Police have arrested a Colorado Springs man for allegedly making threats against Rep. Rhonda Fields, the Democratic sponsor of two of the more controversial gun-control bills making their way through the Colorado legislature.
Police say 42-year-old Franklin Sain threatened Fields in voicemail and email messages. Sain was arrested Friday, according to FOX31, and has since bonded out of jail.
Fields has been in the spotlight lately over bills that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and require universal background checks for all gun purchases. Gov. John Hickenlooper said on Face the Nation Sunday that the background check bill was among his highest priorities.
But the high capacity magazine ban drew national attention when Magpul Industries, a weapons components manufacturer, threatened to leave the state if the bill becomes law, drawing invitations to relocate from the leaders of several states, including Texas and South Carolina.
As passionate as the gun control debates have been, they’ve generally been respectful, at least outwardly. Yet some lawmakers have publicly complained about the capitol building’s less-than-high-tech security, with Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg noting it during debate on other gun control measures this year.
“This building isn’t all that well protected,” he said during debate over a bill that would have allowed school districts to permit its teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools. “I don’t even understand the security in this building. It’s not there.”
Some lawmakers have been known to bypass the metal detectors in the capitol with the blessing of state troopers — in an article in the Durango Herald, many acknowledged the open secret that some state lawmakers are carrying concealed weapons, even though it’s against the law for anyone without “legal authority” to be packing heat inside the capitol.
“Since I started here, I think I’ve always known that members had guns on the floor,” Democratic Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the speaker of the house, told the paper.
He told FOX31 that he saw the threat against Fields and said it would make anyone think twice about their safety.
The Colorado State Patrol, which provides security at the capitol, has increased the security around Fields as a result of the threats.
“I am grateful for the prompt work of the Colorado State Patrol in bringing this suspect to justice, and I also thank the Denver Police Department, which was instrumental in the investigation,” Fields said in a statement. “I will not be deterred by threats.”
The lawmaker from Aurora is passionate about gun legislation because of last year’s theater shootings, but also because her son was shot and killed in gang violence in 2005.
Her bills cleared the house and will soon be heard in the state Senate.
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