Founders’ Corner: Biden’s “You Couldn’t Own A Cannon” Claims Debunked

Joe Biden and others have repeatedly claimed that “You couldn’t own a cannon” because they believe that the second amendment is not absolute, so the government can make laws restricting the type of weapon that you are allowed to own. But these claims are false. For an administration that claims to be so worried about “mis, dis and mal-information” you would think that they would take the time to verify these claims before repeatedly pushing them.

They know that these claims are false and yet they push them anyways. They aren’t interested in what the Constitution says about the second amendment (or really anything else), their agenda is to disarm law abiding American’s.

Despite these repeated claims of “You couldn’t own a cannon” there was no law that stated that you couldn’t own a cannon or restricted the right to own a certain type of firearm. Our Founders included the second amendment for a very specific reason, and no Joe, it’s not in case the deer are wearing Kevlar vests. No, they didn’t believe that “weapons of war” couldn’t be held in the hands of private citizens, because that would have defeated the whole point of the second amendment.

Biden has made similar claims in the past. During his 2020 Presidential campaign, Biden claimed that “From the very beginning you weren’t allowed to have certain weapons,” Biden said. “You weren’t allowed to own a cannon during the Revolutionary War as an individual.”

Even Politifact  reported the claim as “dubious” because during the Revolutionary War there wasn’t a clear set of laws of what should be allowed to be held in private hands. “At that time, there was no United States, just a bunch of very confused former colonies trying to cooperate, and often failing, to defeat the British military,” Baylor University director of military studies Julie Anne Sweet said. There may have been some laws at the local level on banning cannons or restricting certain types of firearms, but those would have been very hard to enforce and likely very limited. There was no federal ban on cannons or firearms, there wasn’t even a federal government.

The leftwing Washington Post even gave his most recent claim four pinocchios, which is the most severe “false” rating it could receive. “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 outlet concluded. Even the outlets that are friendly to Joe Biden aren’t even buying this claim.

But reality actually goes even further. It’s not even that there were no laws that prevented private citizens from owning cannons, but many actually did own cannons.

According to Robert E. Wright, in his book One Nation Under Debt he lays out 5 times when it was acceptable for private citizens to own debt.

  1. Private Americans were legally allowed to form their own militias, which were referred to as ‘Legions’.
  2. They were allowed to organize and charter private militia units as nonprofit corporations (For example, Thaddeus Rice, John Hastings, James Godfrey, Reuben Rice and others incorporated a private artillery company in St. Albans, Vermont).
  3. They were allowed to own cannons, both as an individual and part of a militia, to protect themselves against pirates, which is written into the Constitution (Article 1 (Article I, § 8, clause 11). 
  4. Develop, manufacture, stockpile, and sell cannon to meet the demand of private individuals as well as the government.
  5. And they were allowed to own cannons for celebratory purposes.

You are legally allowed to own a cannon to this day, at least according to federal law. Many private organizations do fire cannons for certain celebratory events, including Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Massachusetts, which is still registered as a private militia.

It actually wasn’t until 1903 that the Militia Act led to the winding down of private militias, but it did nothing to stop the sale of cannons to individuals. But even to this day South Carolina still has a state militia which states that: “In the event of an invasion, rebellion, or other insurrection, South Carolina’s governor can call everyday citizens into the armed service.” Title 25 of the South Carolina state code reads

“…if the Governor shall have ordered into active service all of the available forces of the National Guard of South Carolina and shall consider them insufficient in numbers to properly accomplish the purpose, he may then in addition order out the unorganized militia or such portion thereof as he may deem necessary and cause them to perform such military duty as the circumstances may require” and a group of Republican State Senators is attempting to make this law even stronger.

Even The National Firearms Act of 1934, which is the most restrictive piece of Federal legislation related to the ownership of firearms (and un-Constitutional) does not mention cannons.

These people will really try anything to restrict your right to legally own a firearm. They’ll claim that “you couldn’t own a cannon”, when in fact you could. They’ll claim that the “second amendment isn’t absolute” when it definitely is. They’ll claim that “weapons of war shouldn’t be on the streets” when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a “weapon of war” being held by private citizens, and most of what they claim is a “weapon of war” has never even been used in war. Joe Biden will even claim that “9mms blow the lungs out of a body” and that 9mm is “high caliber” just to push this radical agenda to disarm private citizens, that legally have the right to defend themselves.

Don’t be fooled. They are starting with AR-15s and AK-47s, both of which you legally have the right to own. But as Joe Biden admitted this week, they aren’t stopping there. If they can get you to give up your AR-15, they’ll come after handguns next, until you are left defenseless which is their goal and has been.

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