COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A local man was arrested last weekend on suspicion of sending threatening messages to a state representative who sponsored current gun control legislation.
Denver police arrested Franklin Sain, 42, on Feb. 22 after Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora accused him of harassment and attempting to influence a public official. He was released after posting bond.
Sain lives on Windy Oaks Road in northeast Colorado Springs. He declined to comment Monday, referring questions to his attorney, Laurie Schmidt. Schmidt did not return calls from KRDO NewsChannel 13.
According to court records, Sain sent six emails, a letter, and left a voice mail for Fields earlier this month that contained profanity and racial slurs. Fields is black. Police said they traced the messages to Sain's address, phone and email account.
Sain confessed to leaving most of the messages, court records show, saying it was out of anger and frustration over the gun control issue. He said he didn't threaten Fields and offered to apologize.
According to court records, Fields said she decided to press charges against Sain after the letter was mailed to her home and read by her daughter. Fields said she feared for her own safety and that of her family's enough that she considered canceling a scheduled public appearance.
Fields, a Democrat, recently sponsored proposed bills in the state House that require background checks for gun owners and limit the number of bullets in a gun's magazine. The House approved a package of four gun control bills that now await action by the Senate.
Fields responded to Sain's arrest on Twitter, saying: "Thank you for your aggressive police work, surveillance and protection of my family's safety. There is no such thing as an idle threat."
Fields' district includes the Aurora movie theater where last summer's mass shooting took place.
State Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, both Democrats, voiced support for Fields.
"Rep. Fields is just trying to do the best she can for the people of Colorado, and to keep the children of Colorado safe by limiting gun violence -- and it's met with more violence," said Morse. "It is just appalling."
"Over the course of this last week, I've received death threats, I've received rape threats against my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and other members of my family because I'm standing up against gun violence," said Ulibarri. "And to take a simple stance against gun violence, I've been met with the highest level of hate. I expected to take heat for the positions I take personally. But when my family's attacked, I think it goes way beyond anything that should happen in the public discourse about safety issues."
The Colorado State Patrol is providing security to Fields because of the incident.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said Sain has no prior arrest record.