Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: 40˚00' N, 83˚00' W
The United States has banned the sale of African elephant ivory across state lines; California has gone further and banned the sale of all ivory, no matter what the original animal, within the state.
In both cases, antiques (100 years or older) and musical instruments (manufactured before 1975) are exempted. Of course, the burden of proof is on the seller, unfortunately. This will make it more difficult to sell legitimate antiques, and legitimate antique ivory caught up in enforcement may indeed be destroyed if customs authorities are uncertain.
That being said, it's pretty difficult to enforce prohibitions of sale across state lines. There aren't any customs inspections as you cross from one state to the next, by air or land. The mail isn't inspected.
To anticipate the authorities entering one's home and seizing antique ivory weapons is a little far-fetched. Perhaps some distrust of the government is warranted, given historical fact, but it seems a little paranoid to think you are at risk for owning ethnographic weapons with antique ivory.