Colorado lawmaker sponsoring gun bills gets threats
Ryan Summerlin February 25, 2013
DENVER – Denver police arrested a man suspected of threatening a Democratic state lawmaker who’s sponsoring bills to expand background checks for firearm purchases and limit the size of ammunition magazines.
Franklin Sain, 42, was arrested Friday on suspicion of harassment and attempting to influence a public official, said police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez. Sain is suspected of sending emails and leaving a voicemail for Aurora Rep. Rhonda Fields, the sponsor of the bills and representative of the district where the summer’s theater shooting occurred.
Lopez would not elaborate on the threats.
Sain was released on $30,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Denver County court March 8 to hear what charges he could face, said sheriff’s Capt. Frank Gale.
Sain is chief operating officer of Englewood-based SofTec Solutions, a technology services consulting firm. He did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
The Colorado State Patrol said it is providing extra security for Fields, who has been one of the Democrats leading the push for more restrictions on access to firearms. Besides representing the district that was the site of the theater shooting in which 12 people were killed, Fields is also known for her losing her son, who was gunned down in 2005 before she became a legislator.
“I will not be deterred by threats,” Fields said in a statement in which she thanked Denver police and the state patrol.
The Colorado House passed four gun measures last week, including the two that Fields sponsored. One requires background checks on all firearm purchases, including those conducted online and between private sellers. Another bill would limit the size of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds for firearms and eight for shotguns.
The measures will be heard in the Democrat-controlled Senate next week.
“It’s OK to disagree with legislators. It’s OK to express your opinion,” said Senate President John Morse. “But we’re protected by the same public safety measures as everybody else. It’s not ever OK to threaten someone.”
Morse said other Democrats in his chamber have also received threats, but none rose to the level of what Fields received.
Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino previously said some in his chamber also reported threats, but none has triggered an investigation. He said he doesn’t know how many lawmakers have received threats.
“We always get a lot of, I would say not the nicest emails, not the nicest letters, but when it rises to a threat that becomes something very serious,” Ferrandino said.