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WaPost gives Biden four 'Pinocchios' for saying Second Amendment bans cannon ownership

The Hill logo The Hill 6/28/2021 Dominick Mastrangelo
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie sitting in front of a building: President Biden speaks with reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani © Getty Images President Biden speaks with reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani

President Biden was hit with a fact-check from The Washington Post on Monday after repeating a false claim last week that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars citizens from owning cannons.

"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," Biden said during a speech on gun violence in America last week.

The Post, citing experts on the Second Amendment and historical documents, reported Biden's assertion about cannons relative to the right to bear and keep arms in the United States is demonstrably false.

"Everything in that statement is wrong," David Kopel, research director and Second Amendment project director at the Independence Institute, told the Post, adding 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."


Video: Noir: Biden speaks to Second Amendment supporters as 'threat to his control (FOX News)

The Second Amendment 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."

Biden has made the claim about cannons and the Second Amendment at least once before, the Post noted, telling Wired magazine last year "you weren't allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual."

"Some readers might think this is a relatively inconsequential flub. But we disagree," fact-checker Glenn Kessler 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."

The Post awarded Biden four "Pinocchios" for the remarks about cannons and the Second Amendment, the most possible.

"Moreover, Biden has already been fact-checked on this claim - and it's been deemed false," Kessler wrote. "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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