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Anti-Ivory forces are hard at work trying to enact more draconian state Ivory Bans. With the success we have had to date slowing down the publication of a Federal Ivory Ban (see below) and with at least the possibility we may get something done in Congress to stop the Feds completely, Clintons, HSUS, et al, have turned to the states. They passed draconian Ivory Bans in NY and NJ last year (which also included Mammoth Ivory – something the Feds aren’t touching). Bills have already filed been this year in Washington, Iowa and California (see below).
Washington State Ivory Ban Bill
In Washington State the anti-Ivory forces are hard at work trying to enact another draconian Ivory ban. House Bill 1131 has been introduced that is similar to the draconian Ivory bans enacted in New York and New Jersey last year. It also would include Mammoth Ivory in the ban.
The preamble to the bill is virtually a copy of that used in NJ, including the same lies, half-truths and misrepresentations. As with both the NY and NJ Ivory Bans, this feel-good ban would primarily hurt individuals and small businesses and there's not a shred of evidence it would do anything to save a single elephant in Africa.
If you live, work or travel in Washington State, please contact your Representative and ask them to oppose HB 1131. To locate your Legislator and/or the Legislator who represents where you, or where you work or travel you have to first identify the District, and then you can identify the Representative.
Click here for a model letter opposing HB 1131.
Iowa Ivory Ban Bill
In Iowa, Senate File 30 has been introduced that is also similar to the draconian Ivory bans enacted in New York and New Jersey last year. It also would include Mammoth Ivory in the ban.
As with both the NY and NJ Ivory Bans, this feel-good ban would primarily hurt individuals and small businesses and there's not a shred of evidence it would do anything to save a single elephant in Africa.
If you live, work or travel in Iowa, please contact your Senator and ask them to oppose SF 30. To locate your Legislator and/or the Legislator who represents where you, or where you work or travel go to: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators.
Click here for a model letter opposing SF 30.
California Ivory Ban Bill
In California there is already an existing ban on Ivory import and sales, but that ban has an exemption for sale of Ivory that had been imported prior to January 1, 1977, which protected a significant portion of the Ivory owners in California at the time. Experts tell us that exemption covers millions of dollars of ivory objects in the state that don't fall into the otherwise very narrow exemptions in the existing law.
Assembly Bill 96 has been introduced that would eliminate that exemption, "taking" millions of dollars from citizens of California by making it impossible to sell their possessions that are Ivory or incorporate Ivory.
Federal Ivory Ban Update
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has again postponed publishing the regulation we expect will alter or revoke the Special Rule on African Elephants that allows pre-ban ivory to trade in the United States.
The latest estimate for when that might be issued is later this month or next. The delays are the direct result of opposition to the ban from those who recognize that it will only serve to punch innocent Ivory owners and will do nothing to stop poaching in Africa or the trade in poached Ivory to China, where over 90% of that Ivory is traded. We appreciate your support.
With a new Congress, the legislative and appropriations strategies opposing the Federal Ivory ban will be renewed. We are working with our allies to get an appropriations rider to prevent any money being spent to enforce a ban and also to introduce and pass bills to protect the huge investment in Ivory owned by millions of Americans. With the changes in Congress as a result of the election, we feel more confident that a legislative solution may be within reach. We will keep you updated on all this as it happens.
Knife Rights would like to congratulate knife dealer Joshua Burbank who had the courage of his convictions, defending his right to possess and sell perfectly legal knives in Massachusetts.
Over a two-year ordeal, he steadfastly refused to be intimidated by abusive law enforcement and prosecutors after an off-duty Hubbarston, MA police officer improperly seized over 50 balisong (butterfly) knives and then a week later when asked to return the property, responded by charging him with sales and possession of dangerous weapons. Possession and sale of Balisong knives is not illegal under Massachusetts law.
While the possession charge was quickly dismissed by the Magistrate, the more vaguely worded sales of "dangerous weapons" charge was allowed to stand. Burbank went to trial, during which the District Attorney attempted to make a point, so to speak, by outrageously demanding that the witnesses, the arresting officer, an expert for the defense and Burbank himself, insert an open and locked 4-inch bladed balisong into their front pocket point down, endangering themselves in the process. While the others apparently complied, if somewhat nervously according the Burbank, Burbank refused, and rightly so in our opinion. He reportedly told the judge that "someone would have to be insane to do that... because it risked injury," making the DA appear even more foolish in the eyes of the court.
Ultimately, Burbank was found "not guilty" by the jury and he was able to get back his seized knives. Burbank has subsequently filed suit in Federal court seeking to recover the costs incurred in his defense as well as damages he believes he is owed and additional punitive damages for the unjust malicious prosecution to which he was subjected.
Knife Rights has been fighting all over the United States to reform knife laws because, as this case exemplifies, the way knife laws are written really makes a difference, even more so when a person is unjustly charged with a crime. If the law clearly makes no particular knife illegal, which is always our ultimate goal, there is far less opportunity for a rogue officer or prosecutor to abuse the law against a citizen who has done nothing illegal. As worst, it is critical that any knives that are considered illegal under the law, whether it be possession, carry or concealed carry, be clearly defined in the law, otherwise abuse is likely.