Hackers angry that an Ohio gun-rights organization raised money to buy George Zimmerman a new gun launched a cyber-attack that disabled the Buckeye Firearms Association's website. Ken Hanson, the association's legislative director, said members began receiving phone calls and threats shortly before the website crashed on Wednesday. An anonymous tweet also indicated responsibility, he said today.
Hackers angry that an Ohio gun-rights organization raised money to buy George Zimmerman a new gun launched a cyber-attack that disabled the Buckeye Firearms Association’s website.
Ken Hanson, the association’s legislative director, said members began receiving phone calls and threats shortly before the website crashed on Wednesday. An anonymous tweet also indicated responsibility, he said today.
The gun-rights group had been in the news after its charitable arm, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, said this week that it had collected donations in excess of $12,000 — far more than the original goal of $1,000 — to send to Zimmerman.
“It doesn’t take a leap of faith to say this is related,” Hanson said. “It was in response to the fundraiser.”
The gun Zimmerman fired in the killing of Trayvon Martin is being held by the U.S. Justice Department as part of its civil-rights investigation into the shooting. The foundation says that violates the rights of Zimmerman, a Florida man who was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of the unarmed black teen.
Hanson said the web-attack is being investigated by the FBI and by a local law-enforcement agency, which he declined to identify. The association’s web server is not in Delaware, Ohio, where the group is based.
He said the attack also temporarily affected the communications of other businesses, including a hospital.
Jim Irvine, chairman of the association, said the website likely will be down until next week as investigators work the case and the organization improves its online security. Members are communicating through email and Facebook.
Irvine said members knew that aiding Zimmerman would be controversial. “We’ve heard from some of our supporters who said, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t be getting involved with this.’ But the majority said, ‘Thanks for stepping up.’ ’’
He said the foundation acted only after the conclusion of the criminal case against Zimmerman. “I don’t think it was appropriate for us to get involved when he was an accused murderer,” Irvine said.
Once the foundation decided to send Zimmerman money for a new gun, donations poured in from 48 states and three countries, Irvine said. Leftover money could be used for a security system or to help with Zimmerman’s legal bills.
Irvine said the check was sent this week. “It wasn’t about publicity,” he said. “It was about helping someone who needed it.”