In a case of recycling old for new, the St. Louis Metro Police Department wants to auction off 30 vintage Thompson submachine guns, worth an estimated $1 million, to buy new sidearms.
The guns are the remnants of up to 75 acquired by the department to equip special units fighting organized crimes and bootlegging operations during the Prohibition era.
The proceeds realized from the sale of these guns, which have largely been in storage since the 1960s, would allow the agency to purchase new sidearms, for which funding was recently cut.
“It’d be nice for nostalgia to have those in the police department forever,” said Jeff Roorda, with the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association. “But the more pressing need now is that officers have firepower that matches the firepower in the hands of the bad guys.”
The guns include 29 that are held at the city’s armory, as well as one that has been housed at the crime lab for ballistics testing. Total value of these guns is a moving target, with the collection varying widely from a pair of early 1921 Colt-made guns, each appraised at $31,000, to a World War II-era Auto-Ordinance/Savage M1 from 1942, valued at a bargain of $14,000.