Have you ever wondered what happens with the weapons that are confiscated at crime scenes? One Illinois sheriff’s department has apparently been selling or trading the guns it acquires through searches, seizures and forfeitures.
The policies have reportedly been implemented under Sheriff Darrell Cox of the Coles County sheriff’s department.
According to the Daily Caller, in one notable case dating back to August of 2012, the department handed over 11 pistols, shotguns and rifles to a local arms dealer and received two assault rifles in return.
Records indicate that 37 other guns have also been sold, but there is currently no information as to the dates or prices of the transactions.
Civil libertarians question whether the department actually has the authority to complete such trades and sales and whether gun owners whose weapons are wrongfully confiscated are victimized by the policy.
Neither the department’s operating procedures nor Illinois State Police’s operating procedures instruct sheriffs to sell weapons that have been seized from citizens.
Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the state police department, said that weapons should be returned to their owners, turned over to the state police, or destroyed. Bond did not mention selling or trading weapons as an option.
If a weapon has been confiscated because it was abandoned or illegally possessed, Bond explained, the weapon “may be transferred to the Department of State Police for use by the crime laboratory system, for training purposes, or for any other application as deemed appropriate by the Department.”
Concerns have also been raised that trading and selling of weapons “opens the door for all kinds of misconduct within the department.” Evidence suggests that Cox may actually have transferred some of the guns to himself. Invoices indicate that Darrell Cox Gunsmithing billed the County $1,243 for gun-related charges.
The sheriff declined to comment on his department’s gun policies.
Cox, a Republican, is running for state representative in the 110th District.
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