Law professor weighs in on SAGA legislation

Law Professor Weighs In On Saga Legislation

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Republican Congressman Chris Collins has introduced the Second Amendment Guarantee Act - or SAGA. It would limit the authority of states when it comes to regulating rifles and shotguns.

If the bill passes, most of the language included in the SAFE Act would be void.

That's also true for any other state that has tough anti-gun laws.

Congressman Collins spoke with gun clubs in Monroe County and Erie County on Monday to unveil his new legislation which would prevent states from passing laws restricting Second Amendment rights when it comes to rifles and shotguns.

"This legislation would declare null and void the SAFE Act as it applies to rifles and shotguns used by sportsmen and hunters," Collins told the Monroe County crowd.

Collins told reporters in Hamburg that he is confident he can find enough support in the House.

"I don't think that's going to be difficult at all because a lot of Democrats also are sportsmen, they are hunters," said Collins.

And, Collins sees a clear path forward.

"There is no judicial dispute when the federal government passes such a law. It does preempt state law," he said.

2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik spoke with U.B. law professor Rick Su via Skype on Monday about this legislation and the potential challenges it could face in the future.

“Rick, what was your initial reaction when you read this proposed legislation?" asked Dudzik.

"I was a little shocked. It's a very broad law. Very extensive. I know the Congressman has talked about it primarily with regards to the New York SAFE Act, but the extent of the law would essentially preempt all gun registration laws, all gun related laws, throughout the country," said Su.

"So, what kind of constitutional challenges could this face?" asked Dudzik.

"Well, interesting enough there's actually been a lot of constitutional challenges with regard to federal government regulating firearms. And what's interesting about them is that the courts have often said that the federal government is a government of limited powers and that when they go too far in regulating certain areas without a specific constitutional grant of authority, that that's beyond their powers. It looks like this particular bill is trying to say that the federal government can preempt state firearm regulations because of the Commerce Clause. The question for the court is, is this really about interstate commerce or is this really about a policy question with regards to domestic criminal law issues?" said Su.

"What kind of chance does this have even getting through the House at this point?” asked Dudzik.

"It will be interesting. On the one you might say especially with the popularity of gun rights and the Second Amendment with regard to Republicans, that Republican control would mean that this would likely go through. But there is another problem with this, which is that the law is actually quite extensive. It would effectively preempt all state laws, any regulation, any registration regardless of what it's about, concealed carry, open carry, this and that, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Congressmen would find that their states would not want their particular laws about who can possess a firearm, for example, even in red states, from being preempted by federal power," said Su.

You can read the full text of the proposed legislation here.

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