Federal agents removed 23 firearms from Chicago alderman Edward Burke’s office, located in a gun-free zone, in the wake of federal corruption charges.
Edward Burke, 75, has been alderman of the Windy City’s 14th Ward since 1968 (that’s 51 years) when he succeeded his father as a cog in the “Chicago Machine.” After resigning from office after being charged with attempted extortion earlier this month in federal court, 23 guns were seized from the disgraced politician’s office.
Burke, whose lengthy tenure distinguishes him as the longest serving alderman in Chicago’s history, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on federal extortion charges. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the politician stands accused of using his position as alderman to drive business toward his private firm after an investigation involving recorded phone conversations and federal surveillance.
Before Burke was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, the judge gave him 48 hours to surrender all 23 firearms in his offices. He has since stepped down as alderman, a release from the mayor’s office states.
Despite having nothing to do with his role as the head of the Chicago City Council Finance Committee, Burke has been behind many gun control measures in the past. These range from the bans on firearms being present at protests to prohibitions on cell phone cases shaped like guns. He also backed a measure that would hold parents accountable for gun crimes committed by their children if they didn’t exercise a “reasonable effort” to prevent them.
More directly tied to his role with the city’s finances, the alderman suggested that any financial institution working with the city must submit an affidavit stating that their other customers would not sell firearms to individuals under 21 years of age, and forbidding them from selling “high capacity” magazines, circumventing the Second Amendment through monetary means.
Burke’s outward stance on firearms notwithstanding, he apparently has no aversions to owning a few—or 23—of his own. NBC Chicago reports that the alderman obtained a license as a private eye to gain a Firearm Control Card, necessary in Chicago to carry a firearm as part of employment. He also at one time held a license as a security guard. This was apparently unnecessary, as an 1872 law delegates mayors and aldermen as peace officers that can legally carry firearms.
For the record, he seems to be a good marksman; obtaining a score of 97 percent on his last qualifying test in December of 2011.