Politics & Government
2:00 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

NC County Will Trade Vintage Bonnie And Clyde Style Machine Guns For New Weapons

Vintage Tommy Guns
Credit Forsyth County Sheriff's Office

Commissioners in Forsyth County voted last night to allow the Sheriff's office to trade antique guns for new weapons. The Sheriff now can trade two 1928 fully automatic Thompson submachine guns for 88 new semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles.

Our original story about the trade 1/13/14:

Forsyth County Commissioners will again consider trading two antique machine guns for a new set of assault rifles. Two historic Tommy Guns are estimated to be worth about $60,000. The weapons were once used by Reynolds Tobacco to protect cash on payday. At some point during the 1960's the guns were either sold or gifted to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department.

“So the Sheriff thought this was a good way of getting firearms for our sheriff’s department for these two guns that has significant value,” said Richard Linville, Chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. He says the machine guns have just been locked away in a vault for decades.

Sheriff Bill Schatzman wants to trade the two vintage weapons for nearly 90 new AR-15 assault rifles. The Commission has discussed the issue three previous times and Linville says they could vote tonight. The Sheriff’s department says the new assault rifles are necessary for its arsenal. 

The vintage guns still work:

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Noah Reynolds has asked the commissioners to cancel or delay the trade. He believes his father, William Neal Reynolds, donated the guns to the county.

[Noah Reynolds] attached a Sept. 1, 1977, article from the Winston-Salem Journal that says Will Reynolds saved the sheriff’s office’s 'old Thompson submachine gun from being sold a few years ago when he outbid another prospective buyer, bought the gun, and gave it back to the sheriff for posterity.'

Reynolds wrote to the commissioners that it seems obvious that his father bought the guns and gave them back to make a point: “Don’t sell them!”