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Gun-grabbing Chicago Democrat arrested on corruption charges; feds find 23 guns in his offices


A 150-year-old law may have provided a loophole that allowed him to keep the weapons at City Hall

Scott Olson/Getty Images

When the FBI raided the offices of Democratic Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, a strong proponent of gun control, they confiscated nearly two dozen guns.

Here's what we know

Burke is facing federal corruption charges and recently was subject to FBI raids of both his ward office and his office in Chicago's City Hall. He is charged with attempted extortion. Burke allegedly attempted to withhold permits from a company unless they agreed to retain his property tax law firm, Klafter & Burke. Burke has insisted that he is innocent. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, the Chicago Tribune reported.

During the sting of one of his offices, federal agents confiscated 23 firearms. It is unclear which office the guns were stored in which office at the time of the raid, but Chicago's WMMB-TV reported that at least some of the guns were on display at one point in City Hall.

Burke had been such a strong advocate for gun control that he had voted to outlaw cell phone cases shaped like guns.

While signs outside City Hall prohibit anyone from carrying firearms inside the building, Burke may have been able to circumvent this with the help of a nearly century-and-a-half-old loophole.

According to WBBM, an 1872 law designated aldermen as "peace officers." This designation may have allowed Burke to keep so many weapons inside City Hall in a city known for having some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. In addition to this law, Burke was also a licensed private detective and private security contractor, and had a valid Firearms Control Card.

While many of the guns Burke had in his office were historic, less than a month ago Burke had encouraged Chicago residents to hand over their own historic firearms. "Any of those guns that are sitting in your closet that some relative might have brought back from the First World War, Second World War, Korea, bring them in get your 100 bucks get those guns off the street," he said.

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