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Important Update on the Obama Administration's Proposed Ban on the Domestic Sale of Ivory and Importation of Elephant Trophies

Friday, June 27, 2014

In recent Grassroots Alerts, we addressed the Obama administration's proposal to ban the trade and sale of legally owned ivory within the United States (click here to see the initial alert).  The NRA supports efforts to stop poaching and the illegal trade of ivory.  However, banning lawfully-owned domestic ivory will have no impact on elephant poaching in Africa.  On the contrary, such a ban would affect only honest, law-abiding Americans by making their possessions valueless.  Please see this New York Times article highlighting the broad spectrum of people who will be harmed by the ban. 

Due to recent actions taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), any item containing ivory cannot be sold within the United States unless the seller is able to prove that the item was imported prior to 1990.  The burden of proof is on the seller of the item, and FWS has yet to detail the documents the seller will need.  As more information becomes available, the NRA will continue to provide updates.

On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held a hearing titled, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Plan to Implement a Ban on the Commercial Trade in Elephant Ivory."  During the hearing, an agent from FWS confirmed that a near complete ban on the sale and trade of ivory within the United States will be proposed within the "next two months."  While individuals would still be able to sell items that are bona fide antiques (over 100 years old), the burden of proof would be on the seller to provide documentation that the ivory is old enough. Many bona fide antiques do not have this documentation. FWS has also announced that they will soon limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophy imports to two per hunter, per year. Again, as these issues progress, the NRA will continue to provide updates.

We ask again that you please call your Representative and Senators at 202-224-3121 to let them know you oppose the ban on commercial sale and trade of firearms with ivory, as well as the limitations on the importation of sport-hunted elephants. 

Your actions today may determine if the sale of firearms that contain ivory, as well as the importation of sport-hunted elephants, will be banned.  The NRA is currently meeting with offices in the House and Senate, and we will continue to keep you informed as this issue progresses.

For more information on the proposed ivory ban, please read the NRA-ILA Ivory Ban Fact Sheet here.



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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.