UPDATED, 2/4/22 @ 12 Noon, PST: Once again, while appearing in New York City to talk about the problem of violent crime, Joe Biden went off script and repeated a couple of canards for which he has already been skewered by the Washington Post Fact Checker.
About midway through his remarks, Biden—a perennial anti-gunner during his years on Capitol Hill—told his Big Apple audience, “There’s no amendment that’s absolute,” Biden insisted. “When the amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody can own a gun — any kind of gun — and any kind of weapon.”
That’s not true, say Second Amendment activists, and Biden knows it.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, issued a blistering rebuttal.
“When it comes to gun rights and the Second Amendment, Joe Biden is a recidivist congenital liar,” he said. “The guy just can’t resist perpetuating a lie that’s already gotten him into trouble with the Washington Post Fact Checker, earning an embarrassing ‘Four Pinocchios,’ but he continues to misrepresent history and the right to keep and bear arms.”
Biden’s falsehood last year that got him in trouble specifically dealt with cannon ownership. Last year, Biden stated, “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.”
At the time, the Washington Post contacted David Kopel, research director and Second Amendment project director at the Independence Institute, who told the newspaper, “Everything in that statement is wrong.”
At the time the Second Amendment was ratified, Kopel explained, “there were no federal laws about the type of gun you could own, and no states limited the kind of gun you could own.”
As noted by The Hill, the Second Amendment states, “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.”
Back in late June 2021, Biden was called out by Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, who wrote, “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.”
The Second Amendment says nothing about who can or cannot own a gun. At the time the Amendment was written—to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms—the nation had been born out of armed, violent rebellion. The first shots of that war of independence were fired by citizens protecting their arms from seizure by British Regulars. That was on April 19, 1775 at Concord Bridge.
But Biden apparently was not satisfied with re-spinning one yarn, he pulled another myth out of his hat, once again demonstrating the peril of going off-script. He called once again for repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was passed into law during the George W. Bush administration, to protect firearms manufacturers from “junk” lawsuits filed by anti-gun municipalities with support from gun control groups in what clearly was an effort to cost the firearms industry tens of millions of dollars, perhaps driving manufacturers into bankruptcy.
But there are provisions within the PLCAA that allow lawsuits to be filed for negligence, and Biden should also know this. Yet beginning about 13 minutes 50 seconds into his comments Thursday, Biden said one of his priorities is, “Repeal the Liability shield for gun manufacturers…They’re the only industry in America that is exempted from being able to be sued by the public. Only one.
“Imagine had that been the way with cigarette manufacturers,” he continued. “Where the hell would…where the heck would we be? We’d be in tough shape.
“Why gun manufacturers,” he pontificated. “Because of the power of their lobbying ability. It’s gotta end! They gotta be held responsible for the things that they do that are irresponsible. And folks, you know it’s the only industry in America that is exempt from being sued and I think I find it is outrageous.”
It’s also not true. But the press corps did not challenge the president on either point. But an official in the firearms industry did.
Biden’s remarks drew a quick reaction from Lawrence A. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“President Biden’s repeating demonstrably false claims, for which even the mainstream media has called him to account on, is troubling,” Keane said. “It either demonstrates a diminished mental capacity to remember basic facts or a willingness to blatantly mislead the American public for short term political gain. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed by a broad bipartisan margin in 2005, and 35 states passed similar tort reforms. Congress has protected other industries, like aviation and vaccine manufacturers from crippling lawsuits, including those pharmaceutical companies providing Americans the COVID-19 vaccines. Sadly, there are more Pinocchios in the president’s future.”
Yet, Biden’s comments will be used to reinforce what amounts to a myth adhered to by the gun prohibition lobby and people who don’t care for private firearms ownership.