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Congressman Collins aims to repeal SAFE Act

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Congressman Chris Collins was in the town of Rush Monday introducing a new bill that would repeal New York's  SAFE Act.

Speaking at the Rochester Brooks Gun Club, the Western New York Republican said the Second Amendment Guarantee Act or "SAGA" would limit states' authorities when it comes to regulating rifles and shotguns.

Collins said under the SAFE Act, which currently regulates guns in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to call rifles and shot guns "assault weapons," but Collins believes that’s too extreme a term.

"I would challenge the Governor or anyone else to even find a true definition of what an assault weapon is because it doesn’t exist."

Under this legislation, any current or future laws enacted by a state or political subdivision that exceeds federal law for rifles and shotguns would be void.

Collins has been fighting Governor Andrew Cuomo since the creation of the SAFE act in 2013, saying that Second Amendment rights were unjustly taken away from New Yorkers under this legislation.

"We're not going to allow a state to restrict your First Amendment rights of free speech. We're not going to let a state to stomp on your rights of religion. And we're not going to let them stomp on your rights for the Second Amendment."

Collins went on to say he knows the proposal will “drive the Governor crazy,” because he is calling him out for “another unconstitutional move.”

Governor Cuomo responded to the proposed legislation saying  it was a “blatant political ploy” on Collins’ part, adding, "This disturbing bill puts New Yorkers in harm's way - and to make it worse, there is no basis for it. None. The courts have resoundingly upheld New York's law as consistent with the Constitution. We understand that Washington is in turmoil right now - we just ask that they don't do anything to set back the progress we've been able to make despite them."

Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement saying that the city is working hard to take illegal guns off the street and she says the SAFE Act uses common sense steps to keep guns from those most likely to hurt themselves or others, while safeguarding the constitutional right to bear arms for law-abiding New Yorkers.

She says the Collins’ proposal would “roll back these important measures” and reverse progress that is being made in Rochester.