Ohio Gun Group Raises Thousands For Zimmerman – But Not For New Gun

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UPDATED: Tuesday July 23, 2013 7:02 PM

Ohio gun rights advocates raised a lot of cash very quickly for George Zimmerman to purchase a new gun, but that's not what it will be used for, according to his legal team.

"It's well over $10,000," said Gerard Valentino from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.  "The U.S. Government has stepped in and taken his gun, and we don't feel that's right."

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation started asking for contributions Saturday.  The headline on their website read, "We're buying ZIMMERMAN a NEW GUN - We need your help."

It said contributions would be used for Zimmerman's "firearm, holster and other gear."

Zimmerman spokesman Shawn Vincent told 10TV that Zimmerman had been offered new guns by individuals and groups across the country.

"Many of these groups are just seeking publicity," Vincent said.  "A new gun is not the appropriate way to support George.  The appropriate way is to donate to the legal defense fund to help with his living expenses."

Vincent said Zimmerman is prepared to accept the check from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation with the understanding it will not be used to purchase a gun.

Late Tuesday, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation cut Zimmerman a Cashier's Check for $12,150.37.

"The plan was always to turn the money over to him and allow him to purchase the gun for his own safety," Valentino said.  

Zimmerman was acquitted, but evidence in the case, including the gun he used to shoot Trayvon Martin, were turned over to the federal government.

They're now investigating whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights when he shot the black teenager.

"They're bigoted, they see situational times when they can express their bigotry," said Sam Gresham from the Columbus Urban League.  "I think most see this as a race issue, as a symbol and an opportunity to express their feelings about African Americans in Ohio and across the country."

Gresham says contributions to Zimmerman were not made for a new gun and send a harmful message to African Americans.

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