Silly California Import Restrictions

Someone wrote to me recently to ask,

I live in California. Why am I unable to order python boots from Tecovas?”

Well, your state’s legislature …

…enacted California Penal Code Section 653o in 1970 which first banned

import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of … cobra, python, sea turtle, … kangaroo … or elephant.

… among a long list of other animals. I listed only those used for boots.

The legislature amended the legislation again in 2019 to add crocodile and alligator to the list for 2020, and caiman (farmed small alligator) in 2022.

While there have been some legal filings to appeal or overturn these restrictions, so far the legalities have resulted only in a delay on the alligator/crocodile importation until May 24, 2020.

I know, the use of animal skins for boots is not good for animal preservation. However, I am of the opinion that if an animal can be farmed for its skin, thus enabling long-term sustainability, then I have no problem with those skins being used for boots. For that matter, owning and wearing them.

To be clear — you CAN wear boots made of these skins in California. Vendors cannot sell them to California residents because doing so would be “importation for commercial purposes.”

I have worn snakeskin boots in California lots of times, and no one has said a thing.

Anyway, I suggested this guy order the Tecovas python boots he wanted and have them sent to a friend out-of-state, and make separate arrangements to get them from his friend.

I also suggested that if he wanted caiman boots, order them before more restrictions against doing so go into effect in 2022.

Life is short: wear boots of any skin legally allowed from which to make them.