We first learned of the action when Mary Sweeney in the US State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls called us on July 18 with word that the all-important "decision memo" had just been signed. She called us back the next day to let us know that the official Federal Register Notice was going to be published July 23. Indeed it was.
This action on the part of the US State Department was a major victory for the hunting community and for common sense. On the other hand, there is much here to give one pause. For starters, there was the inexplicable behavior of some US hunters and US hunting professionals, who knowingly violated the ban and/or encouraged others to do so. Then there was the laid-back attitude of some pro-hunting organizations. The end result was widespread apathy in the face of a watershed event that should have galvanized the international hunting community into action.
Make no mistake - the US State Department knowingly targeted hunters with this ban. I was told that by the State Department's Zimbabwe Desk Officer, Steve Kraft, who said the ban was enacted to stop the flow of hunting dollars into the Government of Zimbabwe. That being the case, there was a real chance of an enforcement action against one or more hunters. That enforcement action could have included a felony conviction, a fine of up to $1 million and 10 years in jail - for each and every firearm one took to Zimbabwe. It is inconceivable to us that hunters and their agents would ignore this ban, if for no other reason than a convicted felon cannot ever again use, own or possess a firearm.
The larger issue here is........(continued)