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Massachusetts: Committee to Hear Ivory Ban Bills

Friday, September 29, 2017

Massachusetts: Committee to Hear Ivory Ban Bills

On Tuesday October 3, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will have a hearing on bills to enact a New York-style ivory ban that is more severe than the federal ivory ban.  Please consider attending the hearing to voice opposition to SB 450 and HB 419.  In addition, please contact members of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and urge them to oppose these bills!  Click the “Take Action” button below to contact committee members.

Senate Bill 450, sponsored by Senator Jason Lewis (D), prohibits the sale, offer of sale, purchase, or possession with intent to sell, any ivory or rhinoceros horn with limited exceptions.  Under this legislation, a first offense for purchasing and selling ivory or ivory products is a possible fine of up to $4,000 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horn, and rhinoceros horn products involved in the offense, whichever is greater, and possible imprisonment for up to 6 months in a house of correction.  For a second offense, a person shall be fined no less than $8,000 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horn, and rhinoceros horn products involved in the offense, whichever is greater, and may be imprisoned for up to 18 months in a house of correction.  For continued offenses or for any offense where the value the trafficked ivory and/or rhino horn and other trafficked items combined equals $25,000, a person may be imprisoned for up to two and a half years in a house of correction and fined no less than an amount equal to $40,000 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horn and rhinoceros horn products involved in the offense, whichever is greater.

House Bill 419, sponsored by Representative Lori Ehrlich (D -8) and Senator Jason Lewis (D) also prohibits the sale, offer for sale, purchase, or possessing with the intent to sell of any ivory or rhinoceros horn with limited exceptions.  The punishments for offenses are equivalent to SB 450.

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 Massachusetts citizens who have legally acquired ivory products.  For example, it would become illegal for firearm collectors to buy and sell many firearms containing decorative ivory inlays, bead sights and/or ivory grips.  The exceptions for buying and selling antique products and other valuable collectibles containing ivory are limited.  Antiques containing ivory must be over a hundred years old, leaving the owner with the burden of proof to document the age of antiques in his possession. 

These bills 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.

Once again, please consider attending the hearing to voice opposition to this measure and please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to oppose SB 450 and HB 419. Details of the hearing may be found below.

October 3 from 1PM-5PM
Room B1
24 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02133

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