Someone Please Hand This American History Lesson to President Biden

posted on July 6, 2021
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Matt Johnson courtesy Flickr

Perhaps you heard President Joe Biden (D), when defending his new gun-control efforts, claim: “The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”

Sorry, President Biden, you are wrong again.

The evidence is clear that ordinary citizens could and did buy cannons; in fact, many Americans own cannons today.

This 1789 ad by the Military Laboratory in Philadelphia informed “Owners and Commanders of Armed Vessels may be supplied, for either of the use of Small Arms or Cannon, at the shortest notice, with every species of MILITARY STORES.” It lists “Rammers, sponges, worms and ladles,” “Gunner’s handspikes” and “Cannon and musket cartridge boxes of every size,” among other tools used for cannon. (Oh, and it also advertised: “Hand grenadoes, filled and fused.”) This is an ad aimed at armed merchant ships, which were common at that time. Certainly, you would not be advertising to the U.S. Navy.

In 1747, the Quakers who dominated the Pennsylvania colonial legislature refused to organize and arm a militia to deal with an impending threat of invasion. Benjamin Franklin organized a voluntary militia, which purchased, among other items, “some old cannon” from Boston, and borrowed some from New York.

John Adams wrote a letter to his wife suggesting that Independence Day in the future should be “as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

“Gun” at that time referred to cannon, not small arms. You did just see celebrations with a cannon this past weekend, correct?

You do not own a cannon? Why not? When I lived in the Bay Area of California, a friend was a Civil War Reenactor. He often towed a 4-inch cannon to events. Police would sometimes pull him over, ostensibly to see if he had license for it, but mostly out of curiosity. (Yes, think of the scene in The Mask where police pull a bazooka out of Jim Carrey’s pants, and his response, “I have a permit for that.”) His response was always the same: “I don’t need one. It’s black powder.” He had fired cannonballs from it at a special cannon range back east. He claimed it was accurate to 1,000 yards and capable of firing to 1,600 yards.

The most-disturbing part of Biden’s speech was: “Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What’s happened is that there have never been—if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” So, according to Biden, the Revolutionary War had no deaths by patriots? And why would a revolution against a tyrannical government need nuclear weapons? Perhaps he has been listening to Rep. Swalwell (D-CA)’s defense of gun-control laws: “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”

Perhaps Biden was unaware of the Vietnam War, or Afghanistan, or the overthrow of the brutal Romanian Communist government of Nicolae Ceausescu.

America began in revolution. We celebrate this fight for freedom every July 4. The spirit of freedom is not dead in America today. It is alive and well here in this association and across America. Biden not only doesn’t understand this, but he wants to pretend freedom isn’t won and kept by patriots.



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