Rare Woods

I’ve been following this story of the US Government raid on Gibson Guitar factories. I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story. But apparently, the US government is enforcing “The Lacey Act” which protects endangered animals. There’s also mose language in the law that also protects endangered plants (e.g. rare, exotic woods, as used in some guitars).

During the raid, the government siezed millions of dollars of rare wood from Gibson.

Part of the issue is the distinction between “sawn wood” and “veneer.” If Gibson buys it’s rare wood from India as a “veneer”, it means that the wood was finished in India. It’s legal to purcahse a veneer, even if it contains “protected” wood.

If it’s “sawn wood”, the finishing is done here in the US, by US workers. It’s illeal to purchase “protected” sawn (unfinished) wood.

By executing this raid, the US government is enforcing an Indian export law. Not our own.

Here are my questions:

-If it’s illegal, to purchase sawn wood from India, why were the Indians willing to sell it? Are the sellers not also held accountable?

-If it’s an Indian export law, isn’t this an issue for the Indian government?

-If the wood’s already sawn, what difference does it make who finishes it? Isn’t in our best interest to get as many (legal) US citizens employed as possible?

-Really folks… isn’t this a bit much? What am I missing?

I’ve been hearing that there’s potential fallout for all of us. According to unsubsantiated rumors, your guitar could be confiscated if it contains rare woods (protected by the Lacey Act), and you can’t document the wood’s origins.


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