Several years ago Gibson was raided and guitars were seized because they were supposedly using “illegal wood.” Interestingly enough Martin was using the same wood and never go raided. This would indicate a double-standard or some kind of payoff in my rather cynical mind but the state may still step up its game by raiding concert to seize even more guitars:
Lawmakers are scrambling to save the summer concert season from federal agents poised to seize the instruments of rock and country stars because the wood used to make them may have been illegally harvested–and without their knowledge.
“I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” said Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander.
“Senator Wyden and I are going to write the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a letter in the next couple of weeks and try to make it clear that wood harvested before 2008 to make musical instruments can’t be seized by the federal government,” Alexander said in a statement. “The Justice Department and Fish and Wildlife have said they have no intention of doing that, but Sen. Wyden and I are going to make it absolutely clear. We hope to get a clear ruling within a few weeks, and if we can’t get a clear ruling, we’ll introduce legislation to change the Lacey Act.”
I wonder if the feds have actually threatened to raid summer concerts or if Senator Alexander and Wyden are simply performing political grandstanding. It’s sad that I have to wonder this but the federal government has become so drunk with power that raiding I wouldn’t put raiding concerts past them. They already stole guitars from Gibson and haven’t even had the decency to charge the company with a crime yet.
This case is very interesting to me because I have no idea what is going on. Did a competing guitar manufacturer sick the feds on Gibson? Did some official in Madagascar do it? Did a local supplier of wood bring in the federal dogs? Did Gibson merely forget or refuse to pay off a state agent? If the state were confiscating goods from the competitor of an obviously politically well-connected company I would already know what the angle was. As far as I know none of Gibson’s competitors are all that well-connected politically, in fact I don’t know if any guitar manufacturer contributes money to political campaigns or hires lobbyists.