NRA Comes Out Against Ivory Ban -- And Elephants

Just one month after the White House announced a proposed commercial ban on the ivory trade in the United States, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has announced plans to oppose the ban, and the NRA is speaking out, saying that the ban would prevent some gun owners from selling their firearms that contain ivory. In a statement on their website, the 1.3 million-member-strong organization writes:

Any firearm, firearm accessory, or knife that contains ivory, no matter how big or small, would not be able to be sold in the United States, unless it is more than 100 years old. This means if your shotgun has an ivory bead or inlay, your revolver or pistol has ivory grips, your knife has an ivory handle, or if your firearm accessories, such as cleaning tools that contain any ivory, the item would be illegal to sell.

The NRA is calling on its members to flood the White House and Congress with phone calls and emails to "let them know you oppose the ban on commercial sale and trade of legally owned firearms with ivory components."

An image of an ivory-handled rifle:

The White House announcement an embargo on the new import of items containing elephant ivory, prohibiting its export except in the case of bona fide antiques. The statement read:

We will finalize a proposed rule that will reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an exemption document.

The ban on ivory was drawn up as part of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, aimed at "strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade." It was agreed to following several public ivory crushes in the U.S., France, China and the Phillippines.

In 2013, 30,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory, more than 80 animals per day. Robert F. Kennedy and Mike Papantonio's blog Ring of Fire says that the NRA's move is one against conservation:

This call to NRA members is a clear indication of the NRA's priorities, and illustrates the groups loyalties, even if keeping those priorities are at another's expense. In this case, the victims are African and Asian elephants. Every year, tens of thousands of elephants across the world are slaughtered for their ivory tusks.

If you support the ivory ban -- and want to tell the NRA that, by opposing the ban, they're fueling the killing of elephants -- tweet with the hashtag #ElephantsNotNRA.