimmerman was taken for questioning, the gun was taken from him and placed in police evidence. Demonstrators have demanded that Zimmerman’s gun license be revoked, but state statutes prohibit revealing the status of his permit.
The weapon, manufactured by Cocoa, Fla.-based Kel-Tec CNC, is a well-known device and not uncommon for police and private ownership, according to Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk, a Sirius XM radio show. “The particular model is a popular one for concealed carry,” he says. “It’s a simple firearm, there is nothing unusual about it. This would be a gun any police officer would carry for personal protection.” A concealed carry permit allows a person to carry a gun or other weapon in a covered manner, either on his person or elsewhere, like in his glove compartment.
It weighs about 12 oz. unloaded, has a five-pound trigger pull and has an automatic hammer block safety, which prevents it from firing when dropped. It is also “double-action only,” which means the trigger must be pulled fully in order to fire. In his ownership of the weapon, Zimmerman is not unlike millions of other licensed gun owners.
But when it comes to exactly why Trayvon Martin was killed, and whether Zimmerman firing the weapon was justified, the case enters a cloudy area. “It seems pretty clear to me that ‘Stand Your Ground’ is irrelevant in this case,” Gresham says. “People call my show and ask all the time, ‘What should I do?’ If you are in fear of your life or great bodily harm, you are in most states justified” in using deadly force.
“Ask any police officer. What you do is shoot the attacker,” he says. “You have to get the attacker to stop because the next blow could kill you. But I want to emphasize that’s if what we are being told is true. We don’t know everything. All we can work with is what evidence is presented.”
Meanwhile, acting Sanford Police Chief Darren Scott announced an internal investigation into how Zimmerman’s statement to police was leaked to the Sentinel. The same leak also revealed that Martin had been suspended from school for possession of an empty marijuana baggie. His family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, has said the expulsion is irrelevant to the case.”Whatever Trayvon Martin was suspended for had absolutely no bearing on what happened the night of February 26th,” he said.
Scott said his department is not currently handling the case. “I can’t pass judgment on anyone right now, so we are going to allow the outcome of this investigation by the state’s attorney’s office.”