From Knife Rights On Proposed Ivory Ban

I am a firm believer in conservation. Notice I said conservation and not preservation. Preservation is for artworks; conservation is for land and animals. Locking up a forest makes it susceptible to disease and fire. Likewise, legitimate hunting of elephants and other ivory bearing animals gives them an economic value. With an economic value comes protection and anti-poaching initiatives. I may never hunt an elephant but I recognize that both the numbers and herd health will be helped by hunting.

Banning the trade in ivory legitimately brought into the United States in the 20th century will do nothing to stop current poachers. If anything, it will increase the economic reward to poachers. It is akin to the so-called war on drugs. Efforts to dry up supply just increase the street price of cocaine, meth, etc. and increase the incentive to the cartels to try and smuggle it into the country.

The comments on the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal close on Monday. I sent my comment in today. Here is what Knife Rights has to say about it:

Comments are due on Monday, September 28, 2015, to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Proposed Rule Change
that would implement a domestic ivory ban affecting millions of
Americans, including owners of ivory-handled knives and knives with
ivory embellishment. With very few very limited exceptions, it would be
illegal to buy, sell or trade any ivory or any item with even the
smallest bit of ivory included. Not a single elephant will be saved by
punishing owners of decades-old perfectly legal ivory that has been in
this country since before import bans were implemented in 1990.
Practically all the poached ivory goes to China or Asian countries,
virtually none of it come to the U.S
. (Click here for additional details on the Proposed Rule Change and a link to the published NPRM)

Rights abhors the poaching of all species. The proven solution is to
attack poaching at the source, not punish lawful ivory owners in the
U.S. who cannot have any effect on poaching in Africa. Successful
anti-poaching programs in Africa have demonstrated that an integrated
comprehensive approach that encourages the locals to fight poaching does
work to save elephants.

the investments of millions of Americans will not save a single
elephant in Africa. This is the worst kind of “Feel Good – Do Bad”
government action.

As of Wednesday, Sept.
23, over 1,500 comments have been submitted. Too many are from people
who make simplistic and emotional statements about saving elephants or
repeat factually unsupported slogans from non-profit organizations
making millions of dollars off this campaign to ban ivory.  However,
many others are thoughtful comments explaining why the proposed rule
punishes innocent Americans without doing anything to stop poaching in
Africa. We need you to add your voice of reason to those opposing this absurd, abusive and illegal ivory ban.

Ideally, your comment should be personal and specific, but comment regardless. 
Form letter comments are not as effective as individual comments, but
regardless, please comment because every comment in opposition counts!
Use the information below to develop your comment.

The Proposed Rule Change is arbitrary and capricious.  It punishes
people who have invested in ivory, including ivory-handled knives and
knives with ivory embellishment, that was legally imported decades ago
which has nothing to do with recent African elephant poaching.

The government should focus resources on stopping poachers in Africa and
prosecuting criminals who smuggle ivory to Asia if it wants to stop
elephant poaching.  Punishing innocent Americans who own or trade ivory
that was legally brought to this country before the poaching crisis has
no rational relationship to poaching African elephants, so the Proposed
Rule Change seriously violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

FWS misrepresented data and studies about ivory in the United States. 
CITES data shows that hundreds of tons of illegal ivory flows to China
and Asia, but almost none of it comes to the United States.
Even Dr. Daniel Stiles, an expert FWS relied upon in the Proposed Rule
Change, submitted a comment pointing out how FWS has misrepresented his
The legal ivory import control system in place before February 2014 was
working in the United States, and government prosecutions show that they
were certainly capable of investigating and successfully prosecuting
the very few people who break the law.  Creating a new class of
criminals from people who need to sell or trade in otherwise legal ivory
will waste resources, distract from enforcement efforts against actual
poachers and smugglers, and unfairly persecute people who abided by
international trade bans that were already in place. Along with creating
bad policy, FWS’s misuse and misrepresentation of data is an egregious
violation of the federal Information Quality Act. (Click here for more background on this blatant violation of the law)

* FWS’s claim that less than 2% of ivory sales will be impacted by this ban is nonsense.  (Here you should describe how the ban would impact your business or collection individually, where applicable.) 
Conclude by stating that this ban falls almost entirely on small
businesses, so the FWS certification in the proposed rule that it would
not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small
entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act is false.  As
is their finding under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement
Fairness Act that there is not a disproportionate impact for small or
large businesses.

* The exceptions in the Proposed Rule
are useless and do not adequately allow legal and legitimate commerce as
directed in Executive Order 13648 on Combating Wildlife Trafficking in
July 2013.
  To qualify for any exception, a person would need
to provide documentation about import, sales and transfers that was not
required in the past, so it was never created.  FWS undermines all of
the exceptions, which are irrational, vague and arbitrary in any case,
by placing an unachievable burden on legal ivory owners.  The agency
also fails to describe specific documentation burdens with specificity,
so even if an owner or business has some documentation about an ivory
item, he or she cannot be certain whether documentation is adequate.
These failures are serious violations of the federal Administrative
Procedure Act.

