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Surplus of vintage weapons, including Tommy guns, on sale by the St. Louis Police Department

Alex .A
Campbell_Thompson. Photo Credit
Campbell_Thompson. Photo Credit

The St. Louis Police Department made a stash of vintage weapons some 60 years ago when they demilitarized their Thompson submachine guns and stored them in a basement inside the police academy. The popular Tommy gun was the favorite weapon of the gangsters that ruled the streets during the 1920s and 1930s.

But the gun was also popular among police officers and the FBI. The ones kept by the St. Louis police are maintained and only used for training, which additionally increases the price and the demand. As the police said, the maintenance cost is immense, so selling them is the right choice. Also, the money from the sales will be used for the purchase of new guns, much needed by the police department.

The St. Louis PD has plans to acquire AR-15 rifles and 1,525 new 9 mm Beretta handguns with the money earned from the deal. With the value of the vintage guns set at around $45,000 a piece, the police will earn $1.2 million. They plan to use the money from the sale of the 27 Tommy guns to buy the new arsenal, which will be additionally amended by the sale of the guns the officers are currently using.

With the old Beretta handguns being more than 10 years old, some of them even fail to fire during a training exercise, so the need of new armory is entirely justified. The first shipment of the new guns is expected to arrive in August. According to the original paperwork, the PD originally paid $125 a piece for each of the Thompson submachines. With this deal, they plan to have $350,000 as a surplus which can be used to buy additional AR-15 rifles.

The role of the broker in the deal is played by the Police Trades company, based in Chesterfield. The deal was signed in January this year.

The president of Police Trades, Raymond Reynolds, is a retired St. Louis police officer, with a big affection for the vintage guns. The contract between the company and the PD had to wait for approval by the counselor’s office of the city and the comptroller.

When the contract reaches the final stage, the department will start transferring the weapons to Police Trades. However, two of the Tommy guns will be kept by the police and displayed inside their crime lab. Before the guns are transferred to the company an ATF approval must be obtained, which can take up to 90 days. The company will sell the weapons only to people with a federal license to buy such a weapon. The potential buyer has to pay $200 in federal taxes, notify the authorities about the purchase and pass a background check.

This is not the first attempt of the St. Louis PD to sell the old guns. The first one was in May 2014, when a local dealer appraised the collection to be worth $770,000. The Midwest Distributors company, based in Kentucky, is willing to pay $22,000 for each of the Tommy guns. Besides the submachines, the collection holds rare examples of 1921, 1927 and 1942 Colts.

Campbell Thompson. Photo Credit

Campbell Thompson. Photo Credit

With the purchase of the collection, Midwest Distributors would pay $618,500 to the police department. Another company from Minneapolis, Bill Hicks & Co., would pay $597,000 for the used carbine rifles and other guns from the department.

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As the Interim Chief Lawrence O’Toole stated, the new rifles will be given only to a certain number of police officers per district. At the same time, a policy for the usage of the guns will be issued by the department, determining how and when the rifles can be used. By doing this, the St. Louis police wants to ensure their officers will use no unnecessary force.