Not even The Washington Post could go along with President Joe Biden’s latest claim about the Second Amendment.
The outlet’s fact-checker gave Biden’s assertion about the right to bear arms “Four Pinocchios,” the worst possible rating for a statement’s accuracy under its system, one reserved for “Whoppers.”
“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,” Biden said in a speech Wednesday at the White House. “You couldn’t buy a cannon.”
Biden made the remark while talking about his plan to institute stricter gun control measures, including a ban on all so-called “assault weapons” and large-capacity magazines.
“In this case, he repeated a claim — that Americans were prohibited from owning cannons — that has already been fact-checked as false when he made it during the presidential campaign,” The Post’s fact-checker said.
“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,” it said.
According to the fact-check, historians have maintained that there is “no evidence” that cannon restrictions happened during the Revolutionary War.
Furthermore, the Constitution itself — in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 — gave Congress the power to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal” allowing private individuals to act as pirates on behalf of the United States against countries engaged in war with it.
“Individuals who were given these waivers and owned warships obviously also obtained cannons for use in battle,” The Post noted.
It wasn’t only Biden’s claim about cannons that was found to be faulty, however.
The fact-checker maintained that “Biden’s framing about the Second Amendment” was misleading in and of itself.
David Kopel and Kermit Roosevelt, two experts on the Second Amendment and the Constitution, told The Post as much.
According to Kopel, it was not until the early 1800s that any efforts were made to pass restrictions on carrying concealed weapons.
“Everything in [Biden’s] statement is wrong,” Kopel told The Post.
“There were no federal laws about the type of gun you could own, and no states limited the kind of gun you could own.”
“I think what he’s saying here is that the Second Amendment was never understood to guarantee everyone the right to own all types of weapons, which I believe is true,” Roosevelt told The Post.
“As phrased, it sounds like the Second Amendment itself limited ownership, which is not true.”