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Massachusetts: Ivory Ban Legislation May Be Heard in the Senate This Week

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Massachusetts: Ivory Ban Legislation May Be Heard in the Senate This Week

With only a few days left in the 2016 legislative session, Senate Bill 2241 could still come to vote before the legislature goes on recess at the end of the week.  It is imperative that you contact your state Representative and state Senator and urge them to oppose S. 2241!

SB 2241 would prohibit a person from importing, selling, offering for sale, purchasing, bartering or possessing with intent to sell - any ivory, ivory product, rhinoceros horn or rhinoceros horn product with limited exceptions.  Despite the familiar rhetoric, this bill would do nothing to promote its purported goal of addressing poaching and the illegal ivory trade; however, it would impose unfair restrictions on law-abiding citizens.

While the National Rifle Association stands in opposition to the illegal ivory trade and poaching, arbitrarily banning the trade and sale of legally owned, pre-ban ivory will not save one elephant.  Our association is receptive to measures that directly target the illegal ivory trade and poaching.  We do not, however, support symbolic measures that do little more than move the goalposts for law-abiding citizens and deprive them of the value of property that was originally obtained legally and in good faith.  Needless to say, property that cannot be sold is radically diminished in value.

While this bill contains limited exceptions, it does not adequately address the overall concerns.  The exception for items containing “de minimis” quantities of ivory fails to take into account the many variations of ivory pieces that may be present on a firearm.  For example, ivory on a firearm can vary from decorative inlays, to bead sights, to ivory grips.

Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has always 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, S. 2241 ignores that premise and creates confusing and burdensome regulations that nearly prohibit the purchase or sale of any ivory, ivory product, rhinoceros horn, or rhinoceros horn product in Massachusetts.

To read more about ivory ban legislation, please refer to NRA-ILA’s Ivory Ban Fact Sheet. ​​

Additionally, please note that your NRA-ILA is continuing to explore the legal options available in Massachusetts in regards to Attorney General Healey’s unilateral decision from last week.


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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.