Thursday, November 13, 2014


Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is taking a novel approach to attack a federal ban put in force in 1976 by the Fish and Wildlife Service designed to stop the slaughter of African elephants for their ivory tusks. Alexander asserts that the federal ban could, among other things, "take away our guns."

“For those of us who are concerned that this administration is trying to take away our guns, this regulation could actually do that," Alexander said Wednesday, speaking on the Senate floor about his bill that would roll back the ivory ban.

According to the Senior Republican Senator from Tennessee, the ban would also affect
musicians who own and use guitars with ivory inlay.  It seems obvious, though, that the thrust of his proposed ban is to garner support from the National Rifle Association (NRA), not guitar players.

The relatively small amount of ivory used for pistol grips and guitar inlay is already protected by a grandfather clause for ivory in use prior to the ban.  In fact, most ivory before and after the ban has been used to make cheap trinkets such as back scratchers and key chains, not works of art.  At issue is the matter of documenting that the ivory in use dates prior to 1976 – a small inconvenience to pay for protecting a magnificent species that is rapidly becoming extinct in the wild.

Called the ‘Lawful Ivory Protection Act,” Alexander said of the bill, “I support stopping poachers, and I support stopping the trade of illegal ivory," Alexander said. "What I don’t support is treating ... musicians, antique shops, and firearms sellers like illegal ivory smugglers. … This legislation will stop the administration from taking away our legal guns, guitars, and other items that contain legal ivory if we try to sell them across state lines.”

Alexander would have us believe that protecting a relatively few artistic uses of ivory – or rather preventing a minor inconvenience to dealers – outweighs the protection of a vanishing species.  I don’t think so.

And while it probably won’t do any good since the bill demonizes gun control advocates – though it isn’t a 2nd Amendment issue – and Alexander has clearly stated that it is a ban passed under the dreaded Obama administration, but if you agree with me contact our esteemed senator at: 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510;  (202) 224-4944; or

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