3-23-16 – The Ivory Ban

by John McClaughry

Here’s the latest example of many of our legislators not knowing what they’re doing.

The House has passed a bill urged on them by the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that would ban the import, sale, offer for sale, purchase, barter or possession with intent to sell of any elephant ivory, all ivory products – including mammoth ivory that is over ten thousand years old, plus whale, narwhal, hippopotamus, walrus or boar ivory. It also applies to rhino horn, a prohibition which is not controversial.

Of course the federal government has strict requirements governing the importation of elephant ivory, involving origin country certification and substantial import fees.

Here’s what the backers of this bill don’t get, or don’t care about. Some antique swords and guns were made with ivory inlays. If you happen to be caught with a Kentucky long rifle with ivory inlays, worth thousands of dollars as a collector’s item, you’ll face a fine of twice its value. There’s a presumption that your rifle is for sale if it is displayed anywhere close to anything that is for sale. If you’re caught, the government will destroy the rifle regardless of its historic value.

I’m all for protecting endangered elephant and rhino populations, and the US government is doing it. This bill – H.297 – is another example of passionate people eager to strike another blow against the firearms culture. The Senate should toss it in the recycling bin.

John McClaughry is the founder and vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shazzam March 23, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Protecting Elephant and Rhino populations must start in their home countries. For the VT legislature to make law pertaining to the buying & selling of preexisting ivory found in jack knife handles, guitar neck (instrument) inlays, or pistol grips pales in comparison to their handling of school choice, carbon taxation and legalization of ultra-octane marijuana (+23% THC v. the 4% Mexican ditch weed of the 60’s) enabling more people greater access to a ‘state’ of intoxication/taxation/hospitalization. (from here on to be referred to as ITH)

Everyone of these bills – either taxation or spending based – are an indictment of the liberal left’s inability to govern. These people can’t & won’t be removed because there are too many of them and too many on the right which are simply complacent voters.

Leaving VT behind is easier for the unestablished youth to simply go to NH and not face income & sales taxation. Yes, there are taxes in NH …. don’t write me letters …. but is the religion of liberalism/secularism as prevalent there? Because many of VT’s issues are of the heart/way of thinking, and that has to be changed 1st. lest a state’s governing body turns into the Congress of the United States …. which surely must be renewed/reformed as witnessed by the passion of national voters who are drawn toward the likes of Carson & Trump, who clearly aren’t as rooted to the DC establishments.


Shazzam March 23, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Sidebar: Ya wanna stop people using heroin?
We already have troops Afghanistan don’t we?
It’s no different than ivory folks – you stop it where it starts.
But in the US we would rather medicate the users and in the process, create another market of street drugs – pharmaceuticals – so the doctors & attorneys living on Grand Isle, Shelburne Point, Thompson’s Point and other well-heeled properties, can afford to pay their taxes to live (sic) here.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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