Democrats in the General Assembly have given Colorado Sheriffs an ultimatum: they either enforce the new gun control laws or they won’t get support for the pay raise they so desperately want – at least that’s the situation according to El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa.
Maketa framed the situation a little more succinctly, “Senate Dems have made it known, ‘Sheriffs, obey or no pay for you,’” said Maketa on his website. “The first word that comes to my mind is extortion.”
That’s a pretty hefty accusation, especially coming from a chief lawman.
To back up his claim, Maketa pointed to an email he received from a member of the County Sheriffs of Colorado (CSOC) stating, “I’ve been advised by a very reliable source at the capitol that the Dems are seriously not pleased with CSOC position on the gun bills… support of SB197 [one of the gun bills] would put us in a more favorable light for salary bill support from the Dems…”
In other words, the Democrats were looking for a tit for tat deal, ‘You scratch our back; we’ll scratch yours.’ Of course, what makes that offer painfully troubling is that it’s at the expense of the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Though, thankfully Maketa and several other sheriffs did not take the bait. They stood strong on principle.
See, Maketa is part of larger group of sheriffs who publicly opposed the gun control measures that were signed into law recently by Gov. John Hickenlooper, those measures included: a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammo and universal background checks on all gun purchases.
Earlier this month, in voicing his opposition to the new gun laws, Maketa argued that the magazine ban is virtually unenforceable due to the grandfather clause, and that he may look the other way while acting as sheriff.
“I can’t tell you when those [magazines or guns] were sold, bought and purchased. As far as I’m concerned, they were all pre-July 1 if the governor does sign this bill,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have flatly denied any wrongdoing or that they were attempting to coerce sheriffs into supporting gun control legislation.
“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,” Doug Schepman, spokesman for the Senate Democrats, told The Denver Channel.com.
“The Executive Director of CSOC has since confirmed that no legislator or legislative staffer attempted to influence the group regarding salaries,” Schepman continued. “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 [GOP].”
But Maketa rejected that argument and still believes the pay raise bill is being held “hostage” by disgruntled Democratic lawmakers.
“None of these gun control bills they passed required any Republican co-sponsors — but for the sheriff pay bill, [the speaker] required seven Republican co-sponsors to put it up for a vote,” Maketa told Fox News. “I’m sorry, but that tells the truth right there.”
Maybe it does. However, Sheriff Maketa is going to have a tough time proving it. It seems that all the evidence is simply circumstantial at this point. A sort of he said/he said dilemma.
You can hear Sheriff Maketa discuss the situation in more detail below or check out his website, where he has a statement entitled, “Still My Accusations Go Unanswered”: