Biden Fails Fact Check on Revolutionary War Cannon Ownership
By Chris Eger
Screenshot of Vice President Joe Biden’s recent interview along with a split-screen of General Gage’s orders of Feb. 1775 instructing his men to be on the lookout for cannons not under the King’s control.
In a recent online interview, Vice President Joe Biden said during the Revolutionary War private citizens couldn’t own cannons. That has been ranked as false, and with good reason.
The interview in question occurred last month with Wired, where the presumptive Democratic Presidental candidate was asked about gun control. In justifying a ban on “assault weapons,” Biden said, “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.”
Poynter Institute’s Politifact fact-checker this week researched the claim and, after consulting with noted Second Amendment scholars such as Professor David Kopel, ranked the statement as being “false” for a variety of reasons.
Here is our take.
Going back to 1638, the founding date of what is today The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts– to this day a privately recruited military unit– local communities took it upon themselves to charter units of cannoneers.
By the 1740s, local artillery units were in Rhode Island, New York, and Pennsylvania