Other Than NJ Residents: Ivory Ban Letter to Gov. Christie

Email Governor Christie at:
Call the Governor at: 609-292-6000

Subject: VETO S.2012/A.3128

Dear Governor Christie,

I am writing to respectfully request that you VETO S.2012/A.3128, the Ivory Ban Bill just passed by the New Jersey legislature. I am a resident of [INSERT YOUR STATE], but this outrageous bill sets a very bad precedent and I hope you will stop this ill-conceived and unconstitutional scheme to deprive citizens of property without any good cause. While I am not a New Jersey resident, this is a national issue, and how you handle it is of importance to me should you seek higher office. This issue is being raised in several states right now (including New Jersey) to thwart Congress, which has so far been very skeptical of these efforts from well-intentioned but misguided activists.

Like all Americans, I am appalled by the poaching of African elephants. I support efforts that directly attack poachers and those dealing in illegal ivory. Unfortunately, instead of going after poachers, smugglers and traders who profit from illicit ivory, the New Jersey legislature has decided to attack innocent New Jerseyans by passing an absolute ban on ivory that will not save a single elephant.

This ban would irreparably harm owners of ivory, and even fossil ivory over 10,000 years old, including many antiques, musical instruments, knives, firearms and thousands of other items containing ivory legally imported into this country decades ago by stripping their value – a taking of millions of dollars from law-abiding New Jerseyans. Importing African elephant ivory is already illegal. This bill ignores the huge adverse impact on millions of your citizens who own legal ivory without showing how banning legal ivory in New Jersey saves one elephant in Africa.

This outrageous and draconian bill is an unconstitutional “taking” of protected private property, violating the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and thereby setting very bad precedent. I am also told that it violates Article 1, #1 and #20 of the N.J. Constitution, which contains similar protections, as does my state’s own Constitution. Respect for individual property rights is one of the foundations of America. This bill casually destroys these vital civil rights.

Worse, the ban’s poorly crafted “intent” language would conceivably allow those in authority to seize ivory from individuals who are not engaged in the trade of ivory and charge them criminally. Only a fool would believe that the forces that jammed this law through the legislature would not try to take advantage of this poorly crafted language to pursue their own agenda against ivory owners.

Moreover, since the stated reason for this ban is to stop poaching in Africa, this is something best left to Federal authorities. Feds acknowledge that the illicit ivory trade is fueled by China and other Asian countries. In late 2012 before NGOs concocted domestic ivory ban schemes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that there was not significant illicit ivory trading into the US, and they have since restated that commercially banning legally imported wildlife serves no conservation benefit.

New Jersey should stay out of this emotionally driven agenda that will hurt elephants by wasting resources and punish innocent Americans. This is “feel good – do bad” legislation at its worst!

Please do not allow this ill-conceived and economically devastating bill that won’t save a single elephant become law. Please VETO S.2012/A.3128.

Thank you for your support,

(Include your name, city, state, and e-mail address at a minimum.)