A Rowlett Man Illegally Sold 135 Guns from His Print Shop, Insists He's "Too Old to Go to Jail"

Categories: Guns

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Last week a jury found 68-year-old Jackie Don Burke guilty of one count of unlicensed sale of firearms. According to Burke's own records he sold 135 firearms in 14 months, because if you're gonna do it then why not do it big?

One of those firearms was a pistol the Rowlett resident sold to an undercover ATF agent. His background check involved asking the agent for a driver's license and apparently not much else.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Burke claimed he was selling guns from his personal collection (which is legal), but his screen-printing business had a sign out front that said he was "in the business of selling guns."

The jury had a lot of trouble trying to suss out this distinction. In court documents they twice asked U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn for clarification on being a "dealer," which finally prompted her to write back, "Remember you may use common sense as you consider the evidence and the charge."

Burke is out on bond until sentencing on May 24, facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. At the trial, Burke kept insisting to the jury that he is "too old to go to jail."

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44 comments
jesdynf
jesdynf

Oh, look. Gun-culture guy doesn't want to take responsibility for his conduct. Gosh, I hadn't seen that one before.

monstruss
monstruss

"The Greatest Generation," ladies and gentlemen. 

lemonaioli
lemonaioli

Dude is still alive = he's not too old to go to jail. Might have a good 20 years of life ahead of him.

manpanties
manpanties

isn't this an example of enforcing existing gun laws that gun folks are always going on about?  if so, good.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Oh, and how many BATF or DOJ folks have gone to jail for dumping thousands of guns into Mexico? 

roo_ster
roo_ster

Shouldn't be a crime to sell to a gun to a free American citizen..  If some adult ought not be trusted with a firearm, why are they out on the street and not in jail, deported back to their country of origin, or in the funny farm? 

Guns are just one of the many items one can get to cause mayhem, if one is so inclined.  A $500 beater automobile is 3500+lbs of human-smashing kinetic energy when it mows down pedestrians by the baker's dozen on downtown sidewalks.  I suppose some folk think requiring a vehicle inspection would prevent that.

All one needs is an internet connection (or access to the public library)  for the recipe and $100 to blow at Lowes or Wal-mart to cook up some gnarly explosives or toxic gas.  

Heck, if one wants to derail a train to either injure the occupants or dump unpleasant materials into a neighborhood, we're talking less than $50 in tools.

Too many folks use voodoo logic when thinking about guns. 

bryanr01
bryanr01

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@manpanties  Yup.  Of course, if he had sold them to the Cartels, the ATF would have given him a salary rather than prosecute him.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@roo_ster

so much idiocy, so little space to reply...

According to the above perverse logic, if a person is deemed to not be responsible enough to possess a firearm "they [shouldn't be] out on the street", i.e. placed in confinement, or "in the funny farm"? so much for individual rights, eh? lock up those who don't pass your test!

Nobody is denying the fact that there are a multitude of ways for a person to inflict harm on others, however only an idiot would deny the wisdom of using unobtrusive means to reduce the risk to society if such can be reasonably done.

background checks easily fall into that category, they are easy, unobtrusive and make sense. at least to reasonable people that is...

bifftannen
bifftannen

@roo_ster Not only do you have to have insurance for an automobile, but the operator has to have a license to operate the vehicle. Said operator has to renew that license every so often. You either have to take a class, or prove that you are capable of operating the vehicle before you get the license.

Your idea is great, let's require training, licensing, and insurance for all gun owners!

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@roo_ster Yeah, all that's true, but most criminals just want a gun to do things like hold up a convenience store, shoot other gang members or control others whom they are burgling or robbing. They don't usually want to murder dozens of innocent people. So, that seems like a pretty good reason to do everything we can to make sure the purchaser of a firearm has minimal risk of using it for misdeeds. If you skirt the law and sell guns to just about anyone who wants one, thereby potentially putting others at risk, you deserve to be punished.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@mavdog Yes, I know that deliberately misconstruing others' words can be fun, but it stopped being mature in the 7th grade.

Quite simply, if someone is free to walk the streets and buy 3500lb kinetic energy killing machines many times more dangerous than firearms, then they ought to be considered fit to buy a less dangerous item like a firearm(1).  If that person has been determined to be a risk and selling them a firearm is folly, they have no business being out & about able to rent a Ryder truck and stuff it full of high explosives or phosgene gas.  Or free to derail traincar loads of sulphuric acid or chlorine gas in the middle of a residential neighborhood that straddles the tracks.  Like so many do here around DFW.

.

.

.

(1) Gawk at _accidental_ death rates to get an inkling of how dangerous items are.



RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog I am a gun owner and a 2nd amendment advocate.  I'm against a gun registry, gun owner registry, I grudgingly see the need for a concealed carry licensing program.

