Historical firearms found dumped in river http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/artic...tle=Historical-firearms-found-dumped-in-river These are some of the World War II-era firearms found last week in Bibb County off Alabama Highway 219. Agents with the Birmingham office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms displayed the weapons on Monday in the hopes of gaining more information on their origin. (Jason Morton / Tuscaloosa News) By Jason Morton Staff Writer Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:30 a.m. Last Modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:03 p.m. BIRMINGHAM | A cache of World War II-era firearms was discovered last week under a bridge in Bibb County. Now, federal gun experts hope to find out more about what could be considered a gun collector's dream. Eight of the 10 weapons were on display Monday at the Birmingham office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They included a Thompson submachine gun (commonly called a 'Tommy gun'), a Japanese 50mm mortar, a German 20mm anti-tank gun and a .303 Vickers machine gun. 'It's kind of amazing what all is here,' said ATF Resident Agent in Charge David Hyche. Hyche said it was illegal to possess the weapons, which may explain why they were found dumped in a river near Alabama Highway 219. Bibb County Sheriff Keith Hannah said the firearms were discovered Thursday by Alabama Department of Transportation bridge inspection crews. A dive team for the Bibb County Sheriff's Department discovered more weapons just beneath the water's surface. Hyche and Hannah speculated that the weapons, estimated to be worth more than $100,000, had not been under water long. 'There was no silt that had washed over them,' Hannah said, 'and none had started developing any rust.' Authorities can only speculate on the origin of the weapons. Hyche said none of them were registered, meaning that the owner or owners did not take part in the government's temporary amnesty period in the years following World War II. Under that amnesty, owners of such weapons were allowed to keep them as long as they were properly registered. 'It's my understanding that it was not difficult to bring souvenirs home [from the war],' Hyche said. Most of the guns are still capable of firing, Hyche said, and for that reason, he thanked Hannah and the Bibb County deputies for recovering and reporting the find. Hyche did not rule out the possibility of filing charges against the person responsible for dumping the guns, but he noted the ATF normally works with people who suddenly find such guns in their possession and don't know what to do with them. He said the weapons would not be returned to the owner since they are illegal, but the bureau is curious to know whether there is more to the cache. 'We want to find out more and get our hands on whatever is out there,' he said. 'We're going to attempt to find a home for these where the public can enjoy them.' Often, the ATF can place the guns in museums or other places that store historical artifacts. That will likely be the goal with these weapons, Hyche said. 'It's quite an extensive collection,' he said. 'These are very unique.'