Thursday, September 15, 2011

News - Gibson Guitar's Tennessee Factory Raided

Gibson's Nashville, TN factory was raided by government
officials for violation of the Lacey Act.
The federal government, whose competence has never been questioned and whose approval rating has never been higher, sent armed federal agents into two of Gibson Guitar's Tennessee factories, seizing $1 million dollars in guitars and imported rosewood and ebony. It seems that the iconic instrument manufacturer could be violating the Lacey Act, a nearly 100 year-old law that restricts the importation of  raw materials made of endangered woods, like rosewood and ebony.

The law itself is not a problem, in fact it just makes good sense to ban importation of endangered raw materials. Denis Leary's whale skin hubcaps need not exist in real life. The issue to be taken is with the heavy-handed and melodramatic methods of executing the law, not to mention the ripple effect in the guitar industry. What of independent dealers trading in these Gibson guitars made of ebony and rosewood? The fear, it seems, is a very real one. George Gruhn, a Tennessee dealer in vintage guitars lamented that "there is uncertainty about what the federal government expects" in relation to the Lacey Act. According to local newspapers, the Department of Justice has reached out to Gibson and set a meeting for next week to discuss the raids.

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