Biden Repeats False Claim That Cannons Were Not Legally Purchased During America’s Founding
President Joe Biden falsely claimed Monday that a cannon could not be legally purchased during America’s founding.
The president made the remarks during his announcement of a new regulationrequiring a background check and serial number for manufactured firearms that are unregulated and untraceable. The regulation will also require manufacturers distributing the guns to be federally licensed.
“It’s going to sound bizarre, I support the Second Amendment. But from the very beginning, the Second Amendment didn’t say you can own any gun you want, as big as you want. You couldn’t buy a cannon when in fact the Second Amendment passed and certain people from the very beginning weren’t allowed to purchase guns. There’s nothing new, it’s just rational,” Biden claimed.
The president previously made that statement during his 2020 presidential campaign in a push for background checks on all gun sales and to place a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
“From the very beginning you weren’t allowed to have certain weapons,” the then-presidential candidate told Wired Magazine. “You weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.” Historians told Politifact at the time that his statement was inaccurate.
The Washington Post gave his remarks four Pinocchios in a June 28, 2021, piece, saying there was no federal law about the types of guns citizens could own and that private citizens owned cannons at the time of the nation’s founding.
“Some readers might think this is a relatively inconsequential flub. But we disagree,” The Washington Post wrote. “Every U.S. president has a responsibility to get American history correct, especially when he’s using a supposed history lesson in service of a political objective. The president’s push for more gun restrictions is an important part of his political platform, so he undercuts his cause when he cites faux facts.”
Biden then moved his cannon argument to apply to 20 years after the Revolutionary War, which is still incorrect, The Washington Post reported. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war and “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” meaning that private citizens could be granted special waivers to own warships and obtain cannons during a battle.