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Massachusetts: Ivory Ban Legislation to be Heard In Committee Next Week

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Massachusetts: Ivory Ban Legislation to be Heard In Committee Next Week

Please contact members of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and urge them to oppose S. 440! 

The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will hold a hearing on Tuesday, November 17, at 1:00 p.m. in Room A-2 to consider Senate Bill 440, legislation aimed at banning the intrastate trade in legal ivory and ivory products.  Its companion bill, House Bill 1275, had a hearing three weeks ago which generated a large turnout of individuals who strongly opposed this type of legislation.

S. 440, sponsored by Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), is a misguided bill that would prohibit the importation, sale, offer for sale, purchase, barter or possession with intent to sell of legal ivory or ivory products in Massachusetts, with very limited exceptions, as previously reported.  This bill is based on the entirely false premise that it will reduce the poaching of elephants in Africa and help end the illegal ivory trade.  In truth, banning trade in legal ivory would only have a negative impact on those who possess lawfully acquired ivory in Massachusetts. 

The NRA applauds efforts to stop poaching and the illegal ivory trade, however S. 440 is not the answer and would only negatively impact those who have no part in these illegal activities.  American collectors, sportsmen, hunters and recreational shooters have legally purchased firearms that incorporate ivory features for decades.  These include some of America’s most historically significant and collectible guns.  Ivory is also commonly integrated in accessories used by hunters and fishermen, such as knife handles and handles for gun cleaning equipment and tools.

Additionally, this bill would not allow antique dealers and collectors to buy or sell other legal antique ivory and ivory products such as musical instruments, jewelry and furniture pieces.  For example, a person selling an ivory product, such as an antique piano with ivory keys, could unknowingly become a felon overnight.

Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has maintained the position that most ivory in the U.S. has been legally imported and that its sale within the country has not materially contributed to the illegal ivory trade.  Despite this fact, the measure focuses on the taking of property that was acquired legally and in good faith.  Property that cannot be sold is radically diminished in value.

While the NRA stands in opposition to the illegal ivory trade and poaching, banning the trade and sale of legally ownedivory will not save one elephant (mammoth ivoryis covered in the bill, even though mammoths have long been extinct).

Please contact members of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee and inform them of your opposition to S. 440!  If you are available Tuesday, November 17, we urge you to attend this important hearing. 

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Massachusetts Ivory
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