Oppose the FOCUS Act!
  • Petitioned US Senate and Congress

This petition was delivered to:

US Senate and Congress
President of the United States
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Paul Broun
Rep. Michele Bachmann
Rep. Collin Peterson
Sen. Tom Coburn
Rep. Andy Harris
Sen. James Risch
Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Mike Lee
Rep. Tim Walberg
South Carolina
Sen. Tim Scott
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Rep. Jack Kingston

Oppose the FOCUS Act!

    1. Rebecca Merritt
    2. Petition by

      Rebecca Merritt

      Stevensville, MT

Support Federal Wildlife Officers and Agents -Oppose the FOCUS Act!

The FOCUS Act proposes three significant changes to the Lacey Act: the removal of criminal provisions and the foreign commerce clause as well as the authority to carry firearms and execute search & arrests warrants.

As written, the Freedom from Over‐Criminalization and Unjust Seizures (FOCUS) Act of 2012 would remove authority from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA agents and officers to carry firearms. The FOCUS Act is a dangerous over‐reach and over‐reaction to the Gibson Guitar case in Nashville, Tenn.

Most reasonable people know that Game Wardens and Wildlife Agents routinely encounter armed subjects whether they are involved in legal or illegal taking of fish, game, and wildlife. The high court recognized that many species of game and fish are highly migratory, and those who harvest them are not necessarily local residents.

Historically, violations of these laws could not be effectively investigated or prosecuted once the wildlife left the jurisdiction where it was illegally taken. This law gives the government the ability to assist state, tribal, local and other nations in investigating wildlife crimes that they otherwise could not due to lack of resources, funding, or jurisdiction considerations.

Every state legislature has armed and granted full-time state law enforcement status to its wildlife enforcement officers.

In a study conducted by the FBI of assaults on conservation law enforcement officers, it was revealed that agents and officers enforcing environmental and natural resource laws were nine times more likely to be assaulted with a dangerous weapon when compared to traditional law enforcement officers. The public realizes when they are stopped by a state trooper that most traffic violations are usually an infraction, however troopers are still armed.

The FOCUS Act, which has yet to become law, would also remove international predicate violations. This effectively hampers the enforcement of the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts and the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), because many times violations of this law and this treaty are enforced under the Lacey Act.

The Lacey Act also contains provisions that safeguard public health and restrict the importation of invasive plants and injurious species of wildlife. There have been numerous cases where large-scale operations exposed the public to contaminated shellfish and falsely labeled seafood that were intercepted before threatening public consumers.

Finally, the FOCUS Act would remove the "big stick" of a potential $250,000 penalty for individuals and $500,000 for corporations prosecuted for felony offenses. These fines are almost never levied, and more reasonable fines are requested by U.S. attorneys. However, in cases where the subjects made large sums of money through unlawful commercialization of the "people's wildlife," which is a theft from each and every citizen, then the ability to levy large criminal fines serves as a deterrent against just accepting civil fines as the "cost of doing business."

Do you enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, or any other activity on National Wildlife Refuges? If the FOCUS Act is passed, the over 400 Federal Wildlife Officers designated to protect the public and America's wildlife will be stripped of their ability to carry firearms! Over 200 Special Agents will also lose their ability to carry firearms, and would not be able to safely arrest criminals.

We urge you to write your Senator and Congress Person to vote against and the FOCUS and FEAR Act! Thank you!

President Rebecca Merritt
National Wildlife Refuge Officers Association

Recent signatures


    1. The FOCUS Act is still out there and a hearing was held this week in DC.

      Rebecca Merritt
      Petition Organizer

      This week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, chose to attack the Lacey Act using misleading statistics and half-truths if not all-out lies at a sub-committee hearing this Tuesday. I was fortunate enough to be in the witness stands. NWROA, FWOA, FLEOA, and FWS WO Staff arrived to testify as witnesses, and they did a great job. However, misinformation from supporters of the FOCUS and RELIEF Act ran rampant! Please share this petition with your friends and family who care about US Fish and Wildlife Officers and Special Agents!

      The FOCUS act would also strip and criminal charges from the Lacey Act, making the importation of illegal animal and plant products easier and safer for gangs, cartels, and illegal importers.

      Please read about the hearing this week and you will see that Paul Rand (KY) is using MISINFORMATION to promote his illogical agenda.

      Get the word out...STOP THE FOCUS ACT!

      Rebecca Merritt, President
      National Wildlfe Refuge Officers Association

    2. Reached 2,000 signatures
    3. Bill Moves to the House...please get the word out! Stop the FOCUS Act!

      Rebecca Merritt
      Petition Organizer

      Washington, Mar 8 - U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) today introduced the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act (FOCUS) Act of 2012, H.R. 4171, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced S. 2062, the companion Senate bill. The FOCUS Act, which has bipartisan support, would amend legislation called the Lacey Act that holds Americans liable for a wide range of foreign laws pertaining to wildlife, fish, and plants. The Lacey Act as it stands also allows U.S. officials to use foreign law to prosecute someone whose activities they find otherwise objectionable.

      HR 4171
      Latest Title:Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012
      Sponsor: Rep Broun, Paul C.[GA-10] (introduced 3/8/2012) Cosponsors(6)
      Latest Major Action: 3/8/2012 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. Watch the FOCUS Act's Progress on the Hill

      Rebecca Merritt
      Petition Organizer

      Get the latest on the Focus Act!

    6. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Brett Painter WARTBURG, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      The fish and wildlife service is an agency with an important mandate and it's employees have an uphill battle to do their job as it is, it is crazy to think of these LEO's enforcing wildlife laws against armed violators without the authority to carry firearms and make arrests.

    • Kenneth Inwood LANDING, NJ
      • over 2 years ago

      Disarming our Federal Law Enforcement Officers is a very unwise decision. The criminals they face will certainly be armed. Since it is sponsored by Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the FOCUS Act seeks to decriminalize the law that prevents wildlife from being traded illegally in the United States and helps stop the illegal importation of invasive species like the Burmese python, perhaps an investigation should be started into their involvement in criminal activities or what they seek to gain by this ridiculous act!

    • Joseph Martin SANTA ROSA, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is a stupid idea. ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NEED to be armed in today's society. if this law passes we are going back many decades in time.

      Agian, STUPID STUPID LAW ! ! !

    • Jennifer Harder FLAGSTAFF, AZ
      • over 2 years ago

      I support the protection of officers who protect our natural resources!

    • Craig Cavanna SPRING HILL, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      I have been a federal Law Enforcement Officer for 10 yrs. Through my several different "close call" experiences in natural resource protection, I can safely say I wouldn't do my job if I was without my protective gear. It would be suicide...


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