Exclusive: 30 House Republicans Urge GOP to Protect Second, Fourth Amendment Rights over Mass Government Surveillance Bill

Warren Davidson letter
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Thirty House Republicans sent a letter to House Republican leadership on Tuesday, urging them to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights while the House considers reauthorizing a controversial government surveillance program, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.

“We write to urge you to protect the Second and Fourth Amendment rights of innocent, law-abiding gun owners from the Biden Administration’s exploitation of a lawless government surveillance loophole,” the House Republicans, led by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), a staunch privacy advocate, wrote to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The letter follows as the House moves closer to voting on legislation that would reauthorize the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Conservatives have argued that privacy reform must go further than merely reforming the abuses around Section 702, considering the number of abusive government practices.

The conservatives noted that, for years, federal government agencies and other law enforcement agencies have circumvented the Fourth Amendment by purchasing Americans’ private information, including phone location data, through data brokers. The lawmakers wrote that not only does this undermine Americans’ privacy, it also infringes upon the intent of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986:

Ordinarily, these agencies would need a judge-issued warrant before forcing phone or tech companies to turn over their customers’ location data. But creative government lawyers have decided that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to Americans’ sensitive, personal data — if the government buys it from data brokers. The embrace of this legal loophole by government agencies poses a serious threat to Americans’ privacy. It further undoes Congress’s clear intent in protecting precisely this kind of sensitive information through enactment of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. Location information and other private information about Americans’ lives, including where an American prays, where and when they drive their children to school, and if they have visited a gun store or shooting range.

Watch: Rep. Warren Davidson Calls to Pass Amendment that Bans Pentagon from Circumventing Fourth Amendment

U.S. House of Representatives

The lawmakers further noted that the government’s purchase of private data from data brokers carries a particular concern for law-abiding Americans:

The threat to Americans’ Second and Fourth Amendment rights is not limited to the government’s purchase of location data. Commercial data brokers openly sell marketing lists containing the name, address, and other personal information identifying “gun owners” and “shooting fanatics,” as well as specialized lists, like “concealed carry – licensed gun owners,” “affluent gun owners,” and “age 70+; elderly gun owners.” Unfortunately, the same legal loophole that the Biden Administration has embraced to purchase Americans’ location data could equally apply to the purchase of commercial lists identifying gun owners. [Emphasis added]

Watch — Rep. Andy Biggs: CDC Purchased $420k Worth of Data to Surveil Americans During the Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. House of Representatives

The 30 House conservatives said it is “vital” that any legislation the House considers to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), should close the data broker loophole, considering that Congress has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to protect Americans’ “right to privacy.” The lawmakers noted that the House Judiciary Committee has advanced two bills, the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, which Davidson sponsored, and the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), which would end this controversial government practice.

The legislation is not only backed by some of the House’s most staunch conservatives; the Gun Owners of America (GOA) announced that they are urging all lawmakers to sign onto the Davidson letter and protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights. They have also endorsed Davidson’s The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act. The National Association for Gun Rights also backs the move.

“For decades, Congress has legislatively protected gun-owning Americans’ rights. But decades-old privacy laws will continue in name only if the Biden Administration is allowed to continue this brazen surveillance of Americans without court orders,” the lawmakers concluded in their letter to Johnson and Scalise.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.