Joe Biden’s dubious claim about Revolutionary War cannon ownership

Joe Biden’s dubious claim about Revolutionary War cannon ownership

If Your Time is short • The Biden campaign didn’t offer evidence to support his statement, and historians of the period are dubious laws against private cannon ownership existed. • There are documented instances of privateers, or privately owned vessels that legally attacked enemy ships during wartime, setting sail with cannons during the period. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, recently sat for a video with Wired, part of the magazine’s series of interviews in which celebrities answer the most searched-for questions about themselves on the internet. One of the questions Biden addressed was, "What is Joe Biden’s stance on gun control?" He proceeded to answer that he favors outlawing assault weapons. "They have no rationale for being owned by individuals on the street," Biden said. "They should be outlawed. … 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." Screenshot from Biden’s video A reader suggested we look at Biden’s assertion on Revolutionary War cannons. The historians we reached out to were dubious. To confirm Biden’s point, "you would need to point to something — a law, or a tradition, or a case where someone was not allowed to possess a cannon," said University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt. But the Biden campaign was unable to point to a specific law. "The vice president’s point is that to help end the tragic epidemic of mass shootings that is taking so […]

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