When Joe Biden announced his “Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety,” he resurrected a claim made previously—and debunked by fact checkers—that, “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.”
That is not true and by now his handlers should know it.
Last year while he was on the campaign trail, Biden told Wired during an interview, “… From the very beginning you weren’t allowed to have certain weapons. You weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.” This was reported by the fact checker at the Austin American-Statesman, after a sharp-eyed reader suggested the newspaper look into Biden’s claim.
Here’s what the fact check determined:
“Biden said, “You weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.”
“The campaign was unable to come up with an example of a law banning private ownership of cannons, and historians of the period doubt that any existed. To the contrary, there are documented instances of privateers, or privately owned vessels, setting sail with cannons during the period.
“We rate the statement False.”
When Politifact snooped into Biden’s specious claim, it contacted David Kopel, research director and Second Amendment project director at the Colorado-based Independence Institute.
“I am not aware of a ban on any arm in colonial America,” he told a reporter. “There were controls on people or locations, but not bans on types of arms.”
This isn’t the only falsehood Biden—who spent his entire Capitol Hill career promoting gun control—has spread in the effort to advance his anti-Second Amendment agenda. Earlier this year, during remarks on “gun violence prevention,” Biden repeated a lie that has been told and re-told by the gun prohibition lobby about gun shows and background checks.
Biden’s claim: “Most people don’t know: If you walk into a store and you buy a gun, you have a background check. But you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want and no background check.”
Politifact had this to say in reaction:
“When it comes to background checks for gun purchases, what matters is who sells the guns, not where the guns are sold — and when a federally licensed seller is a vendor at a gun show, they have to run a background check just as they would if they were back at a bricks-and-mortar gun store.
“The White House told PolitiFact that Biden wasn’t suggesting that every gun transaction at a gun show would take place without a background check. Instead, he meant that sales without background checks could occur in some cases.
“However, that’s not what he said.”
In some states, background checks are required on all firearm transactions, no matter who is doing the selling.
A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics some years back revealed that less than 1 percent of criminals doing time for crimes got their guns from gun shows (0.7%). Far more got their guns from family or friends (39.6%), or illegal sources “on the street” (39.2%).
Biden’s intent is to crack down on so-called “rogue dealers” who are responsible for a large number of guns recovered at crime scenes.
He also wants to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), claiming falsely, “The only industry in America — a billion-dollar industry — that can’t be sued — has exempt from being sued — are gun manufacturers.”
But here’s what “GovTrack.us” says about the statute, which was passed to prevent junk/harassment lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry:
“The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. However, both manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible in much the same manner that any U.S.-based manufacturer of consumer products is held responsible. They may also be held liable for negligent entrustment when they have reason to know a gun is intended for use in a crime.” (Emphasis added.)
The establishment press doesn’t seem to challenge Biden face-to-face when he makes such claims. Perhaps the time has come for that to happen.