President Joe Biden said this week that Americans who claim they have the right to own firearms to defend themselves against a tyrannical government would need much stronger weapons than currently permitted under the Second Amendment.
The story: Biden made the comments during a press conference on Wednesday where he announced a strategy to prevent violent crime in the U.S. that would strengthen background checks and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
During the presser, the president defended his administration against accusations that it would restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights. He specifically dismissed critics quoting Founding Father and the Declaration of Independence writer Thomas Jefferson, who said that “The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots.”
The famous quote comes from the letter Jefferson wrote in 1787 to British diplomat William S. Smith, in which he discussed Shays’ Rebellion.
What he said: The president argued that the Second Amendment rights are not unlimited and that those who quote Jefferson should know that they would need “F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons” to “take on the government.”
“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. [Those who] say the blood of the, the blood of patriots, you know, and all this stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government,” Biden said.
“Well, the tree of liberty is not [watered with] the blood of patriots, what’s happened is that there never been, if you want, if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons. The point is that there’s always been the ability to limit, rationally limit, the type of weapon that can be owned, and who can own it,” he added.
Not a first: Biden similarly dismissed critics who referred to the quote from Jefferson in discussing Second Amendment rights last year.
“Those who say ