St. Louis police to sell Tommy gun stash to buy new firearms

They were the weapon of choice among gangsters during the Roaring 20’s and the 1930s – and now more of them can be in your hands.

The St. Louis Police Department is selling off a $1.2 million stash of firearms, including 27 Thompson submachine guns, to help fund the purchase of new Beretta pistols and AR-15 rifles for officers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The vintage weapons – with some dating back to 1921 – were also carried by cops and FBI agents, and they have been stored in a basement bunker at the department’s police academy ever since they were decommissioned around 60 years ago.

“The original reason to sell the weapons was to purchase new duty weapons, and we did so well on the sale, we will be able to purchase rifles as well, by our own actions without using any budget money,” Carol Shepard, the police department’s purchasing procurement manager, told the newspaper.

Shepard said the department’s current pistols are more than a decade old and are becoming difficult to find replacement parts for. But Raymond Reynolds, the president of Police Trades – a broker who is facilitating the deal – says police weapons are in high demand since they are usually well-kept and rarely fired.

The Tommy guns are being purchased by a Kentucky-based distributor for $22,000 each and will then be sold off to interested buyers if they pass a series of restrictions. Amongst them: needing to hold a federal license to buy such firearms, passing a background check, paying a $200 federal tax and notifying their neighborhood’s local police chief of the purchase, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Police will begin transferring the weapons pending approval by city officials of a contract with the broker.

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