For Sale: Bonnie and Clyde's Guns

Categories: History, Missourah

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Bonnie, Clyde and a shotgun -- which could become yours!
​Ever wanted to own a set of guns that belonged to two celebrated Depression-era outlaws? Well, now's your chance! A tommy gun and 12-gauge 1897 Winchester shotgun seized when police raided Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker's Joplin apartment in April of 1933 will be up for auction later this month in Kansas City.

One of the police officers who had participated in the raid presented the guns to Mark Lairmore, a Tulsa police detective. The guns remained in the Lairmore family who, until recently, had lent them to the Springfield Police Museum, where they remained on display.

"They were the major draw of the museum, and I don't think they were all that anxious to give them up," Lairmore's great-grandson, also named Mark Lairmore, said in a statement. "But my father and grandfather have also passed away, so the sentimental reasons to hold them are no longer there.I feel it's time for someone with an appreciation of antique guns and the history behind these guns to own them and care for them."

The auction will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, at Mayo Auction and Realty in Kansas City. Robert Mayo, the owner of the auction house, told the Joplin Globe that he intends to let the bidders determine the value of the guns but that he expects them to bring in several thousand dollars. Remote bids will be accepted. And, yes, if you buy the tommy gun, which is fully automatic, you will have to register it with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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The guns.
​Bonnie and Clyde became infamous for their spectacular crime spree that lasted from 1932 until 1934, encompassed thirteen murders and many more robberies and ranged from New Mexico to Michigan, though they wreaked most of their havoc in Texas and Oklahoma. They escaped the Joplin raid and were finally gunned down a year later near Sailes, Louisiana. Their adventures were later made into a movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Owning the guns will probably not make you as beautiful as these two stars, but you could probably buy reasonable facsimiles of their fabulous hats.

Historians believe that Bonnie and Clyde stole the tommy gun in Ohio and used it in a shootout with a bank teller in Oronogo, Missouri, near Joplin. It was the first time anyone used an automatic weapon in a robbery in those parts. The outlaws made off with $110. Hey, it was the Depression.

Sadly, the provenance and history of the shotgun is unknown.

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6 comments
Oh
Oh

I've got no qualms with Lairmore selling the guns since it was given to his family, but c'mon... he's pulling them out of a museum so someone with an appreciation of antique guns can own and care for them? If you want or need the money, why don't you just say so?

Joe
Joe

How could an individual police officer "own" those guns?  Shouldn't the weapon stolen in Ohio belong to the heirs of the theft victim?  Shouldn't the other gun belong to the heirs of Bonnie and Clyde?

Just_Sayin
Just_Sayin

It was long told that Clyde Barrow was a homosexual of which they danced around the issue in the movie version. His was alleged that his lover was Pretty Boy Floyd which is how he really earned his nickname and not because of his looks. Would explain the criminality of Barrow since he was already a mentally unstable homosexual.

Davidawoodruff
Davidawoodruff

Your caption "Bonnie, Clyde and a tommy gun -- which could become yours!" is clearly wrong - that's not a tommy gun.  

King Lance22
King Lance22

How the heck you figure it isn't? Is it a PPSH... that European gun that looks a whole lot like the Thompson? Clarify yourself please and thank ya but would gladly purchase them if given the oppurtunity...for petes sake it was Clyde Narrows gun.

StLshootingsports
StLshootingsports

I think David was referring to an earlier caption below the picture of Bonnie and Clyde that said "Bonnie, Clyde and a tommy gun".  The caption has now been corrected to read "Bonnie, Clyde and a shotgun" which is correct.  Before we get into shootout (pun intended) over gun types let's remember this is the RFT, an publication not reknowned for their appreciation of the 2nd amendment...much less their ability to identify weapons.

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