Tioga County Legislature and Tioga-SCOPE support SAGA

The Tioga County SCOPE group (Shooters Committee on Political Education) recently announced that a resolution passed by the Tioga County Legislature last month supports an amendment that was introduced into the House of Representatives in July.

At the Sept. 12 session of the Tioga County Legislature, members unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to pass the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA). The legislation, H.R. 3576 (SAGA), was proposed by Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY-27) and introduced into the House of Representatives in July of this year.

In similar fashion as Tioga County, the Niagara County and Orleans County Legislatures in New York also passed resolutions in September.     

The latest action on the bill occurred on Sept. 6, when it was referred to the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

According to the website, congress.gov, H.R. 3576 has 14 cosponsors to date, including Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23) and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY-22). The momentum for the legislation is lacking, yet still active. The most recent cosponsor jumped on board Oct. 24.

Glenn Hopler, Tioga County SCOPE chairman, an organization that works to inform the public about legislation that affects Second Amendment rights, commented, “I think Tioga County residents would be interested in this,” adding, “SCOPE members are supporting SAGA to the fullest.”

In Collins’ July 31 press release, he communicated that the legislation, “Protects Second Amendment rights to limit states authority when it comes to regulating rifles and shotguns, commonly used by sportsmen and sportswomen. The Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA) would prevent states from implementing any regulations on these weapons that are more restrictive than what is required by federal law. Upon passage of this bill, most of the language included in New York State’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 signed into law by Governor Cuomo would be void.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo was quick to reply on July 31, and communicated via Twitter, “Rep. Chris Collins wants to roll back this vital legislation and put millions of people at profound risk,” adding, “Don’t set back the progress we’ve made in New York.”

In the Tioga County Legislature resolution, it states, in part, “The Legislators of the Tioga County Legislature submitted a memorializing resolution that called for the repeal of the NY SAFE Act, however attempts to repeal the NY SAFE Act at the State level have not been successful. SAGA legislation aims to repeal many parts of the NY SAFE Act as it pertains to rifles and shotguns. Many law abiding gun owners have been left vulnerable as a result of the NY SAFE Act; the goal of SAGA is to restore Second Amendment rights that are currently being denied to citizens.”

At a public meeting hosted by Tioga-SCOPE in March, and which drew a large audience including the Owego Pennysaver, repeal of the SAFE Act was one topic discussed.

Senator Fred Akshar (R-NY-52) also attended the March meeting and at the time offered this comment about a potential SAFE Act repeal, “Let’s focus on one piece of the SAFE Act, and then keep moving,” adding, “If you’re passionate about repealing the SAFE Act, everybody in this room needs to become one voice.”

During a recent interview with Tioga County Sheriff Gary W. Howard for a separate story, when asked about the SAGA bill, Howard stated he was not familiar enough with it to offer an opinion. Regarding the SAFE Act, he commented it hasn’t impacted Tioga County to any large degree, and, “It was pushed through too fast.”  

But not everyone is in favor of the actions proposed by SAGA. 

Diane Lechner, committee chair of Tioga County’s Democratic Party responded, stating, “It is sad that the Tioga County Legislature would allow itself to be used to prop up the dying political career of Representative Collins, who is currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegations of insider trading. If our legislators actually left their ivory perches once in a while and went out into the communities they serve, they might learn that their constituents are actually more afraid of losing their healthcare, their jobs and their social security.”

For more information about the SAGA bill, visit www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3576/text.

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