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Longport Tommy Update

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No rapid-fire decisions in sale of Longport’s vintage submachine gun


By ALAN RAPPEPORT Staff Writer, (609) 272-7219


LONGPORT - The borough's plan to sell its 1921 Thompson submachine gun continues to move forward, but officials are taking extra care to make sure they follow rules to ensure the gun does not end up in the wrong hands.


The expiration of a federal assault-weapons ban earlier this month will have little effect locally on the sale of the antique weapon because New Jersey has its own ban.


But the gun has attracted national interest, so borough officials will have to take special care to ensure it is sold properly to anyone outside the state.


"We're taking our time to make sure this is done right," Commissioner John Stroebele said. "We're doing some staff work to figure out what can be done with it."


Stroebele said he contacted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was told that the gun could be sold to someone with a Class III license, which allows the holder to possess a gun that fires more than one shot in succession.


Since the gun was made more than 75 years ago - well before a ban on such weapons - it remains unclear if and where its sale would be restricted.


The borough received strong interest in the gun after announcing in July that it would be auctioned. The week after the announcement, police officials said they got more than 30 calls - including some from as far away as the Bahamas.


The borough acquired the Thompson submachine gun in 1930 when an owner of the famed gun-making company came to the area, met Police Chief Richard DePamphilis and decided to send him a gun as a gesture of good will, according to Richard DePamphilis Jr., 77, who followed him as chief.


Only about 15,000 guns of this model were made, and the borough is hoping to sell it for upward of $35,000.


Stroebele said any sale is probably months away, and that the borough may consider an Internet or telephone auction for people with Class III permits.


The borough also has three Springfield M1 rifles and an assortment of between 50 and 70 rifles and pistols that have been donated to the department over the years. The borough is researching how these might be sold, Stroebele said.


"There's no point in having them, inventorying them and maintaining them for years," Stroebele said. "Some of them are antiques that legitimate collectors might enjoy having. If there's any residual value to them, it belongs to the taxpayers of Longport."




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Is that about $10 - $15K worth of provanence????


Please post the details about this when it does go on the market. It would be interesting to see.



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WWII 1928 TSMG's are getting $20K now. $35K for a 90% Colt TSMG with Colt drums is in line with current market prices. And this is without any historical event attached to the weapon. However, this Longport PD had a WWII L drum attached to it, but the condition of the TSMG could not be determined in the photograph.

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I was the first to call the Longport PD when the story first came out. I spoke with the chief for a bit and got a description of the condition of the gun. I was to call back his captain and schedule an inspection but it was obvious that a frenzy of interest had emerged and Longport was looking to get $30,000 or more for it. At that point I threw in the towel. If organized bidding emerges it will be interesting to see what kind of price it brings.
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