On Thursday, Joe Biden gave a speech that was supposed to address the surge in violent crime afflicting American cities. Instead, he spent most of his time rolling out the same tired arguments about restricting the natural right of every American to self-defense and firearm ownership.
Regarding some more of his patently unconstitutional policy ideas, he said that they will not “violate anybody’s Second Amendment right.” In an apparent attempt to make an example that rights are “not absolute,” he said that Americans “couldn’t buy a cannon when this amendment was passed.”
It is, of course, a lie. There is no evidence that Americans in 1791 were restricted by law from purchasing, making, or possessing any weapon they wanted to. There are numerous historical accounts of the US military purchasing or commandeering private cannons. Lewis and Clark took a private small-bore cannon along on their expedition of the Northwest in 1804-06.
Some American towns attempted to prohibit carrying concealed weapons in the 1800s, although the federal government never entered the gun regulation realm until the 1930s. The federal regulations at that time came as the result of rampant violent organized crime that cropped up because of the foolhardy prohibition of alcohol project that was temporarily undertaken by way of a constitutional amendment. Another amendment rightfully repealed prohibition, but the business of firearms regulation was by then ingrained in the Washington mindset.
By 1986 the federal government had effectively banned fully automatic weapons, and today there are tens of thousands of gun laws in place around the country. No other constitutionally protected right is anywhere nearly as restricted in so many ways. In the Heller case, the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision found that the government may not prohibit weapons “in common use by law-abiding citizens.” That definition included cannons in 1791 and AR-15s in 2022.
Not only did Joe Biden lie on Thursday, but he also has no defense against the fact that he knew he was lying. Even the liberal bastion Washington Post called the same statement by Biden an outright falsehood.
The fact-checkers at the Post famously put assertions of fact to the “Pinocchio Test,” which is designed to indicate how truthful or untruthful a public figure has been in making a statement. The Post said that it has “no idea” where Biden “conjured up this notion about a ban on cannon ownership” but said flatly that he “needs to stop making this claim.” Biden was awarded a whopping Four Pinocchios.