State Representative Madeleine Dean (D-153) recently circulated a memo to all members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives asking for co-sponsorship on legislation that would prohibit the trade of legal ivory and ivory products in the state of Pennsylvania. Similar to a memo sent out two years ago, this proposal would prohibit the sale, importation, purchase, barter or possession with intent to sell legal, antique ivory and ivory products in the Commonwealth, making any lawfully-owned product that contains ivory worthless. Please contact your state Representative and urge them to NOT co-sponsor this legislation! Click the “Take Action” button to contact you state Representative!
The primary advocate of this legislation, the Humane Society of the United States, would have you believe that this is a sound approach for stopping ivory poaching and trafficking; however, this is a misguided proposal that targets firearms collectors, sportsmen and other antique ivory owners of Pennsylvania. Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the position that nearly all ivory in the U.S. has been legally imported and that its sale in the United States did not contribute to the illegal ivory trade. American collectors, hunters, and recreational shooters have legally purchased firearms that have incorporated ivory features for decades. These include some of America’s most historically-significant and collectible guns. This proposed ivory ban would create strict and unnecessary restrictions that wouldn’t prevent the poaching of elephants, but will instead hurt law-abiding Pennsylvanians who have legally acquired ivory products.
For example, it would become illegal for small antique business owners and antique gun collectors to buy and sell many antique products containing legal ivory. The exceptions for buying and selling antique products containing ivory, such as musical instruments, jewelry, furniture pieces, guns and other valuable collectibles are limited.
Under this legislation, purchasing and selling ivory or ivory products would become a misdemeanor of the second degree and would set unreasonable fines of $1,000 or more. Law-abiding citizens who have no part in elephant and rhinoceros poaching would potentially become criminals overnight by unknowingly selling products containing ivory.
Once again, please contact your state Representative and urge them to decline the co-sponsorship of this misguided legislation.