Investigation Into What Happens to Oklahoma’s Confiscated Weapons

Beverly Cantrell - January 19, 2022 7:01 am

Every year Oklahoma deputies and officers take hundreds of guns off the streets.

As the weapons start piling up, you may be wondering where they go.

Across Oklahoma, each department has a policy for confiscated weapons, regardless of whether they were used in a crime or not.

The majority of the departments in our state choose to destroy the weapons.

A list of those includes the state Bureau of Narcotics, Oklahoma City Police Department, Edmond Police Department, Norman Police Department, Moore Police Department, Yukon Police Department, Mustang Police Department, and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.

Lieutenant Jerry Hendrick with the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office said the reason they destroy weapons has to do with public safety.

“The reason why we destroy them is the sheriff here in Canadian County has decided he doesn’t want to take a chance on those guns going back to the street, ever being used in a crime again,” Lt. Hendrick said.

In Canadian County, the sheriff’s office takes in around 25-50 guns a year.

Every single one is ground up by a company in Kansas called GunBusters.

“Of course for most of us in law enforcement when we see a collector’s piece or a very valuable gun get destroyed we’re thinking oh gosh. That’s just the man in us,” Lt. Hendrick said. “But on the other hand when you think, hey that 25 caliber titan, that’s a $100 gun that can be used to kill somebody, you don’t feel quite so bad then about destroying those weapons.”

Other departments around the state take a different route with their confiscated weapons.

Del City Police turn the guns over to a dealer.

Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and Bethany Police Department auction them off.

At the last Oklahoma County Sheriff’s auction, the Public Information Officer, Aaron Brilbeck, said 700 guns were sold for around $93,000.

Brilbeck said some of that money will be used to solve current weapons issues.

“Our deputies have to buy their own guns. And there are some downsides to that,” Brilbeck said. “Say for example you have two people out patrolling, one has a Glock, one has a Sig Sauer. If there’s some type of a gun battle and one runs out of ammunition, they can’t share magazines with each other.”

With the money from the auction, the sheriff’s office will be able to supply their deputies with the same weapons.

Bethany Police Department has a similar policy.

Lieutenant Angelo Orefice said every year around 200-300 guns are sold to anyone with a federal firearms license in a sealed bid auction.

“I know that the money will usually go to the general fund and some of that money is used for our training budget,” Lt. Orefice said. “So we use that money for either ammunition and things like that so we can go out and train with it.”

Lt. Orefice said he doesn’t have information on whether or not those auctioned-off guns were ever found at the scene of a crime later on.

“As the police department, I don’t know if it’s more of a concern, but that would be an issue,” Lt. Orefice said. “I mean there are police departments all over the US that sell their guns at auctions. But we can’t determine what someone’s going to do with it later on down the road.”

Legally, once the guns are turned over to an FFL dealer, it’s no longer in the department’s hands where the guns are sold.


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