The Raised Bill No. 6955 goes significantly further than last year's federal ban on the commercial sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn or the state legislation recently adopted in New York and New Jersey.
As written, the measure specifies that "no person shall import, sell, offer for sale, purchase, barter or possess with the intent to sell, any ivory, ivory product, or rhinoceros horn product". Of the four exceptions listed in the draft, none makes reference to antique ivory.
Moreover the bill defines ivory as "any tooth or tusk, or any part thereof, that is composed of ivory from any animal, including, but not limited to, any elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or whale or any piece thereof". The inclusion of marine ivory would effectively end the trade in scrimshaw, a popular collecting discipline for many New Englanders.
A public hearing was held on March 11 when prominent members of the dealing and collecting community testified before the legislator's environment committee and urged lawmakers to alter the proposal. It is hoped a clause permitting trade in items of more than 100 years old will be added before the bill is scheduled to become law on July 1.
Connecticut has a long and complicated history with ivory. Until the end of the war, the village of Ivoryton and other areas in the lower Connecticut River Valley held a near monopoly on the importation and manufacture of ivory products in the US.