* Add any additional personal objections
to this irrational and abusive rule that is unfair, un-American and will
not save a single elephant in Africa. Please be polite in your comments
so they will be taken seriously. 

Conclude by
demanding that FWS must either withdraw the proposed rule entirely for
its failure to follow the law or, alternatively, at a minimum publish an
extensive revision correcting its many errors for a full new notice and
comment period. Nothing less is acceptable.

The above are suggestions that you can adopt or add to as you see fit.

FWS does not accept comments by e-mail or fax.  You need to submit comments online by 11:59 PM, September 28 at:  Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) Proposed Rule: Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife and Plants: African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Rule;

You can also view comments already submitted at this website. (Alternatively, if that link doesn’t work, then go to Once at the website, search: FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091) 

on the “Comment Now” button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Follow the instructions on screen for submitting comments. When
submitting comments, you can either identify yourself or type
“Anonymous” in the required name fields.  You can type your comments
directly into the provided text box, copy and paste into the text box or
upload a file (below the text box).

If you must submit comments by mail, they must be postmarked by 11:59 PM, September 28. Mail them to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091
Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: BPHC
Falls Church, VA  22041 


Another Bill That Chris Christie Needs To Veto

The list of ridiculous bills that the New Jersey Legislature has passed and that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) needs to veto has grown again. In addition to the magazine ban bill this is sitting on his desk, there is now a bill that totally bans ivory or “ivory products”. This ban extends to 10,000 year old ivory from mammoth tusks.

Ivory products are more than carved elephant tusks. They would include things like the keys on older Steinway concert pianos, 150-year old whale scrimshaw, slabs and handles from knives, old billiard balls, and the grips on George Patton’s revolvers. Banning the transfer of ivory or ivory products at the state level does nothing to stop elephant poaching in Africa.

Knife Rights has issued a strongly worded alert on this bill. Reading through the bill myself, I agree that it is all encompassing and permits no real exceptions. It is a bill that ought to be vetoed.

In a move
that caught just about
everyone by surprise, last
week the New Jersey
legislature quietly passed
a draconian total ivory ban
bill with no exemptions for
existing legal ivory and
that even bans
10,000-year-old mammoth
ivory. This
poorly drafted bill even
opens the door to outright
confiscation of
ivory-handled knives and
arrest of knife owners!

Rights unequivocally
supports legitimate
efforts to stop the
illegal slaughter of
elephants in Africa


bill will not save a
single elephant

instead of going after
poachers, smugglers
and traders of illicit
ivory, the New Jersey
legislature has
decided to launch an
all-out attack on
innocent New Jerseyans
by passing an absurd
TOTAL Ivory Ban

will not save a single
living elephant


Rights has asked Gov.
Christie to veto this
irrational and very
destructive bill.

you are a New Jersey
resident or do business
in New Jersey, WRITE or
CALL the Governor TODAY
and ask him to VETO

The NJ Ivory Ban Bill
outlaws ALL ivory from ANY
ANIMAL (elephant, hippo,
mammoth, narwhal, walrus,
whale, etc.). It makes it
illegal to to import, sell,
offer for sale, purchase,
barter or possess with
intent to sell (a
intentionally vague term of
law subject to abusive
interpretation that could
lead to knife confiscations
and arrests)
ivory or ivory product with no
exceptions for antique or
heretofore legal ivory
imported decades ago prior to
the existing 24-year-old U.S.
ban on ivory imports.

This ban would
irreparably harm owners of
ivory-handled and fossil
ivory-handled knives,
antiques, musical instruments
and any items containing ivory
legally imported into this
country decades ago by
stripping their value – a
taking of millions of dollars
from law-abiding New
Jerseyans. The ban would
criminalize legitimate
business owners and cause
immediate ruinous financial
loss for them. It will
cost the state millions of
dollars in tax revenue and
save a single living


bill will not save a
single elephant

because study after study
have shown no connection
between the legal ivory
market in decades-old
ivory in the U.S. and
poaching in Africa. International
and U.S. studies
document that virtually
all the ivory poached in
Africa goes to China
where it is valued at 6
times the price of
decades-old legal ivory
in the U.S.

Moreover, it is already a
federal crime to import
ivory into the U.S. and a
crime to possess or sell
illegally imported ivory.

This outrageous
and draconian bill also
represents an unconstitutional
“taking” of
protected private property,
violating both the Fifth
Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution and Article 1, #1
and #20 of the N.J.
While lawsuits
challenging this law, if
signed, wend their way though
the courts, untold hundreds or
thousands of ivory owners will
be arrested and prosecuted
under this absurd law.

This is “feel
good – do bad”
legislation at its

Jersey residents and all
who do business in New
Jersey should WRITE or
CALL the Governor TODAY
and ask him to VETO S.2012/A.3128.

Email Governor
Christie at:
Call the Governor at: 609-292-6000

When you call or
write, all you need to do is
ask the Governor to VETO
S.2012/A.3128, the ivory Ban
Bill. If you’d like to write
more, click
here for Knife Rights’ NJ
Ivory Ban Model Letter to