Bourbon County Sheriff's Office considers selling old "Tommy" su - KOAM TV 7

Bourbon County Sheriff's Office considers selling old "Tommy" submachine gun

It's a fascinating piece of American history: the Thompson Submachine gun.

In 1933, the governor issued one to the Bourbon county sheriff's department as a means of added defense against gangsters, moonshiners and the like.

"Bonnie and Clyde, for instance, robbing banks and stores," said Arnold Schofield, historian.

"Those groups had more fire power than you local sheriff did, said Sheriff Bill Martin.

the governor issued tommy guns to kansas counties near the missouri and oklahoma borders, as they were rife with criminals dodging the law.

"I may seem strange today that they only issued one weapon, but the Thompson Submachine gun was a state of the art weapon," said Schofield.

Today, it's a relic that has been locked away from the public eye for years.

This is why Sheriff Martin is researching options to sell it to fund modern needs.

"The money would be used to support the sheriff's department and equipment that's needed."

"Sheriff Martin says he has reached out to other counties in Kansas to gain the feedback from other sheriffs."

"The majority of the sheriffs said that they have had the Tommy gun in their possession, but due to financial restraints placed on sheriff's department cuts, they went ahead and sold their Tommy guns to buy patrol rifles."

Historian Arnold Schofield says the gun is one-of-a kind.

In all probability, there aren't too many of these weapons left," said Schofield.

for this reason, some do not want it to leave the county.

"I hate to see it go for its historical value and I hate to see it go where it's going up in value for something that's going to be depreciated out in three or five years," said Harold Coleman.

Martin says he understands, and would like the relic to stay. But the need for new equipment may just be greater than the sum of the old gun. 

He is still deciding whether or not he will sell it. 

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