Fla. city where George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin reportedly moves to ban neighborhood watch volunteers from carrying guns

George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Sanford, Fla.
AP Photo
(CBS) SANFORD, Fla. - The Florida city where neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin last year is moving towards prohibiting such volunteers from carrying guns while on duty, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

The paper reports that according to police department spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly, the policy change was requested by Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith to better regulate the city's civilian watch programs.

"We never encouraged people to carry guns," Cordingly said.

The new rules are expected to be announced at a community meeting Tuesday, Nov. 5, reports the paper.

Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during an altercation on Feb. 26, 2012 in a gated community. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he shot the teen in self-defense. His July 13 acquittal prompted rallies nationwide calling for a civil rights probe, and the case has sparked debate about race and self-defense laws.

Matt Peskin, the executive director of the National Association of Town Watch, told CBS News' Crimesiderin August that the first thing taught in neighborhood watch training is: "Don't carry a weapon and don't get involved."

"You're not allowed to carry a weapon and you're not allowed to get physically involved," Peskin said of neighborhood watch groups. "I've always known neighborhood watch groups to preach, 'Don't get in a confrontation.' If there's something you see, you call [police] and you wait for instructions."

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider


Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App