Rowlett Man Sentenced for Illegally Dealing Guns

Investigators say J. D. Burke knew what he was doing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    J.D. Burke of Rowlett will spend a year in federal prison for illegally selling guns without a license. He's planning to appeal the sentence handed down Thursday. (Published Thursday, Jun 27, 2013)

    A Garland business owner will spend a year and one day in federal prison for illegally selling guns without a license.

    A jury found J.D. Burke guilty of selling guns without a license out of his Garland print screening shop in February.

    Investigators said at one point Burke sold at least 135 weapons within 14 months, including at least one sale to an undercover ATF agent.

    "I've been a dealer for a long time. I knew the rules. I tried to obey the rules as best as possible. ATF put stuff in there that just wasn't true," said Burke.

    However, prosecutors argue they served him with a cease and desist several years ago, which they said he ignored.

    "We respectfully disagree with him. Mr. Burke had repeated warnings that what he was doing, in terms of selling a large number of firearms without a license, was against the law," said Taly Haffar, assistant U.S. Attorney.

    Up until now, the gun enthusiast insists he was only selling guns out of his personal collection, which is legal.

    "That is my passion," said Burke. "I love guns. My whole family are gun owners and shooters. Guns saved my life way back when. It's tough, being able to not even have a gun in my house for my own protection."

    Prosecutors said the sentence is setting an example to other people who might illegally deal guns, that no one is above the law.

    "Mr. Burke knew what he was doing, he was informed of that and chose to disregard them [the laws]," said Haffar. "The reason we have these gun laws are to make every attempt possible to keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to commit misdeeds."

    Burke said it hurts more that, as a convicted felon, he will never be allowed to own a gun again. He has been ordered to report for prison on July 30.

    "I'm not happy with it, but I'm not mad either," said Burke, of the sentence.

    Burke said he's planning an appeal.