Facts Matter: Constitution does not prohibit ownership of a cannon

  • A revolutionary war cannon is on display Nov. 13, 2019, in Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House in Washington.

    A revolutionary war cannon is on display Nov. 13, 2019, in Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House in Washington. Associated Press

Updated 4/16/2022 6:33 PM

President Joe Biden recently said his administration will be cracking down on "ghost guns," or unserialized firearms made from a kit.

"If you buy a couch you have to assemble, it's still a couch," he said during an April 11 news conference. "If you order a package, like this one over here, that includes the parts you need, the directions for assembling a functioning firearm, you bought a gun."


The president announced new regulations, which include attaching a serial number to the kits and federal prosecution for anyone who commits a crime using a ghost gun.

And then he brought up the Second Amendment.

"I support the Second Amendment. You have a right," Biden said. "But from the very beginning, the Second Amendment didn't say you can own any gun you want, big as you want. You couldn't buy a cannon when, in fact, the Second Amendment passed."

But that's not what Amendment II of the U.S. Bill of Rights is about, according to PolitiFact. The Second Amendment states, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

"Biden's statement is completely false," Independence Institute research director David Kopel told PolitiFact. "Neither in 1791 nor in the preceding centuries was there any American law against owning particular types of arms."

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Gun regulation in the U.S. began in 1934 with the National Firearms Act.

Biden made this same false claim during the presidential campaign and again in 2021.

AIDS not caused by vaccines

A video circulating on social media features a doctor claiming the COVID-19 vaccines are "causing a form of AIDS."

"(The vaccines) are causing a form of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, that's what AIDS stands for, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, A, I, D, S," said Dr. Robert Malone in the video.

But Malone, a critic of the vaccines, is wrong, according to The Associated Press. There is no evidence to support his claim.

Richard E. Chaisson, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research, told the AP that Malone is "misrepresenting" the data.

"What is widely accepted is that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause short-term immune activation, not deficiency," he said.


Chaisson also said the term "AIDS" is only used to describe the condition caused by HIV.

Jackson first Black woman nominee

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was recently confirmed by the Senate, making her the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, after being the first Black woman nominated for the position.

But a social media post claims she is actually the second.

"Fraud: It was Republicans who nominated the 1st Black woman to the SCOTUS & she was BLOCKED & filibustered by ... wait for it...... Joe Biden," read the post.

This claim is false, according to USA Today. Jackson's historic nomination for the highest court was the first for a Black woman.

The false post also includes a photo of former California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Biden did have a part in delaying her confirmation to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Brown was nominated for the D.C. Circuit in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush. Biden, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was part of group that filibustered Brown, blocking her confirmation.

Brown was eventually confirmed to serve in the D.C. Circuit in 2005. Biden voted against her nomination.

Walsh posts fake Carlson quote

Images published April 4 from Bucha, Ukraine, show dead bodies of residents left after an invasion by Russian troops. Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, in a tweet that same day, appeared to post a quote from Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Walsh wrote, "@TuckerCarlson tonight: 'What if these bodies of tortured, dead civilians were staged? What if they're fake? What if the Ukrainian military killed them & then blamed Russia? I'm not saying any of this is true, I'm just asking the questions.'"

Walsh's tweet was shared by Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, MSNBC host Joy Reid and hundreds of others.

But Carlson never said that, according to USA Today. Walsh's tweet came before Carlson would have had a chance to comment on the images.

The following day, on Twitter, Walsh clarified his tweet, claiming he was "predicting" what Carlson would say on his next broadcast.

Carlson denied the quote during his April 5 show.

"It's completely made up -- utterly," Carlson said. "We didn't say that, we didn't say anything like that. We didn't even address the topic on the air in any way. So everything about Joe Walsh's tweet is a manufactured lie. It's pure disinformation, as they now say."

Walsh told USA Today he had made predictions about Carlson before, but those hadn't been misinterpreted like this one.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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