On Saturday, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told radio station KVOR that he received an email last week that said Democrats would either stop or stall pay raises for the state’s elected sheriffs if they did not support Colorado’s pending gun control legislation, The Blaze reported Sunday.
"I have not been directly threatened or coerced in any way nor would I tolerate any threat," he wrote on Facebook, but added that a message that was delivered verbally to a representative of the Colorado Sheriff's Association "basically stated that the Senate Dems are very upset with the Colorado Sheriffs opposing the gun legislation proposed by the Senate Democrats."
Maketa said he was “absolutely outraged by that. Number one, the salary bill for elected officials is a mandate of the legislature. Creating gun control is not a mandate, and in this case, there is no factual basis for it."
In the interview, Maketa said he made it clear the pressure being put on sheriffs borders on extortion and an attempt to influence a public official.
According to Maketa, some sheriffs in the organization suggested a compromise, supporting a proposal that would remove firearms and ammunition from those accused of domestic violence before being convicted.
KVOR's Jeff Crank said the incident should be investigated by the attorney general as a crime.
According to Mike Opelka, elected sheriffs in Colorado have not seen a pay raise in seven years.
Calling the email a "quid pro quo," Maketa said Democrats "are holding the salary of sheriffs hostage to gain compliance with gun control matters."
He also said the gun control measures passed by Democrats will not increase public safety or save lives.
"Rather than create laws that criminalize law abiding citizens or infringe on due process and property rights, we should be targeting criminals," he wrote.
Maketa wrote that the salary increase will not affect him personally since he is being term limited.
"I want to make it clear this is not about me, or any threats made directly toward me; this is about doing what's right and we have many sheriffs around this state standing their ground and defending law abiding citizens," he wrote.
Of the 30 sheriffs that stood against the gun control measures, only one was allowed to speak.
A post at Spotlight on Corruption said the email is being withheld as possible evidence in a potential state or federal investigation.
Video of the interview with Sheriff Maketa can be seen here.
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