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California Lawmakers Say They’re Receiving More Threats than Ever

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SACRAMENTO -- It may just be a microcosm of the political division facing the country -- but more so than ever, lawmakers in California are hearing from angry constituents. And some of their messages include serious threats.

"You ever feel like you have a target on your back?" Assemblyman Jim Cooper said.

Cooper says the tone of the threats this year is very different.

"You think about it sometimes. You have to be very careful in what you're dealing with and know, could this have the potential to cross a line. And if it can, I need to inform the sergeants," Cooper said.

While Cooper says most threatening statements are toothless, law enforcement at the Capitol has to take all of them seriously.

"You have folks out there, their reality is blurred, so you never know when they're going to go out and actually do something," Cooper said.

The Sergeants-at-Arms for the Senate and Assembly handle all threats made directly to lawmakers. Neither could speak with FOX40 Monday about the number of threats they've dealt with, but two lawmakers we spoke with say they, and their colleagues, have had to rely on the Capitol security much more this year than in the past.

Monday an email went out to all Senate staff at the Capitol, notifying them of an upcoming security training session. It reads in part:

"This workshop is designed to educate staff on the need for a survival mindset and swift action in the event of an active shooter/threat incident.
Participants will come away with a better understanding of the focus of law enforcement during active threat situations and learn personal protection procedures that may be helpful in the event they find themselves in an active threat situation."

Cooper says it's sad these seminars even have to happen, but he says as someone who's been on the receiving end of threats -- they're necessary.

"So, yes, I know how it feels, it's not a fun feeling because your family doesn't sign up for this," he said.