Right-wing media is disingenuously suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder has disarmed George Zimmerman amid reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is holding all evidence -- including the gun used to kill Trayvon Martin -- from the Zimmerman trial as part of an ongoing civil rights investigation.
According to The Drudge Report, Zimmerman "can't have his gun back":
Zimmerman, who was acquitted on July 13 of charges of unlawfully killing 17-year-old Martin, is allowed to own a firearm because he is not disqualified from doing so under state and federal law and the current hold on evidence does not prevent him from buying another weapon.
Zimmerman reportedly already owned more than one handgun before the February 2012 shooting. Commenting on the handgun used to kill Martin, Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara, told CBS, “that particular weapon, he should never carry again. There's no reason to carry a weapon that's already killed somebody.”
Still, right-wing media sensationalized the evidence hold to attack Holder. Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller wrote on July 18, “Attorney General Eric Holder has confiscated George Zimmerman's gun,” before suggesting that the seizure was part of Holder's “transparent effort to fan the flames of racial divide.” According to Miller, Holder “is stomping all over the Constitution” by violating Zimmerman's Second and Fourth Amendment rights.
At the same time, Miller's column, bluntly titled “Eric Holder steals George Zimmerman's gun,” noted, “There is nothing stopping Mr. Zimmerman from passing a FBI background check to buy a new firearm -- and perhaps he has done so already.”
Townhall news editor Kative Pavlich, who is also a Fox News contributor, wrote a July 19 article titled, “DOJ: George Zimmerman Won't Be Getting His Gun Back,” that distorted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s views on whether he should carry a gun for self-defense by comparing the Zimmerman evidence hold to when the civil rights movement leader “was denied a concealed weapon permit just because.”
According to Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft, Zimmerman's acquittal “wasn't enough for the Obama Administration” so “DOJ has seized George Zimmerman's gun, without charge!” Writing for Breitbart, AWR Hawkins noted, “Although George Zimmerman was found 'not guilty' by a jury of his peers in the self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin, Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to give Zimmerman's gun back.”
Conservative media have continually used the Zimmerman trial as a platform to attack Holder. Between July 16 and 17, a substantial number of Fox News anchors and contributors pushed the falsehood that Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law played no role in Zimmerman's acquittal in order to attack Holder for opposing such laws. In fact, an anonymous Zimmerman juror told CNN host Anderson Cooper that Stand Your Ground, in part, provided a legal justification for Zimmerman's actions.