To celebrate Valentine’s Day, abc10.com offers readers an excellent history of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (also covered in depth at wikipedia.org). Bootlegger Al Capone’s hit on his rivals achieved legendary status not simply because of the number of victims (seven) or the method (fake police lining up the victims and gunning them down) but also because of the firearms used: two Thompson machine guns. Like this . . .
“All seven men were lined up against the back inside wall of the garage and patted down,” added Kline. “The two fake cops then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them. Two of the hitmen, who had Thompson submachine guns, one containing a 20-round box magazine and the other a 50-round drum, opened fire, continuing to spray their victims with bullets after they had all hit the floor.”
The seven men were literally ripped apart by the barrage of bullets, and two of the victims had their faces shot off, according to the coroner’s report.
The massacre went down on — strangely enough — February 14th, 1929. After the attempted assassination of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 (by Giuseppe Zangara with a .32 pistol), Congress enacted The National Firearms Act, requiring federal certification for machine gun possession. That made civilian possession “problematic.”
As we all know, machine guns aren’t especially lethal. Even so, the chances of a repeal of the Hughes Amendment to “allow” civilian ownership of [post-1986 machine guns] are somewhere between slim and none, and slim just left town.
That maintains their high price and gives events like the Knob Creek machine gun shoot and the Texas Firearms Festival’s “Full-Auto Friday” their unique appeal.
A love that dare not speak its name? Not around here. Happy Valentine’s Day!