If you google “Where are Bonnie and Clyde’s guns today”, you’ll most likely find ads and websites selling or auctioning these supposed antique weapons. However, it will be difficult to check on the authenticity of these claims.
Many of Bonnie and Clyde’s weapons passed hands—from police detectives to their family members. Most of those items found their way to private collectors, and at least two of the shotguns are displayed in the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, better known as simply Bonnie and Clyde, were part of Clyde Barrow’s family gang, known as the Barrow Gang.
It’s been nearly 100 years since their gruesome and bloody deaths, but the fascination with this outlaw couple remains, including the current whereabouts of their weapons.
When the gang was hiding out in Joplin, Missouri, they took plenty of photos and even more during their time on the run. You can see a wide range of firearms in these photos, which leaves one to ask, where did they go?
While some people like to focus only on the romantic aspect, the fact is that this pair alone was responsible for the murders of 13 people. Their crime spree may have netted even more deaths were it not for the hard work of Texas Ranger Frank Hamer.
Where are the guns that were used in these murders?
What Happened to Bonnie and Clyde’s Guns?
While life on the run sounds exotic and exciting, it probably wasn’t as much fun as the movies make it out to be.
This pair was forced to drive at night and hide somewhere during the day. While it’s thought that they camped by small bodies of water, we know that more than once they did try to stay at a hotel or with friends and family.
One hideout was in Joplin, Missouri. After being reported by a neighbor as possible bootleggers, the police tried to ambush Clyde Barrow and his gang.
A gun battle ensued and two police officers were shot and killed with a sawed-off shotgun. That shotgun got left behind, along with several other weapons, most of their personal belongings, including Bonnie’s poems, a journal, and several rolls of undeveloped film.
The shotgun used in this murder was actually shown in one of the rolls of film. Clyde Barrow poses with their get-away car and three shotguns, one of which was used to kill the detective and the policeman in Joplin.
That sawed-off shotgun was sold at an auction in 2019. Before that, it spent years at the Joplin Police Department, no doubt displayed to new recruits as a warning of the dangers of the job.
The gun was kept by Detective DeGraff. He later passed it on to family members who kept the weapon in a closet.
Surviving DeGraff family members finally decided to sell the weapon at an auction. It went to an unnamed private collector.
What about the Guns in Bonnie and Clyde’s Death Car?
Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer spent months chasing the pair until he began to see a pattern.
Staging an ambush outside of Parishville, Louisiana, Hamer and other deputies pumped more than 112 bullets into the death car, with 17 hitting Clyde and 26 mutilating Bonnie’s body.
When the smoke cleared, Hamer told his deputies that they could take anything they wanted from the bodies as souvenirs or mementos.
Hamer kept multiple weapons from that shootout, including one pistol that was found in Clyde’s waistband.
The Hamer family has sold off many of the items in auctions, including the Colt .45 that was in Clyde’s waistband and the Colt .38 special that was found taped to Bonnie’s thigh.
Other items sold at the auction were a silk stocking found on the floor of the car, a pill box, and a silver dollar that was found in Barrow’s jacket pocket.
Where Is the Shotgun from the Photo?
In one infamous photo, Bonnie is playfully holding Clyde at bay with a Remington model 11 whippit shotgun with a sawed-off muzzle.
The same shotgun that Bonnie was photographed using was found on the floor of the death car.
More than likely, one of the deputies took that weapon home as a souvenir, but its current whereabouts are unknown.
How Many Guns Did Bonnie and Clyde Have?
The Barrow gang owned a bevy of weapons, and as mentioned above, some were left behind in previous ambushes. After the ambush that killed Bonnie and Clyde, the police found the following guns inside the car:
- (3) full-auto Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR) in .30-06
- (1) 20-gauge Remington Model 11 Semi-Auto sawed-off shotgun
- (1) 10-gauge Winchester Model 1901 lever-action, sawed-off shotgun
- (1) .32-caliber M1903 Colt automatic pistol
- (1) .38 Colt Detective Special revolver
- (1) .25 ACP Colt automatic pistol
- (1) .45-caliber Colt M1909 revolver
- (7) .45 ACP Colt M1911 automatic pistols
They also found thousands of rounds of ammunition for all types of weapons.
It’s Clyde’s BAR gun that seems to get the most attention. He liked to call it his scattergun, which was confusing to some because the phrase “scatter gun” is often used when referring to a shotgun.
