Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is fighting a federal ban on ivory backed by the White House, claiming that it’s all part of the Obama administration’s elaborate ruse to take everybody’s guns.”For those who are concerned that this Administration is trying to take away our guns, well, this regulation could actually do that,” he said Friday from the Senate floor. “If this regulation is approved, when you decide to sell a gun, a guitar or anything else across state lines that contains African elephant ivory, the government would actually take them away – even if you inherited them or bought them at a time when the sale of ivory was not illegal.”
The sale of goods that are made from endangered species are often banned from commercial sale. That doesn’t mean that the already-existing items are confiscated. Auctions and interstate sales are often prohibited because they drive up the black market values and create a breeding ground for illegal poaching activity.
There are many items made from endangered species that are banned from commercial sale in the United States. It’s not something new, and of course it’s not part of some secret liberal plot to disarm gun owners one at a time.
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service:
“U.S. laws that protect wildlife and plants generally address the removal of species in the wild as well as commercialization in any form – whether alive or dead, or as parts or manufactured products. Sometimes the age of the item makes a difference as to whether it can be sold, but not always.
Some wildlife laws prohibit all sale or purchase of products made from a protected species. Examples include the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (which protects more than 1,000 wild birds native to the United States) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the legality of selling an item made from an endangered or threatened species in interstate or international commerce may depend on a number of circumstances, including the age and origin of the item and whether the species is native to the United States or not. The Endangered Species Act is the only Federal wildlife law that addresses the concept of an “antique,” and the statute specifies that such items must be at least 100 years old or older.”
So, there you have it. No, gun nuts, Obama isn’t going to break into your gun cabinet and steal your inoperable, but intricately-designed antique guns, just like he isn’t going to steal the leopard coat from your wife or mother, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service can seize it if you illegally sell it once the law goes into effect.
View Alexander’s full statement below: