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NRA Says the New Ivory Ban Will Turn Gun Owners into 'Criminals Overnight'

The National Rifle Association claims the US Fish and Wildlife Service's recent ivory ban will hurt the antique firearms trade.

How? A number of top-ticket antique guns made during the late 1800's and early 1900's contain ivory parts. Elephant poaching was outlawed in 1976, but a small percentage of antique guns on the market contain pre-ban ivory.

The new ivory ban prohibits the legal trade of items that contain any ivory.

The USFWS enacted the ivory ban in April in an effort to protect endangered african elephants and reduce poaching.

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The NRA believes the ivory ban is ineffective.

In an effort to repeal the ban, the Second Amendment-rights organization is backing House republicans who introduced the Lawful Ivory Protection Act, which would allow gun owners to sell antique guns that contain pre-1796 ivory.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla), who supports the bill, admitted there are only a marginal number of ivory guns on the market.

"I will grant you that a very small portion of firearms have ivory inlays or grips on them," Miller told the "However, if you are a collector of antique Colt pistols (or other old guns), this could seriously impact your Second Amendment rights."

Chris Cox, the head of the NRA's lobbying arm took a stronger stance.

"The proposed ban would do virtually nothing to protect elephants, but could instead make law-abiding Americans potential criminals overnight," Cox said.

In a recent press release, the NRA also stated that that "such a ban would affect only honest, law-abiding Americans by making their possessions valueless."

Still, some gun rights advocates argue that the ivory ban will open the door to broader gun restrictions. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, claims the restriction infringes on the Second Amendment.

"If they're able to get away with this step, they will take others," Pratt told "They will just start restricting the trade of firearms more generally. They've been here and there making their moves."

The NRA's push to get an exemption for firearms comes just months after musicians won a travel exemption for the ivory ban. The exemption allows musicians to travel to internationally to performances with instruments that contain ivory parts, such as pianos and guitars.

What do you think about the ivory ban? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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NRA Says the New Ivory Ban Will Turn Gun Owners into 'Criminals Overnight'