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US reps seek new law after raids at Gibson guitars

After Gibson raids, US reps seek law to protect owners of instruments made with illegal wood By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ' Two members of Congress from Tennessee are announcing federal legislation seeking to quell fears among owners of musical instruments that they could be subject to prosecution under a law that has led to raids on Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corp.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper said Thursday that the bill would protect people from prosecution for unknowingly possessing illegally imported wood, and would require the federal government to establish a database of forbidden wood sources. The Nashville Democrat said the measure would not affect the ongoing Gibson case. Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is a co-sponsor.

Meanwhile, Gibson and its wood importer filed arguments in federal court this week opposing the government's efforts to indefinitely halt the legal dispute over seized Indian wood while pursuing what prosecutors call a related criminal investigation.

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