On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), along with original cosponsor, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced S. 1769, the “African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015.” This bill would prevent the Obama Administration from banning the U.S. sale and trade of legally owned ivory, as well as ensure that sport-hunted elephant trophies can be imported from countries with sustainable elephant populations.
Recently, the Administration has taken steps to ban the domestic sale and trade of legally owned items that contain ivory under the guise that the ban will stop poaching and end the international illicit trade in ivory. In the U.S., ivory has long been used in gun making, just as it has been used in fine furniture, jewelry, and musical instruments. Ivory is widely used in rifle and shotgun sights and sight inserts, and for ornamental inlays in rifle and shotgun stocks. Custom handguns--such as General George S. Patton’s famous revolvers--are also often fitted with ivory grips. Ivory is also widely used in related accessories used by hunters and fishermen, such as handles on knives, gun cleaning equipment, and tools. While the goal of restricting illegal commerce in wildlife is laudable, restricting trade in these items--all made of ivory from elephants taken long ago--will do nothing to further current anti-poaching efforts, or to reduce the international illicit ivory trade.
In addition, the Administration intends to limit the number of sport-hunted African elephant trophies that an individual can import to two per year. Hunting has, in fact, been hailed as a valuable tool of wildlife conservation in Africa because it contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the economic well-being of local communities, as well as provides resources to combat poaching. Limiting legally-taken trophies from sustainable populations is an ill-advised and scientifically unsupportable restriction.
S. 1769 would prevent the Administration from banning the sale and trade of legally-owned ivory in the U.S., as well as ensure that sport-hunted elephant trophies can be imported from countries with sustainable elephant populations. The NRA fully supports S. 1769 and appreciates Senator Daines’s and Senator Alexander’s leadership on this important issue.
Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced H.R. 697, the House companion bill to S. 1769.
Please Contact Your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 1769.
You can contact your U.S. Senators about this important legislation by using our "Write Your Lawmakers" tool or by phone at (202) 225-3121.