Imagine the pearl clutching going on right now in the Empire State’s seats of power. One of their own, upstate Congressman Chris Collins, has introduced a bill he’s calling the Second Amendment Guarantee Act. As buffalonews.com reports, the premise of the bill is refreshingly simple.
Collins’s proposed law — the Second Amendment Guarantee Act, or SAGA — would overturn current state and local gun laws that are more stringent than federal regulations, while blocking states and localities from enacting any such laws in the future.
SAGA basically mirrors preemption laws that are already in place in dozens of states around the country. With a few notable exceptions. Which is why the terrifying specter of SAGA is being greeted with about the same level of shock and horror among the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex as the prospect of national reciprocity has been.
First among those shrieking their opposition are some of Rep. Collins’ home state pals, who recognize that if SAGA passes, New York’s stringent gun control regime would become null and void.
The SAFE Act will be in mortal danger if Rep. Chris Collins gets his way.
But the Clarence Republican’s legislative proposal for overturning New York’s tough gun control law, and others like it, remains a long way from becoming law. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and congressional Democrats are likely to do all they can to prevent that from happening.
So would national anti-gun groups, some of whom were apparently shocked into speechlessness by the very prospect of national preemption.
A spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence failed to respond to a request for comment. Yet other gun control advocates, such as State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, were quick to criticize the Collins proposal.
“SAFE Act is a common sense gun safety law,” Ryan, a Buffalo Democrat, said on Twitter. Calling Collins’ bill a dangerous bid to end gun safety laws, Ryan added: “He should remember all we have lost.”
Here’s a good rule of thumb: any proposed legislation that has left-leaning politicians citing the Constitution to support their political position is probably worthy of support.
State officials said they believe the bill may violate the Constitution’s 10th amendment.
That amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
And another excellent indicator: anything that riles up Governor Andrew Cuomo — who worked so hard to ram the SAFE Act though in the dead of night — is also probably on the right track.
Cuomo issued a statement denouncing Collins’ gun legislation as a blatant political ploy.
“Chris Collins is turning his back on New Yorkers and putting millions of people at profound risk,” Cuomo said. “By fighting to roll back vital legislation that protects the people of the Empire State, Collins is demonstrating once again that he is beholden to no one but the gun lobby and entrenched special interests.”
As the Buffalo News article accurately notes, the bill has a long row to hoe before becoming law.
It’s not clear that Collins’ measure could cross the 60-vote threshold for passage in the Senate, given that Democrats may have the votes to block it if the measure got that far.
Getting a majority in even the Republican-controlled House could be problematic. Still, SAGA’s introduction, and the reactions thereto, will be nothing if not entertaining.