Sale of the Century: St. Louis Police Announce Sale of Vintage Tommy Guns

Christian Gooden St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Christian Gooden, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


The St. Louis Police Department is selling 27 Thompson submachine guns, some of which date back to the 1920s. The Thompson submachine guns, known as Tommy guns, were decommissioned by the police department in the 1950s and have been stored in the police academy’s basement ever since. During the 1920s and early 30s, the Tommy gun was the weapon of choice for the gangsters. Down the road, the FBI eventually carried the firearms.

Money raised from the vintage firearms’ sale will be used to help purchase a handful of AR-15s and 1,525 new 9mm Beretta handguns. In 2014, the department’s collection was appraised at $777,000.

The funds from these 27 firearms will cover the first shipment of firearms, which are expected to arrive in August. The second shipment will be paid for by selling the Beretta handguns and other firearms the department is currently using.

“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 St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That was the most important thing for us. We made our own money to take care of our own problem.”

Midwest Distributors is purchasing each of the 27 Tommy guns for $22,000 apiece, for a total of $618,500. Bill Hicks & Co. is purchasing 1,748 Beretta handguns for $221 apiece, for a total of around $597,000.

The St. Louis Police Department is keeping two of the Tommy guns to display in their crime lab.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET