The Thompson Submachine Gun was invented in the early 1900s and was originally meant for the battle field. But it became notorious as the gangster gun because it has been used in some gangster crimes. One of the most well-known is the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Most of the Thompsons that the Cody Firearms Museum have do not have a dark history, but one gun in the Cody Firearms Museum was allegedly does. Ashley Hlebinsky, the curator of the museum, said a 1921 .54 caliber Thompson was used in a bank robbery.
“It was used in New York in a robbery,” said Hlebinsky. “It jammed so the felon dropped the gun, and the police recovered it.”
Hlebinsky said the police traded the gun for a couple of riots guns and it eventually ended up in the Winchester collection. She said there are a lot of myths around this robbery but none of it can be proven.
Museum Minute is a series co-produced with Wyoming Public Media (WPM). A new minute can be heard every Thursday morning at 6:49 a.m. on WPM.