The NRA is protecting your right to hunt elephants

Over 20,000 African elephants were poached for their ivory in 2013

Topics: elephants, NRA, sport hunting, cites, , ,

The NRA is protecting your right to hunt elephants

In an National Rifle Association-sponsored NBC Sports special aired last September, the nation watched, horrified, as lobbyist Tony Makris shot down a bull elephant for its valuable ivory tusks. Despite public opposition, sport hunting of the elephants remains completely legal, with 1,000 permits issued to Americans each year, thanks to the lobbying of the NRA.

Most ivory comes from African elephants, and they are facing a serious threat as poaching continues. The illegal trade has more than doubled since 2007, and over 20,000 African elephants were poached in 2013 alone. Since only males have tusks, poaching for ivory not only devastates a population, it selectively devastates it, meaning there are many more females than males. A CITES report released in June of this year found that there was a marked increase in the numbers of seizures of ivory in Africa made in 2013, and only three countries, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, accounted for 80 percent of those seizures.

In a New York Daily News article, Elizabeth Bennett, vice president for species conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society, argues that demand for poaching will only be reduced when ivory ceases to be a high-status product. “A peer-reviewed study I just published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology concluded that to save elephants, all ivory markets must close and all ivory stockpiles must be destroyed.”

The U.S. government has taken aggressive action to combat the ivory trade. Just last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that would put an end to commercial ivory and rhino horn trade in his state, and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo should sign a similar bill shortly. In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would suspend all imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Last February, the federal government announced a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, which would crack down on legal enforcement, while banning the commercial trade of elephant ivory as well as the domestic sale of non-antique ivory.



However, the NRA was outraged by the government’s announcement because the new law meant that “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.”

That’s fine, but the organization seems to have had additional motives in protesting the law. The Huffington Post’s Nick Wing reports:

The NRA found their preferred solution in the form of a pair of Lawful Ivory Protection bills sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). In a release decrying the administration’s “overreach of authority,” the group called for members to stand up for “honest, law-abiding Americans” wishing to sell their ivory-containing possessions by calling on their representatives to support these bills. Tucked away in the last sentence was a mention of the legislation’s secondary purpose, to protect the right of Americans to legally kill elephants for their ivory.

“Your actions today may determine if the sale and trade of firearms that contain ivory, as well as the importation of sport-hunted elephants, will be banned,” it read.

While the NRA claims to be fighting for the right to trade products with ivory in it, it is also fighting for the right to bring home ivory trophies from sport-hunting trips. The Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014 actually seeks to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to allow hunters to continue to kill the vulnerable species.

 

Joanna Rothkopf

Joanna Rothkopf is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on sustainability. Follow @JoannaRothkopf or email jrothkopf@salon.com.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...