Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense in 2012, should not have had a gun.
“The man who killed Trayvon Martin should have never had a gun in the first place,” Clinton said during a speech at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
The Democratic presidential candidate commented on the high-profile case after introducing Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, who has endorsed Clinton for president.
It’s unclear why Clinton believes Zimmerman should not have been allowed to have a firearm. There was nothing in his past — no felonies or mental health issues — that would have prevented him from legally buying a gun prior to the Feb. 26, 2012 incident that left Martin dead.
Zimmerman also served as a neighborhood watchman at the time of the shooting. He signed up for the role after a string of burglaries in his neighborhood, a gated community where Martin’s father also lived. Though Zimmerman was not on duty at the time he encountered Martin, he had a concealed carry permit and was legally allowed to carry a gun with him in public.
Clinton has been critical of what she says are relaxed gun control laws in the U.S. None of her proposals, however, would prevent a person with Zimmerman’s background prior to the shooting from owning and carrying a gun. She has not proposed any changes to concealed carry laws.
Zimmerman went on trial for murder and manslaughter for the shooting. But a jury of six acquitted Zimmerman in 2013 based on evidence that showed that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and assaulting him when he was shot in the chest. He has said in various interviews that he shot Martin in self defense out of fear that he would be killed or severely injured.
But Clinton glossed over that issue as well, asserting that Zimmerman shot Martin for no reason at all.
“Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, shot and killed in Florida just for walking through the development where his own father lived,” Clinton said.
Zimmerman has become the center of several police investigations since his July 2013 acquittal. His ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend have accused him of brandishing guns. And last year, a motorist shot at Zimmerman in Lake Mary, Fla.
The suspect was charged with attempted second-degree murder.