WaPo fact checker gives Biden four Pinocchios for 2nd Amendment history

June 28, 2021

By Don Irvine

The Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given President Joe Biden the maximum Four Pinocchios for his false claims on the 2nd Amendment–specifically cannon ownership–in remarks to the press recently.

“And I might add: 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.”

— President Biden, remarks on gun violence, June 23

Kessler consulted experts on the 2nd Amendment who agreed that the 2nd Amendment which states 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,” has been mischaracterized by Biden.

The experts told Kessler that Biden is suggesting that the 2nd Amendment limited ownership which it clearly does not do.

Kessler found the canon reference particularly intriguing, especially since Biden had mentioned it before and was wrong that time too.

During the presidential campaign, Biden had asserted that the cannon restrictions happened during the Revolutionary War. “From the very beginning you weren’t allowed to have certain weapons,” Biden told Wired magazine in May 2020. “You weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.”’

“Historians at the time told PolitiFact there was no evidence this was the case. The Biden campaign could not point to any laws but seemed to suggest Biden’s point was more metaphorical than grounded in reality.”

“Now Biden has moved the cannon metaphor to some 20 years after the Revolutionary War — and it’s still wrong.”
Biden didn’t know in 2020 and still doesn’t know now explains Kessler is that  Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11  of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. And in that clause, Congress also had the power to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” which he said are special waivers that allowed private individuals to act as pirates on behalf of the United States against countries engaged in war with it. The “letter of marque” allowed a warship to cross into another country’s territory to take a ship, while a “letter of reprisal” gave the authorization to bring the ship back to the home port of the capturer.
Thus those that were given these waivers and owned warships obviously also obtained cannons for use in battle, he said.
Kessler concludes with his reasoning for awarding Biden the maximum lie score for his misstatements.

“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.”

“Moreover, Biden has already been fact-checked on this claim — and it’s been deemed false. 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.”


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