Both bills are carefully tailored to allow the Administration to combat African elephant poaching and criminal organizations that sell illicit ivory in China. The bills protect innocent Americans who have complied with existing import prohibitions on antiques and the large stocks of ivory that have been in the United States for over 25 years.
Sen. Alexander said, "the Obama administration's announced plan to limit the trade of legal ivory—such as that found in legally produced guitars, pianos, and firearms — could prohibit musicians from buying or selling instruments that contain ivory, prevent firearms and family heirlooms containing ivory from being sold, and pose a significant threat to antique businesses."
Rep. Daines said, "[m]any Montana families own ivory-containing firearms or musical instruments that have been passed down from generation to generation and represent an important part of their way of life or heritage. This legislation will protect law-abiding citizens who own an antique firearm, instrument, or other family heirloom that happens to contain ivory from the Director’s Order, which only punishes law-abiding Americans instead of seriously addressing the real problem of elephant poaching."
Both bills would prohibit the USFWS from implementing any new rule, order, or standard regarding the sale and trade in ivory that wasn't in place prior to Feb. 25, 2014. That is the date a Director's Order initiated a process which would essentially make criminals of anyone who sells or trades ivory or any item containing even the smallest amount of ivory, such as ivory inlays or minor embellishments on larger pieces, even though the item or the ivory in it was legally imported into the U.S. decades prior to the existing bans. The new Administration policy would devalue billions of dollars of legal property from tens of millions of law-abiding Americans, essentially an unconstitutional government taking.
Existing import restrictions that have been in place for 25 years exemplify the U.S. world leadership in protecting elephants by stopping illegal ivory from entering our country. Virtually all the trade in poached ivory occurs in China. The USFWS' and world bodies’ extensive monitoring of illegal ivory shows that illegal ivory trade into the U.S. is not significant, and when found, is aggressively prosecuted. This legislation would stop USFWS from wasting resources on prosecuting innocent Americans and focus on criminals in Africa and Asia.
The Elephant Protection Association condemns the illegal slaughter of elephants and supports practical efforts to stop elephant poaching and trade in illegal ivory, but the Administration's effort to outlaw legal ivory that has been in the U.S. for decades will not save a single elephant. The Administration has not shown any evidence that this policy will change demand for ivory in Asia which fuels poaching in Africa. The only thing that is clear is that this ban unfairly impacts millions of law-abiding Americans by ignoring the Constitution, constructively seizing billions of dollars’ worth of property, and destroying culturally significant art.
recent news about the ivory ban
- The Administration's New Ivory Ban: I'm From the Government and I'm Here To Kill Elephants and Treat Americans as Criminals
- The Wrong Way to Protect Elephants
- US ivory crush sends the wrong message to elephant poachers