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Washington: Committee Hearings to be Held on Ivory Regulation Bills

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Washington: Committee Hearings to be Held on Ivory Regulation Bills

Yesterday morning, House Bill 1131 received a public hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  Sponsored by state Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-37), HB 1131 was introduced with the supposed intent of curbing poaching of elephants in Africa and helping to end the illegal ivory trade.  Unfortunately, HB 1131 and its companion bill Senate Bill 5241, sponsored by state Senator Steve Litzow (R-41), would accomplish neither of their purported objectives.  The bills would, however, harm those who have no part in these activities; firearm owners, sportsmen, hunters, recreational shooters and gun collectors who have legally purchased firearms (and knives, jewelry and other items) that incorporate ivory features for decades. 

Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintained the position that most ivory in the U.S. has been legally imported and that its sale in the U.S. did not materially contribute to the illegal ivory trade. Nevertheless, under HB 1131 and SB 5241, the import, sale, purchase, barter, and possession with intent to sell of any ivory (defined to include mammoth ivory) or ivory product would be prohibited.  Virtually any lawful item containing any amount of ivory, with very limited and narrow exceptions, would be rendered valueless as it would be a felony for you to sell it or for another person to buy it.

The proposed ban allows for some antiques over 100 years old to be sold or traded, but the onus would be on the owner to prove that the ivory meets this requirement.  In most cases, legal, pre-ban ivory pieces are not that old, and lack the documentation required to meet this exemption.  The bills provide no guidance as to what documentation would be considered “sufficient” to establish the age of an item.

House Bill 1131 is scheduled for another hearing next week in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee where further public testimony will be accepted. Also next week, Senate Bill 5241 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.  Your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you updated when more information is available.

Please contact members of both committees as well as your state legislator and politely urge them to oppose House Bill 1131 and Senate Bill 5241. Contact information for both committees is provided below.

 

Legislative Hotline:
(800) 562-6000

Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee:

Senator Kirk Pearson, Chair (R-39)
Email
(360) 786-7676

Senator Brian Dansel (R-7), Vice Chair
Email
(360) 786-7612

Senator Brian Hatfield (D-19)
Email
(360) 786-7636

Senator Maralyn Chase (D-32)
Email
(360) 786-7662

Senator Mike Hewitt (R-16)
Email
(360) 786-7630

Senator Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1)
Email
(360) 786-7600

Senator Judy Warnick (R-13)
Email
(360) 786-7624

 

 

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee:

Representative Brian Blake, Chair (D-19)
Email
(360) 786-7870

Representative Kristine Lytton, Vice Chair (D-40)
Email
(360) 786-7800

Representative Vincent Buys (R-42)
Email
(360) 786-7854

Representative Tom Dent (R-13)
Email
(360) 786-7932

Representative Bruce Chandler (R-15)
Email
(360) 786-7960

Representative Hans Dunshee (D-44)
Email
(360) 786-7804

Representative Christopher Hurst (D-31)
Email
(360) 786-7866

Representative Joel Kretz (R-7)
Email
(360) 786-7988

Representative Ed Orcutt (R-20)
Email
(360) 786-7990

Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-37)
Email
(360) 786-7838

Representative Joe Schmick (R-9)
Email
(360) 786-7844

Representative Derek Stanford (D-1)
Email
(360) 786-7928

Representative Kevin Van De Wege (D-24)
Email
(360) 786-7916

  

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