2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Maketa’s gun law comments trigger tense exchange

Published: March 18, 2013, 2:37 pm, by Daniel Chacon

maketaComments that Sheriff Terry Maketa made last week about a package of gun bills have sparked a tense email exchange between a Manitou Springs woman and county officials.

It started when Joan Powers emailed the sheriff saying she was “shocked, dismayed and sickened” that he wouldn’t enforce laws he didn’t like.

“Sherrif Maketa will do nothing to enhance our national image of Colorado Springs and El Paso County with his recent comments,” Powers wrote Friday.

“Sheriff Maketa has just supplied the entire nation with more supportive information for our backwards, non-progressive image.  Thank goodness we have beauty and outdoor sports to attract creative, young professionals to our area, because they certainly won’t come here for enlightened, intelligent and fair law enforcement,” she added.

Powers cc’d the Board of County Commissioners as well as The Gazette.

Maketa, as well as Commissioners Peggy Littleton and Amy Lathen, responded.

Highlights of their emails:

“Clearly you received some mis-information and that (is) unfortunate.  If you could point me (to) your misinformed source, I would be happy to have it corrected.  The truth of the matter is that I announced to that very group, that I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado.  I further explain in very clear terms, that I would enforce all (laws) passed through the legal process of our legislature,” Maketa wrote.

“Ps. should you decide you would like to speak to me directly in a civil manner, I would be more than happy to talk to you,” added Maketa, who provided his phone number.

“I know that the Sheriff and I take our oath of office very seriously, that we are to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Colorado.  I would ask you, after refreshing yourself on the Constitution, to consider whether the elected officials in Denver are holding to their oath of office when they propose bills that blatantly violate the Constitution?” Littleton wrote.

“If the citizens of this county, who overwhelmingly (80%+ in at least one case) elected Sheriff Maketa in three county-wide elections are too “backwards and non-progressive” in your words, then I would suggest your efforts to personally confront and change all of them or find a location in which you find the citizens more enlightened and apparently, less embarrassing to you,” Lathen wrote.

Powers responded to them all.

“We can all have our difference of opinions, but you, Sheriff Maketa, don’t get to pick and choose what you will or will not enforce once laws have been passed.  That is a reprehensible stand for an officer of the law.  If you think that a particular law is unenforceable, say so, but don’t encourage people to go ahead and break that law because they have nothing to fear from you,” Powers told Maketa.

“There is a majority in Colorado that want some form of gun control.  Most of the laws that will go into effect in Colorado are completely normal in most universes.  I only hope Terry Maketa can make peace with that and do the job he is sworn to do,” Powers told Littleton.

“By the way, are you suggesting that I move from El Paso County as a way to resolve my angst with a Sheriff that has publicly stated that there are certain laws and regulations he will flaunt?  I have heard that argument used before….but have always found it to be sophomoric at best and threatening at worst.  I hope you will reconsider using that argument with others that disagree with you in the future,” Powers told Lathen.