WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/AP) – The debate over the shooting death of a Miami teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, should focus on guns and not race, according to actor and comedian Bill Cosby.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” aired Sunday, Cosby said calling Zimmerman a racist doesn’t solve anything. Cosby says the bigger question is what Zimmerman was doing with a gun, and who taught him how to behave with it.

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The shooting of the 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 has ignited a nationwide debate about race and self-defense.

Cosby said during the interview, which was taped Thursday afternoon, that he once owned a gun but no longer does. He says there is a need to get guns off the streets, and that people should be taught to use every possible alternative before shooting someone.

The National Rifle Association has come in defense of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law it helped write in 2005 and targeting the media for its coverage of the Martin case.  NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said the media is guilty of “sensational reporting from Florida.”

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Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has come under intense scrutiny since the shooting.  Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting Martin, claimed he was in fear for his life and that the shooting was justified under the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Last week, special prosecutor Angela Corey charged Zimmerman with second degree murder after he team reviewed the shooting investigation.


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