WashPost Fact Checkers Slam Biden For False Claim on Second Amendment US President Joe Biden. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 28 June 2021 01:13 PM
President Joe Biden’s false claim that the Second Amendment prohibits citizens from owning cannons earned him four "Pinocchios," the most possible, from fact checkers at The Washington Post on Monday.
Biden said during a speech on gun violence last week that “the Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon."
But the Post said that Biden's comments concerning cannons relative to the right to bear and keep arms in the United States is demonstrably false.
“Everything in that statement is wrong,” Independence Institute research director and Second Amendment project director David Kopel told the Post.
He added that after the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, “there were no federal laws about the type of gun you could own, and no states limited the kind of gun you could own.”
The Post also emphasized that Biden has made the claim about cannons and the Second Amendment at least once before, saying last year that “you weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.”
Fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote that "Some readers might think this is a relatively inconsequential flub. But we disagree. 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."
Kessler added that "We have no idea where he conjured up this notion about a ban on cannon ownership in the early days of the Republic, but he needs to stop making this claim."
Politifact stressed that the text of the Second Amendment is actually quite short, stating that "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
The amendment’s few words speak for themselves, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds told Politifact, emphasizing that "the Second Amendment places no limits on individual ownership of cannon, or any other arms."
Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson added that "the amendment limited government action, not people" and pointed out that "the first federal gun control law does not appear until the 20th century."