However I'm completely supportive of background checks for firearms sales.  My only question is: how do you keep them from being misused?  Either by the government itself or by private 'sellers' fishing for personal information.  That is a tricky area.  I think they need to be implemented, but reasonable safeguards need to be put into place.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@bifftannen None of that bushwa matters if the mass-murdering driver wants to break the law and turn downtown Dallas into Road Pizza Central.  Licensing, insurance, and stern warnings are not likely to deter a mass murderer.  Besides, if you pay 100% cash, you do not need either a license or insurance. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bifftannen Operating a vehicle is a privilege, granted to you by the State.  Owning and bearing a firearm is a Right (yes, capital R), an Individual, inaleinable Right, and as such the government really has no business interfering with it. Of course, as Americans, we have stupidly allowed our government to stomp all over our Individual Rights and it may be too late to get the shit back into the goose.  1st Amendment: Speech; restricted by rules/laws regarding libel, slander, incitement and decency; Assembly; restricted to 'proper time, place and manner; Religion; restricted as to when and where and why it may be practiced.  2nd Amendment: Licensing, training, and certification required before being allowed to carry concealed; open carry openly banned in most locations; limits on what firearms one can own.  3rd Amendment: I think we're still pretty good on this one.  4th Amendment: Patriot Act.  5th Amendment:  your medical records, which are a written account of your physical person, can be subpenaed, effectively calling you to witness against yourself; eminent domain has removed any security we have in our possessions. 6th, 7th, and 8th: due process is lost in many regulatory cases, red light cameras do away with our right to confront our accuser, and the other sundry legal protections we have are either whittled away by smooth talking lawyers or trounced upon by gavel-heavy judges.  9th and 10th: even our enumerated powers are being taken from us, do you really think those powers not expressed are actually reserved for us? (think gay marriage: it is not enumerated in the BOR, nor is it an expressly given or forbidden power in the constitution, ergo, the power to decide who people want to marry should be left up to the people themselves)

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @roo_ster  Yeah, all that's true, but most criminals just want a car to do things like hold up a convenience store, run from the police, and get away from the people they are burgling or robbing. They don't usually want to run over dozens of innocent people. So, that seems like a pretty good reason to do everything we can to make sure the purchaser of a car has minimal risk of using it for misdeeds. If you skirt the law and sell cars to just about anyone who wants one, thereby potentially putting others at risk, you deserve to be punished.


We need universal background checks for car purchases.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog @RTGolden1 So replace 'car' with Bow.  If a bow is stolen from your locked house and used subsequently to kill someone, are you liable? 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1

we do disagree. if the homeowner did not secure the weapon in the home then yes he is as negligent as if it were left in the car. merely locking the home is not sufficent.

the analogy to a car is not credible. the car is used as a means of transport, while the weapon only has a use of firing a bullet.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog @RTGolden1 You're correct, firearms ownership, like every right comes with inherent responsibilities.  The responsibility to maintain proper physical security of the firearm is paramount among them. Safe ownership and use of the firearms and also, not making it public that one owns a firearm.

Here is where we will probably disagree: Responsibility of the owner if the firearm is stolen and used in a crime. The law abiding firearm owner should bear no responsibility, unless the firearm was stolen through gross negligence (leaving firearm in vehicle).  If the firearm is stolen from a locked home, and used in a subsequent crime, that responsibility lies on the criminal, and solely on the criminal.  If your car is stolen and the thief causes a fatal accident while driving it, are you liable?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1

Reasonable question, that question is typically used by those seeing a government conspiracy to take away guns (see LaPierre testimony). frankly such fear is unfounded. We are a nation of the rule of law, and the law says a citizen can own a gun. the government isn't going to take them away. never will.

the fact of the matter is databases exist for voter registration, social security, tax filings, etc. It's not creating anything new, safeguards are already in place and will work to keep the data secure.

We disgree on registration, all firearms need to be registered. registration creates a trail of ownership, where it came from should it be misused. the owner of a firearm should be held responsible for its security and liablity should it be used in a crime. I believe the ownership of a firearm entails responsibility for its use, or misuse.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@cantkeepthetruthdown

when did you stop beating your wife?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@icowrich @everlastingphelps @Scruffygeist Enforced it?  No.  But they had it, violated or not.  The right to bear arms isn't a granted right (like "shall enjoy" in the 6th.)  It was a self-evident right, which is why it says "shall not be INFRINGED."  If it hadn't been infringed, slavery would have been gone a lot sooner (and if it hadn't been infringed in Jim Crow, the Klan wouldn't have gotten a foothold.)

As Alan Gura said in the Heller case to the SCOTUS, (paraphrasing) "that the state is in the habit of violating the people's rights does not mean that they no longer have them."

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

and yet, at the same time, the right to keep and bear arms WAS restricted to just free people and NOT people who were merely property.

how about that?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Scruffygeist And yet, at the same time, the right to keep and bear arms WASN'T restricted to just voting citizens.

How about that?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@everlastingphelps You do realize at the time the Constitution was written that the vote was only for white dudes? 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

no picture ID required at the polling place, yet a form of identification must be provided in order to register.

one must understand how to vote, otherwise one will not successfully vote, the ballot would be tossed if not done correctly. it may be intuitive, yet the rules of voting are always explained, so yes there is required "training".

what does insurance have to do with anything? just because you interjected it doen't make it germaine. no one requires an owner of a firearm to carry insurance, and there isn't any call for this either.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@mavdog No picture ID required, no training REQUIRED, and no insurance required for voting.

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

@mavdog I know you are formulating some argument out of thin air but the rest of us are actually responding to the one that was proposed a few comments above. Try to follow along. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@cantkeepthetruthdown

hmm, there is no licensing requirement for individuals to possess a firearm in Texas.

total failure on your part....keep up the good work!

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

@mavdog Do any of those restrictions require a license or insurance? No. Are there already restrictions on the keeping and bearing of arms? Yes. Countless more than the limited areas of speech that are not protected. It's just more of a power grab for power hungry assholes like yourself. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@cantkeepthetruthdown

there are restrictions on an individual's freedom of speech, it is not absolute, just as there should be restrictions on firearms, that right is not absolute either.

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