On Tuesday, Apr. 24, California anti-hunting Senate Bill 1487—the Iconic African Species Protection Act—was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee in a 5-2 vote. The bill’s next stop is the California Senate Floor, where it will be voted on later this spring. If passed, SB 1487 will prohibit the possession of certain African wildlife species. Translation: It will prevent lawful U.S. hunters from bringing home hunting trophies despite that the game animal was legally taken and the hunter has the approval of the U.S. Federal Government.
According to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), SB 1487 originally dealt with the public utilities code, but was gutted and amended to enact the Iconic African Species Protection Act. Not only would it violate federal law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but it has no basis in science, does not recognize hunters’ tremendous contributions to wildlife conservation and cherry-picks certain African species based on popularity instead of biological necessity. While the bill specifically addresses African species, make no mistake: This is the first step toward banning hunting domestically. The animal rights activists who support this bill state their ultimate goal is to ban all hunting.
On Apr. 19, NRA-ILA California State Director Daniel Reid sent a formal letter opposing the bill to its author, state Sen. Henry Stern (D-SD 27). Reid noted the importation of lawfully hunted wildlife from abroad is already heavily regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 and CITES. The purpose of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their continued survival. The United States is an active participant to CITES and enforces the treaty by requiring permits for the importation of wildlife into the country. SB 1487 ignores this process in favor of banning the importation of certain African wildlife species with no regard for the species’ conservation. Reid emphasized that it also would conflict with the Endangered Species Act and likely would be ruled invalid by the courts if enacted into law.
NRA-ILA strongly opposes SB 1487 and will continue to fight its passage. This bill is no surprise as California’s political environment becomes increasingly hostile toward the Second Amendment and hunting. Please continue to check NRA-ILA’s California Stand and Fight web page for updates on this issue and others impacting the collective hunting community’s Second Amendment and hunting heritage in California.