U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today introduced an amendment to the Sportsmen's Act that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from restricting interstate commerce of legal ivory, and products containing legal ivory. U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is introducing similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Alexander said: "The Obama administration's announced plan to limit the trade of legal ivory--such as that found in legally produced guitars, pianos, and firearms -- could prohibit musicians from buying or selling instruments that contain ivory, prevent firearms and family heirlooms containing ivory from being sold, and pose a significant threat to antique businesses. This amendment would prevent Washington overreach from treating Tennessee musicians, families and small businesses like illegal ivory smugglers."
Daines said: "Many Montana families own ivory-containing firearms or musical instruments that have been passed down from generation to generation and represent an important part of their way of life or heritage. This legislation will protect law-abiding citizens who own an antique firearm, instrument, or other family heirloom that happens to contain ivory from the Director's Order, which only punishes law-abiding Americans instead of seriously addressing the real problem of elephant poaching."
In February, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced its plan to prohibit interstate commerce of African elephant ivory as part of President Obama's National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trade. Restricting interstate commerce of ivory would affect whether an item containing ivory can be sold across state lines within the United States, as well as whether it can legally re-enter the United States if carried abroad during travel.
Alexander's amendment prohibits the administration from implementing this plan and prohibits the Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing any new rule, order, or standard that wasn't in place prior to Feb. 25, 2014.