City selling 1921 submachine gun to raise money for police department

JENKINS, Ky. (WYMT) - It is what some might consider an unusual item to find inside a city hall.

A 1921 Thompson submachine gun, also known as a "Tommy" gun, is locked away at Jenkins City Hall.

The device was used by Marines in the 1920s and 1930s. More notorious users included gangsters like Al Capone.

Jenkins City Mayor Todd DePriest said the item is made even rarer by having a two-digit serial number.

"Well, this is the only gem we know we've got put up right now," said DePriest.

Like most old items, there is a story behind the antique.

"As far as we can trace back, it was bought from a consolidated coal company and it was shipped to a hardware store in Logan, West Virginia and then brought by train to Jenkins. The story we have always been told is that it was used to guard the payroll when the money came in on the train," said DePriest.

DePriest said the city likely purchased the gun in the 1920s. Now, city officials are auctioning off the item. They said it appraises for $75,000, at least. They can sell the gun because it is registered.

Until a special buyer comes along, the gun is kept safe. It takes three sets of keys to get to the gun. If it is sold, the funds will help the Jenkins City Police Department.

"A lot of the police equipment is getting outdated and a lot of the police cruisers have a lot of miles on them," said DePriest.

DePriest said they will use the money from the gun to match grant funding and buy new police equipment.

"It's far too big and too heavy to carry every day and it's far too valuable to leave out," said DePriest.

Police told us you need a Class three firearms license to own and operate the gun.

If you are an interested buyer, you can contact the Jenkins City Police Department.

City officials are working with an auction company for history on the item and to help sell it.