Update below: As we've reported, the debate over Colorado gun-control legislation has gotten ugly, with the most prominent example being executive Franklin Sain's arrest for racist and sexist e-mails sent to Rhonda Fields, a rep whose son was shot to death.
The negative PR garnered by Sain hasn't stopped the attacks on Fields -- see an example below. And on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show, Senate president John Morse said another legislator also received a threat -- from a local newspaper editor. Details and video below.
In a wide-ranging Friday-evening segment, aired before the state senate pushed ahead the majority of its gun-control package (only a repeal of concealed carry on college campuses and a liability measure for gun makers and dealers were withdrawn), Maddow argued that Colorado's actions represented a national bellwether on the issue.
She also dug deeper than the typical East Coast broadcaster translating Colorado news for a country-wide audience, noting, for instance, that the Aurora theater attack in July wasn't the first mass shooting in the city. She not only shared information about Nathan Dunlap's early 1990s rampage at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, but shared footage of the sole survivor still struggling with guilt over the incident decades later.
Still, the lion's share of the piece featured her interview with Morse, who expressed confidence that the majority of the Democrat-sponsored bills would move ahead in the process even as he acknowledged that thanks to attacks from gun-control opponents, "the pressure has been amazingly intense."
Maddow had previously referenced the Sain case, but Morse maintained that "there's actually a better example" of the weight lawmakers in favor of toughening gun laws have had to shoulder.
"There's one of my senators that lives in a town that still has a newspaper, a pretty good-sized newspaper that like 85 percent of the folks in her district read," Morse said. "And the general manager of that newspaper sent her an e-mail that said, 'I'm the general manager of this newspaper. I'm the one that controls the newsroom. I control which stories get done and how those stories get done. And I don't like these bills.' So he threatened her with how he's going to cover her, and then followed through, really. She was in the paper and on the front page for a week, practically a week straight, including with pictures that weren't very flattering, almost deliberately."
Who is the senator in question?
Continue for more about Rachel Maddow and Colorado gun legislation, including a video. Morse doesn't name either the specific lawmaker or the newspaper in question. But (update) KRDO-TV reports that the individual was Representative Angela Giron, who considered an e-mail from Pueblo Chieftain General Manager Ray Stafford to have been threatening. Stafford disagrees.
In the meantime, Fields once again was the focus of personal attacks -- this time over a shoplifting arrest back in 1991, long before she was a legislator. According to Fox31, Fields had discussed the incident in 2010, saying that early the previous decade, "she had just left an alcoholic husband and was struggling to feed her children." But that didn't stop activist Jeniffer Raiffie from tweeting her booking photo last Monday -- and while that message was later removed after criticism from Colorado Peak Politics, a conservative blog, the mug continues to be spotlighted on the Guns For Everyone Facebook page. Here's the photo, accompanied by a GFE message:
What a minor infraction more than two decades ago has to do with whether or not gun laws in Colorado need to be tightened following the July theater massacre -- not to mention the Dunlap killings and the attack on Columbine High School before then -- is unclear. But what's certain is how epically nasty this debate has become.
And the matter is far from resolved. The state senate is expected to vote on the five remaining gun-control measures today.
Here's the Rachel Maddow show segment.
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