For Clyde, however, his term scattergun was a joke. He would tell friends that when he started shooting (the BAR) everyone would scatter to the four winds!
Where Did Clyde Get the BAR Gun?
In 1932, some criminals robbed the Missouri national guard armory twice. A friend gave Clyde two M1918 BAR guns from that robbery.
Clyde was certainly no stranger to guns. He quickly saw that the firepower of the BAR, its ability to reload quickly, combined with the high rate of fire were well beyond anything that the police were equipped with at the time.
Didn’t Clyde Use a Tommygun?
While law enforcement did find a .45 caliber Thompson machine gun (AKA Tommygun) in the Joplin hideout, it was well-known that Clyde much preferred his BAR gun.
It’s possible that Clyde used the Tommygun before he received the BAR from a fellow criminal, or perhaps the Tommygun was a favorite of his brother Buck Barrow.
The Tommygun had been on display at the Springfield Missouri Police Museum from 1973 until 2011. Family members later put the gun up for auction and sold it.
Are All of Bonnie and Clyde’s Guns Privately Owned?
No, not at all.
While the majority are owned by private collectors (or investors if you will), a few of these weapons are on display at the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, just a few miles from where they were gunned down.
Reportedly, the building that now houses the museum was the last place that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were seen.
Originally, the building housed a cafe called Ma Canfield Cafe, where the fugitive pair ordered a fried baloney sandwich and BLT to go. Eight miles down the road, the ambush awaited. Bonnie’s half-eaten sandwich was found in her lap.
L.J. “Boots” Hinton purchased the cafe and opened the museum. It must be noted that Hinton is the son of one of the Dallas County Sheriff’s deputies that assisted Frank Hamer in the ambush that killed Bonnie and Clyde.
The museum has two shotguns—one Remington and a Browning automatic rifle—that were owned by the Barrow gang.
There are other items that came from the death car, including Bonnie’s red hat, some glass with blood on it from the windshield, and a tire that Clyde Barrow had once stolen but later returned to the owner.
The museum holds lots of replicas, including tombstones and a fake death car, complete with fake vampire blood and bullet holes, and there are plenty of gruesome photographs for fans with strong stomachs.
Where Is the Real Death Car?
After the ambush, the car was towed back to town and stored at the police department lot. The sheriff told the owner of the stolen 1934 Ford that it would cost her $15,000 dollars to get it back.
The car’s owner ( see more on 1920s cars ), Ruth Warren, knew that this was a shakedown so she sued the sheriff and won.
After she had the vehicle, she sold it to “United Shows” who wanted to display the car for cash. When the company failed to make the payments, Warren repossessed the car.
Warren then rented the car to various carnivals that would put it on display and charge a dime to see it.
Finally, in 1988, the car was sold to Primadonna Resorts, Inc (now Primm Valley Resorts) for $250,000.
There are many fake vehicles across America, and for many years, it was difficult for collectors to determine which was the genuine death car from the Bonnie and Clyde shootout.
After researching titles, the true death car of Bonnie and Clyde was narrowed down and proven to be a genuine article.
After decades of trying to make money off of their deaths, the car can now be seen for free at one of the casinos just across the California/Nevada state line.
There are three casinos in the small city of Primm, Nevada, all owned by Primadonna Resorts.
You might find the car at Whiskey Pete’s or Buffalo Bill’s Casino as well. The same company owns all three casinos, so the vehicle gets moved every now and again.
At last report, the death car was sitting behind a glass enclosure at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino, but it is occasionally moved to one of the three casinos in this small city.
The vehicle was originally grey but has now faded to a greenish color. You can also see Clyde’s bullet-ridden and blood-stained shirt propped up next to the vehicle.
It seems that people have two mindsets about Clyde and Bonnie-
They were poor, desperate lovers who didn’t do much more than petty robbing of hardware stores and were denied due process by the law.
This gruesome, murdering couple got everything they deserved.
One thing is certain, Bonnie and Clyde did leave behind a bloody trail of bodies as they robbed grocery stores and banks.
Regardless of which mindset you might feel is closer to the truth, the fact remains that this pair of criminal love birds would probably love the fact that they are still talked about nearly 100 years in the future and that the guns that they used would draw such tremendous amounts of cash.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.