Biden repeatedly and falsely claims, ‘You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed’
President Biden has revived a pro-gun control talking point in the wake of the Uvalde mass school shooting that has been repeatedly debunked throughout the years.
Biden told reporters on Memorial Day that the Second Amendment didn’t allow for the ownership of cannons when it was adopted as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791.
President Joe Biden said the previous Thursday that “no amendment is absolute” while discussing the Second Amendment and repeated a debunked claim that cannons were prohibited when the amendment was passed.
“There’s no violation of the Second Amendment right,” Biden said in New York City while discussing background checks and other ways to address gun crime. “We talk like. There’s no amendment that’s absolute. When the amendment was passed it didn’t say anybody can own a gun, any kind of gun, and any kind of weapon. You couldn’t buy a cannon when this amendment was passed so there’s no reason why you should be able to buy certain assault weapons. But that’s another issue.”
“The Second Amendment was never absolute,” he said Monday, according to a White House transcript. “You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and purchase a lot of weapons.”
Biden has repeated the claim at least five times during his presidency, despite it earning him “Four Pinocchios” from the Washington Post in 2021 and a “False” label from Politifact on three separate occasions dating back to May 2020.
Biden made the claim again just last week after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
“The Second Amendment is not absolute,” he said during a signing of his police reform executive order. “When it was passed, you couldn’t own a — you couldn’t own a cannon, you couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. It’s just — there’s always been limitations.”
“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,” he said in June 2021, White House transcripts show. “You couldn’t buy a cannon.”
The Second Amendment as it is written does not limit who can “keep and bear arms” or what kind of arms people can keep and bear.
Federal gun regulation didn’t come until over 140 years after the Second Amendment was introduced.
The Constitution does, however, give Congress the power to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” which were government licenses that allowed civilians to attack and detain vessels of countries at war with the U.S., The Washington Post pointed out in 2021.
“Individuals who were given these waivers and owned warships obviously also obtained cannons for use in battle,” The Post reported at the time.
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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.
“Joe Biden is saying the quiet part out loud,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted. “I stand ready to defend Texas against any infringement of our Second Amendment his failed administration will throw at us. #2A”
“Someone didn’t read the Second Amendment,” Fox News contributor Dan Bongino’s website, the Bongino Report, posted along with an article stating that Biden’s comments should “terrify” gun owners.
“It was a lie in 2020,” Townhall’s Spencer Brown tweeted. “It was a lie in 2021. It’s still a lie today. Despite being fact checked by PolitiFact and WaPo, Biden keeps lying to the American people as he attempts to undermine the Second Amendment.”
In Biden’s speech, he also drew ire from conservatives by claiming that a “Glock with 40 rounds” is a “weapon of war.”
“Biden is the worst gun grabber in decades,” author J.D. Vance, who is running for Senate in Ohio as a Republican, tweeted. “Between this and the illegal ATF database, he’s declared war on the Second Amendment.”