Help me out here though, if the gun is 1926 production...
The article doesn't say that the gun is 1926 production; it says it has a 1926 patent date
, presumably on the barrel. Patent dates were commonplace on prewar firearms, but all the date tells you is that the gun was made no earlier
I presume that the gun was obtained illegally, most likely with the s/n already removed, and there is no way to trace the gun's origin without using destructive methods described by Gary.
Re: the gun's history, I'll share a couple of tidbits re: Bonnie & Clyde, having read quite a bit on the subject.
- There is no irrefutable evidence that Bonnie Parker ever actually fired a gun in anger during any of the gang's criminal escapades, although she frequently carried one. The only time she was allegedly seen shooting someone was during the 4/1/34 Grapevine, TX murders of two state troopers, but the eyewitness was over a hundred yards away, and other gang members have stated that the shooter was a male gang member with similar colored hair and that Bonnie was in the car at the time. (Bonnie's participation in robberies was a fiction invented for the 1968 movie.)
- Clyde preferred stealing guns from National Guard armories because they generally had almost no security(!) and contained 2 of his 3 favorite weapons: the BAR and the Colt M1911. (His other favorite was the Remington Model 11 shotgun.) He reportedly greatly disliked buying black market guns because the sellers were, well, crooks; he thought these guns were overpriced, and he was concerned that the sellers could subsequently confess having sold the guns to him, giving the authorities an additional excuse to arrest him. The provenance of most of the gang's non-National Guard weapons is in dispute. (The gang's use of Thompson SMGs and various S&W .38 revolvers is also a fiction invented for the 1968 movie.)
- As an interesting aside to this news story, Frank Hamer, the former Texas Ranger who tracked down Clyde, famously kept most of the guns recovered from Bonnie & Clyde's "death car", and reportedly never attempted to return them to their rightful owners- including the National Guard!- and never registered the BARs as NFA machine guns!