CARSON CITY — The Nevada Senate approved a bill Friday to outlaw possession, sale or purchase of animal parts or byproducts from sensitive species.
Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said Senate Bill 194 is needed to prevent Nevada from becoming a haven for wildlife traffickers. States along the Pacific Coast and Hawaii have laws cracking down on the illegal industry.
Denis said the bill targets the most highly trafficked species in the world, including elephants, rhinos, tiger, lions and sea turtles. He said trafficking in animal parts has become the fourth-largest illegal operation in the world. The ivory trade alone is estimated at $3 billion annually.
Under the bill, a first offense would be a gross misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses would be felonies. There are exemptions for antiques, musical instruments, knives and firearms, and for scientific or educational institutions.
Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said he has concerns about making a second offense a felony, and questioned why mammoth is on the list of animals covered by the bill.
“Mammoth has been extinct over 1,000 years,” he said.
He also raised concerns about ivory used on firearms.
“How are you going to tell if ivory is from an elephant or elk teeth?” Settelmeyer asked.
The bill passed 14-6, with Settelmeyer and fellow Republicans Pete Goicoechea, Don Gustavson, Scott Hammond, Ben Kieckhefer and Minority Leader Michael Roberson voting no.
It now goes to the Assembly.
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