Biden botches Thomas Jefferson quote and falsely claims Americans couldn’t own cannons during the Civil War in gun control speech

President Biden falsely claimed Tuesday that the Second Amendment prohibits the ownership of cannons and botched a famous quote from a founding father during a speech in support of gun control.

“There has never been a time that says you could own anything you want,” Biden said in remarks at the Gun Sense University conference in Washington, DC.


Historically, the few examples of post-Civil War restrictions related to cannons largely dealt with limiting where they could be discharged, restricting the sale of the weapon to children and regulating how gunpowder could be stored.

In a May 2024 law review article in the Journal on Legislation, David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee found a “near-complete absence” of anti-cannon laws in the nineteenth century.


Biden, on at least three previous occasions, has falsely claimed that the Second Amendment outlawed cannon ownership.

“This version is a little different from Biden’s previous lies,” Kopel said. “The earlier ones referred to when the Second Amendment was ratified. Now he’s moving the time frame to the Civil War. Still completely false.”

To this day, there are no federal laws preventing Americans from owning Civil War-era cannons, or any cannons manufactured prior to 1898.


“How much have you heard this phrase, ‘the blood of liberty … washes those’ – give me a break,” Biden said in a mocking tone.

Jefferson’s quote is, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”


“No, I mean it. Seriously,” Biden added. “And by the way, if they want to think they can take out government if we get out of line, which they are talking again about, well guess what, they need F-15s.”

The White House did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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