By Chris Collins
Last Friday, I introduced the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), legislation that would protect the Second Amendment rights of all Americans by preventing states from exceeding existing federal regulations on rifles and shotguns.
This law would prohibit states from regulating, prohibiting, registering or licensing a rifle or shotgun for the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer, possession or marketing beyond the requirements of federal law.
If enacted by Congress and signed by the president, SAGA would repeal much of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act and stop his ability to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers by instituting strict rifle and shotgun regulations.
While I understand the importance of the 10th Amendment of our Constitution, which provides states the responsibility to initiate laws and regulations, states like New York should not have the ability to take away the constitutional rights of their citizens. The Constitution grants American citizens the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment. This amendment shall not be infringed upon and unfortunately, that is what Cuomo’s SAFE Act does.
Let’s face it. The SAFE Act was a bad idea from the start.
The legislation was drafted in closed-door meetings. The text was not available until 20 minutes before the State Senate was scheduled to vote on the measure. And Cuomo bypassed any debate of the legislation in both the Assembly and the State Senate. That is a pretty cavalier attitude when it comes to taking away a constitutional right.
The SAFE Act also creates an incredible amount of confusion.
The Cuomo bill originally prohibited the sale of magazines that hold more than seven rounds. The problem, of course, was that seven-round magazines do not exist for most popular firearms. This provision of the bill was amended shortly after passage to allow for the sale of 10-round magazines, but now only seven rounds can be stored at any one time.
Adding to the confusion is that many of the SAFE Act’s outlawed long guns are safely used by sportsmen and women throughout the nation.
Despite promises that curbing the Second Amendment rights of Americans will reduce violent crime, the SAFE Act has had no meaningful impact on crime or gun violence. Statistics show that violent crimes where a firearm is used have remained static since 2013 in both New York State and Erie County.
The Founding Fathers envisioned a society where Americans have, and will forever possess, the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted one way, and that is it guarantees that Americans have the right to own a firearm. It is one of my most important duties, as a member of Congress, to assure that the rights granted to the people in my district are not infringed upon.
Upon passage, my SAGA legislation will stop the infringement of our Second Amendment rights by Cuomo and the state of New York.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, represents New York’s 27th District in the House of Representatives.