Colorado

May 28, 2013 8:53 PM by Jacqui Heinrich, jheinrich@koaa.com

Board of County Commissioners back Sheriff Maketa's lawsuit, hundreds attend fundraiser

Doors are open right now for El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's town hall fundraiser supporting the lawsuit he and dozens of other Colorado sheriffs brought against the state's new gun control laws.

The event is being held at the Freedom Financial Expo Center on Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs; if early ticket sales are any indication, a large crowd is expected.

Tuesday morning Sheriff Maketa and his cause got the backing of another group: the El Paso County Board of Commissioners. All five county commissioners agreed the newly enacted gun control laws are vague, ineffective, and unenforceable. They voted to back Maketa's lawsuit against expanded background checks and limited ammunition magazines. "It shows that the claims that 90% of the people support these bills is false," Sheriff Maketa told News 5. Dennis Hisey, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners said of the vote, "This is absolutely proper and appropriate for the commissioners to weigh in and get involved. This is part of what we've been elected to do is to represent our citizens, be a voice for our citizens."

Their main concern: that the new laws won't reduce violent crime and instead target law abiding citizens. "Simple circumstances, where if I loan a friend that I've known for 30 years a rifle to go hunting with his son who may be visiting and they're gone for more than 72 hours, I'm in violation of the background check law," Maketa explained.

Sheriff Maketa came under fire after requesting the County Public Information Officer, Dave Rose, send email invitations to tonight's fundraiser over a county employee list-serve. Although the decision to accommodate Maketa's request was approved by the County Board of Commissioners, critics say Maketa shouldn't have used a taxpayer-funded public office to advance his agenda. "I think it is a misuse of power to be using your connections within the county to further your issues," Christy Lelait of A Whole Lot Of People For John Morse said. Lelait's group opposes efforts to recall Senate President John Morse, who spearheaded the new gun control legislation.

However, the Secretary of State's office says Maketa did nothing illegal by using the county list serve. "The only agenda pushed is for those of you who are not familiar, here's an opportunity to get educated. I wrote the release and it was very deliberately written to give people a choice and to let them know there was a cover charge and where that money would go," Maketa said.

That money is pouring in; tickets cost $5.00 and support the litigation fund. Although the conservative think tank The Independence Group took up the sheriffs' lawsuit pro-bono, money from tonight's event goes toward things like renting event space and document filing.

 

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