Illinois Watchdog has a story of Coles County Sheriff Darrell Cox of selling or trading confiscated firearms to federally licensed gun dealers, asking if he has the authority to do so.

It’s been picked up by FoxNews, Daily Caller and others.


IL sheriff seizes, sells guns. But does he have the authority?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. ( — Dozens of guns taken from crime scenes and accused criminals in Coles County have been sold or traded.

That much is clear.

ISN’T TALKING: Sheriff Darrell Cox won’t answer questions about seized guns, says it’s political.

But ask whether the sheriff had the power to make those deals, and things get murky.

A joint investigation by Illinois Watchdog and the Edgar County Watchdogs looked into the sale or trade of weapons seized by Coles County Sheriff Darrell Cox.

But Cox wouldn’t answer our questions.

Illinois Watchdog repeatedly reached out to Cox, who made it clear he would not comment on his department’s seizure policy, because he thinks the issue is political.

Cox is running for state representative in the 110th District.


Well, under Common Law, the county sheriff is the highest elected official in a county.

Illinois writes in their story:  “MAYBE BACK ON THE STREET: Guns seized in Coles County can end-up back on the streets.”

Yeah, so?

It would seem that if the sheriff wants to raise some money for the department by selling confiscated guns to a federally licensed dealer, then he’s doing nothing wrong, so long as the guns cannot be returned to their legitimate owners.

Doing this in a time of tight budgets to bring in extra money for needed supplies or equipment for the department seems like the common sense thing to do.  Who are we to find fault in that – unless the sheriff or individual officers are keeping the guns they’ve confiscated and then we would say there’s a conflict of interest.

It sounds as though the sheriff should be lauded for a good deed, instead of castigated.

Sending perfectly valuable property to a foundry or a grinder to make gun haters in our state “feel” better makes no sense.  In fact, in essence it is like shredding perfectly good cents.

But common sense never has been a long suit of the gun haters.

In this case, the Illinois Watchdog seems to be barking up the wrong tree.

8 thoughts on “Scandal? Coles County Sheriff sells confiscated guns for department equipment”
  1. Until it’s YOUR GUNS a sheriff is “confiscating” and selling “for needed equipment”.
    When LEO can take property and then use that property for financial gain – they are reduced to the kings revenuers.

    And LEO wonders why respect for them and their profession is less daily?

    Property taking is to be opposed – because it’s called THEFT!

    1. They can only be sold in the absence of a legitimate owner. Unless you are convicted of a crime they can not sell your property.

  2. As long as there is no rightful legal owner for those guns, I applaud the sheriff for being a good steward of his county’s resources.

    And I would like to see those guns wind up back on the streets in the hands of lawful gun owners. It’s always nice to see something good come out of something bad.

  3. In 1999 I had to use one of my firearms to defend my family. It was subsequently seized by the police as evidence in their investigation. The investigation found the shooting was justified and was referred to a grand jury with a recommendation not to press charges. No charges were pressed. It took me FOUR YEARS to get my handgun back because the police arbitrarily elected to retain my Colt Gold Cup. I had only had the gun about a month and had barely shot it but when I finally got it back, it was obvious that the gun had been heavily used. I’m about as pro-gun as they come but don’t trust the police state to do the right thing and allowing them to arbitrarily sell confiscated property reeks of theft. Whose to say legal gun owners guns wouldn’t disappear under this type of “policy”.

    1. RickC, do you mind mentioning the venue?

      Similar bad-ending story. Had a revolver stolen from my not-quite-good-enough gun safe about a decade ago. LESSON: Thought it’ll keep the babies out, it’s quite easy to peel open a Wal-mart rifle cabinet.

      Bad guys had it only a few months before it was confiscated by the Macon County SD after a non-fatal street-dweller shooting.

      After trying for 3 years, I quit calling them asking for my gun back. By then, the perp had served his few months and forgotten about it as well. They’ve now had it most of a decade. I’m sure it’s now a rusted hunk of metal, good only for trading to a Chicago mayor, IF I could ever get it back.

  4. In the late 70s early 80s, I remember guns that had been confiscated and slated for destruction routinely being given to or taken by court personnel, bailiffs and even judges. There was even a sheriff’s deputy charged with illegally selling the confiscated guns back to gang bangers. This was in Cook co,

  5. It is political. Those ‘watchdog’ groups, especially the ‘Edgar Cnty’ ones have a history of libeling and smearing those they don’t like.

  6. 40 years ago the local county boys confiscated guns and kept them for themselves.

    My father who once served on that force was beside himself over this miss-use of power.

    When he was one of the locals He said that taking property from a person without their permission was called theft.

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