(ST. LOUIS) — A top National Rifle Association official lashed out today at what he called the “sensational” coverage of the Trayvon Martin case and called violent crime a fact of life, in a speech at the group’s annual meeting in St. Louis.

“Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings, don’t draw sponsors. But sensational reporting from Florida does. In the aftermath of one of Florida’s many daily tragedies, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” the group’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said.

It was the first public comment LaPierre made on the Martin case, though he did not once say the name of the teen or that of George Zimmerman.

Martin, 17, was unarmed when neighborhood watchman Zimmerman shot him as he was returning to his father’s home after buying Skittles and tea at a gas station on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, was questioned but not immediately charged.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey charged Zimmerman on Wednesday with second-degree murder. Zimmerman was arraigned on Thursday and remains in custody in Sanford, Fla.

The attorney representing Zimmerman has said he does not yet know whether he will invoke Florida’s “Stand Your ground” law in his client’s defense.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is using the case to advocate a “no” vote on the National Reciprocity Act, which if passed, would force states with stricter gun laws to honor concealed weapons permits granted in other states, which have uneven criteria for obtaining a permit.

The Brady Campaign has renamed it the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act.”

“These new bills would force states with strong gun laws like New York — where Zimmerman never could have gotten a permit — to honor the concealed carry permits of states with abhorrently low standards, such as Florida,” the Brady Campaign wrote on its website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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