This week, the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee is scheduled to hear Senate Bill 1858 for a second time. After being heard in March, this legislation was postponed pending the filing of amendments. SB 1858 was introduced with the supposed intent of curbing poaching and helping to end the illegal ivory trade. Unfortunately, SB 1858, as amended, would accomplish neither of these purported objectives. The bill 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 have incorporated 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 SB 1858 the import, sale, purchase, barter, and possession with intent to sell of any ivory (defined to include any teeth or tusk), ivory product, or items which included any animal’s teeth or tusks (including wildlife mounts) will be prohibited. Virtually any lawful item containing any amount of ivory would be rendered valueless as it could be a misdemeanor for you to sell it or for another person to buy it.
SB 1858 would significantly diminish the value of legally obtained firearms containing any ivory, even if that ivory was legally purchased or is a bona fide antique. This is even stricter than recent federal proposals to further restrict domestic sales of ivory. There will be severe penalties and fines for persons found guilty of selling ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horns and similar items.
Please contact members of the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 1858. Contact information is provided below.
Senate Environment and Conservation Committee:
Senator David Koehler (D-46), Chairperson
Senator Heather A. Steans (D-7), Vice-Chairperson
Senator Kyle McCarter (R-54), Minority Spokesperson
Senator Dale A. Righter (R-55)
Senator Sam McCann (R-50)
Senator Tim Bivins (R-45)
Senator John M. Sullivan (D-47)
Senator Julie A Morrison (D-29)
Senator Pat McGuire (D-43)
Senator Linda Holmes (D-42)
Senator Melinda Bush (D-31)
Senator Scott M. Bennett (D-52)