This week, the Connecticut House of Representatives referred House Bill 6335 to the Committee on Judiciary for consideration.
House Bill 6335 would prohibit the sale, purchase, or possession with intent to sell, of ivory or rhinoceros horn with limited exception. Under this legislation, purchasing and selling ivory or ivory products would become a Class B misdemeanor and would set unreasonable fines of not less than $3,000 or potentially imprisoned for 6 months. Law-abiding citizens who have no part in elephant and rhinoceros poaching would potentially become criminals overnight by unknowingly selling products containing ivory.
The primary advocates of this legislation 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 Connecticut. 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 Connecticuters who have legally acquired ivory products.
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. 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 gun owners and sportsmen.
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