In a joint press conference with the Kenyan president, President Obama announced plans Saturday to further restrict the illegal ivory trade within the United States, virtually banning its sale across state lines. While the National Rifle Association strongly supports efforts to curb illegal poaching and the black market ivory trade, the organization warns that the proposed restrictions fail to protect elephants.
The measures provide only limited exceptions for transactions on legally purchased products containing less than 200g of ivory, effectively criminalizing past legal purchases of firearms, art, furniture, and musical instruments containing ivory and destroying the property value.
Restricting the illegal poaching of any endangered species is an admirable goal, but the effects of this policy will be disastrous for Americans. If the Obama administration really intends to protect elephants, the focus should be on protecting them from poachers as opposed to the lawful owners of collectible firearms and antiques.