News Journal has reported this story and what the shop owner is saying about it:
DELAND – The DeLand gun shop owner who offered George Zimmerman a free handgun to replace the one being held as evidence by the Department of Justice said he is now receiving death threats.
Pat Johnson, who is president of Pompano Pat’s, told the News-Journal on Sunday that “the violence needs to end” and that his offer to give Zimmerman a replacement Kel-Tec PF-9 is neither racially nor politically motivated. Nor, Johnson said, is it a publicity stunt. But a local religious leader said the offer is only ramping up tension.
The offer was made after Johnson said he heard media reports that federal authorities were holding Zimmerman’s gun pending further investigation.
“This is so he (Zimmerman) can protect himself,” Johnson said. “Regardless of what side you are on, he was found not guilty and he has the right to live his life.”
Johnson, in the letter he sent Thursday to attorney Mark O’Mara, said, “We have read numerous reports of death threats against your client and believe no good would come from harming him.” Johnson said he has not heard back from O’Mara.
But Daytona Beach Rev. L. Ronald Durham, pastor of the Greater Friendship Baptist Church, said the offer is inciting racism rather than quelling it.
“There is no question he’s increasing the tension,” Durham said.
The “life lesson” that should have been learned by all through this tragic incident is that situations where a fatal shooting could be the result should be avoided, Durham said.
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