The White House and the Department of the Interior recently put an Executive Order in place that essentially bans all sales of elephant ivory in the U.S., according to a press release from Knife Rights, a knife-owners advocacy group.

The group says depending on how the order is interpreted, this could make all items with ivory handles or fittings — this could include all ivory-handle knives, ivory-adorned firearms, or any other legally owned ivory — “essentially worthless.”

_”[M]any knowledgeable observers are concerned that language in the anticipated final rules could effectively prohibit many or most non-commercial transfers, such that you would not even be able to pass a piece of ivory, or any other object that was comprised in part of ivory, such as an ivory handled knife, to your heirs. Or, that simply sending your ivory handled knife to a scrimshaw artist to be scrimmed could land you in jail.

“As the ban, and related actions, takes effect, it will only increase the value of their ivory tusks on the booming black market, of which the vast majority goes to China. Experts estimate only about 5% of the ivory traded in the U.S is on the black market, all the rest is legal, or was legal until now. As to total bans in general, history shows us they never accomplish much more than increasing criminal activity. We all know how Prohibition turned out. Moreover, nothing done here in the U.S. will affect the booming market for black market ivory in China and Asia, which consumes almost all of it.”_

Knife Rights says the government’s reason for the ban is a well-meaning, though misguided attempt at reducing the poaching of elephants for ivory, and slowing the trade of poached ivory by reducing or limiting its value. And that it has been proven that a ban on ivory sales in the U.S. will actually do little to stop the indiscriminate and illegal killing of elephants.