The gun debate hasn't cooled or subsided yet in Colorado since the Legislature passed a series of bills aimed at reducing gun violence, but lately their loudest critic has been causing a firestorm.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa took to conservative talk radio station "The Jeff Crank Show" to accuse Colorado Springs Democratic Senate President John Morse of witholding a bill on pay raises for the County Sheriffs of Colorado because of their opposition to the gun control bills.
Maketa posted a lengthy piece titled "An Injustice Against Our Citizens" on the El Paso County Sheriff's main website and Facebook page alleging that the Senate Democrats turned away citizens who wanted to testify against House Bill 1229.
“As I see it, Senate Dems have made it known, ‘sheriffs, obey or no pay for you,’” Maketa wrote. “The first word that comes to my mind is extortion.”
The bill however received nearly two hours of debate from Republicans opposed to the measure, and included opposing testimony from Maketa.
In media interviews Morse has called the accusations "blatantly false" and "reprehensible."
Sheriff Maketa's 'evidence' of Senate Democratic leadership extorting or influencing public officials is a chain of internal emails between sheriffs and CSOC speculating on the political climate at the Capitol. The Executive Director of CSOC has since confirmed that no legislator or legislative staffer attempted to influence the group regarding salaries. The email chain points out the true reason a salary bill has not been introduced -- it lacks the support of Sheriff Maketa's own party.
But Thursday night during a two-hour town hall meeting, Maketa urged an angry Colorado Springs crowd to mobilize against the legislation and support a recall of Morse.
During the meeting, Maketa said that the gun bills were "sold to the State and to the citizens as a big lie" and said that the bill limiting magazines to 15 rounds was "unenforceable."
He even said that he plans to ignore some new gun laws.
(An) audience member asked whether the sheriff’s office maintained a database of gun owners. Maketa said his office keeps records of every concealed carry permit holder in the county but that he would never share it.
“I was asked this question: ‘What if the state passed a law that required you had to turn over all of your database information to the state?’ I’ll tell you what my answer would be: ‘What database? I no longer have one,’” he said.
Maketa also mentioned that he was speaking with attorneys to see if litigation could be brought against the state if the bills become law.
On the El Paso County Sheriff's website Maketa wrote another piece on Thursday, this time titled "Still My Accusations Go Unanswered."
“I have the facts Senator Morse, now it’s time for you to explain your lies and inconsistencies to the citizens. Simply admit you changed the rules for your agenda and you are punishing the sheriffs for not supporting your gun bills. Admit you can’t explain your actions with any articulate facts.”
On his Facebook page Maketa announced that he would be appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss Jessica's Law, a bill that has failed four times in the Colorado Legislature. The law deals with sexual predators who target kids under the age of 14.
Though the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Colorado Office of the Public Defender have all agreed that the law isn't necessary because the state already has life sentences for such crimes in place, Republicans have argued that it would be more effective than gun control legislation.