COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A verbal shootout over gun control continues, but it's turned into a fight no one ever expected.
At odds, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa and the head of his own lobbying group.
On a Saturday morning conservative radio show, Maketa said that Senate Democrats had threatened sheriffs' pay because sheriffs don't support gun control legislation. He called it bordering on extortion.
Maketa based the claims on an email he received from Chris Olson, the executive director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado. But now Olson tells TARGET 13 that he never felt threatened by anyone at the capitol.
"There were no threats that were ever intended in that email," said Olson, who has said that Maketa is "on his own" with the claims.
The email Olson wrote suggests that sheriffs support one gun control measure, a bill that would ban domestic abusers from owning guns (SB 197), in an effort to get Democratic support on an idea to raise salaries for county officials.
Olson writes in part: "I have been advised by a reliable source at the Capitol that the Dems are seriously not pleased with the CSOC positions on the gun bills, and given the potential for a real salary bill to be introduced...support of SB197 would put us in a more favorable light for salary bill support from the Dems. I do not believe we would be sacrificing our principles or positions on the other gun bills by supporting SB197."
Olson would not reveal his "reliable source at the Capitol" to TARGET 13, but said it was not a legislator or staff member of a legislator.
"It was people I work with at the capitol," said Olson. "And it's just a normal course of business down there where you exchange information, so that's all it was."
Maketa says he still believes what Olson described was a threat from Democrats.
"I was quite taken aback by Chris Olson claiming that, 'Maketa's on his own,'" Maketa said Tuesday.
He said he now has as many concerns about Olson as he does Senate Democrats.
"I'm taking that up with leadership of the sheriffs association," Maketa said.
Despite his claims that the so-called threats bordered on extortion and attempts to influence a public official, he said no investigation is under way and he feels no crime has been committed.
"If I felt a crime had been committed, I wouldn't be talking about it," Maketa said.
He went on to say if he's wrong about the allegations he'll "gladly stand up and apologize, but right now there are too many things that point to it."
To read the entire email exchange between Maketa and Olson, click here.
There was hope by some that the Legislature would take up a bill to boost salaries for county officials.
Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, told TARGET 13 that no senator, Democrat or Republican, introduced such a bill. On Tuesday he clarified that while no one had introduced the bill, two Democrats came to him asking for a late bill request on the matter.
Morse said before moving forward he required seven co-sponsors from Republicans, and that was not obtained.
Maketa asked why that was necessary when the gun legislation did not have anywhere near that many co-sponsors.
"Clearly he will ram other bills through without any bi-partisan approach, why is he treating the salary bill any different?" Maketa said.
Morse said that it was in fact the first time he had required so many co-sponsors on a bill and we asked him why.
"Can you imagine running a bill to increase the pay of county officials in these economic times?" Morse asked. "We're not raising your salaries unless we have Republicans to help us."