Historic Gathering of
The American Thompson Association partnered with the Dallas Arms Collectors Association (DACA) to present
a spectacular display at the 2007 NRA Annual Meetings in St. Louis in April. The effort recreated a portion of the
"On the Side of Law and Order" display at NRA's National Firearms Museum in 2004. Tracie Hill, President of
TATA, fabricated a beautiful, 9-section display case especially for the 2007 event, and many hours were spent by
Tracie and other members to enable the effort. The convention attracted record sized convention crowds to St.
Louis, and the TATA display made a lasting impression on many attendees.
Forty Thompson guns were featured, ranging from four Model of 1919's, three Thompson Autorifles, four BSA
Thompsons (plus the Auto-Ordnance manufactured version of the BSA), a 9mm T2 Thompson, and many others.
Of special note were the presence of the Blish pistol, the inscribed Payne and Eickhoff presentation Model of 1921
Thompsons, and General Thompson's personal TSMG and other artifacts. The display demonstrated the history
of Auto-Ordnance and the TSMG, beginning with prototype designs, Colt production guns, World War II mass
production, up through the Numrich and current Kahr production models, and included many rare accessories,
along with a few novelty items.
Well dressed TATA members provided enthusiastic historical narrative to inquisitive onlookers, and many attend-
ees recounted their personal TSMG experiences. Much information was exchanged, including a contact resulting
in a major documentary discovery of new historical details to be presented in the future.
On Saturday, an American Rifleman Magazine special session on the Thompson was presented to a standing room
only gathering, and ran for over an hour and a half. Presenting on the subject were American Rifleman Editor-In-
Chief Mark A. Keefe IV, Tracie Hill, and Martin K.A. Morgan from the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.
Mark's opening comments highlighted his interest in the weapon, and led to Tracie's presentation of the develop-
ment and history of the weapon and its designers. Martin covered the World War II contribution of the TSMG in
very enthusiastic style, including some crowd-pleasing home video of him firing an M1928A1 and an M1A1.
A few celebrities passed by the display, including Ted Nugent, R. Lee Ermey, Tom Selleck, and Sandy Froman,
President of the NRA. Many thousands of others marveled at the collection, and the 2000 specially printed show
flyers were distributed the first day. One could spend hours gazing at the collection, and still find something they
might not have noticed before.
TATA and DACA won several awards for the display, including exceptional firearm medals for 2 of the Model of
1919's, serial number 7 and number 17. The BSA Thompsons won a special recognition award, and the overall
TSMG display won best educational display for classic arms. The Ohio Gun Collectors Association display of
Colt Double Action Revolvers from 1911-1941 won the overall award for the show.
Overall, the 2007 NRA Convention was very successful, and the conventioneers were well received by the gra-
cious host city, which will undoubtedly serve again to host the event sometime in the future. All TATA and DACA
members involved in the display felt good about the effort and results, and are already planning another one for
next year in Louisville.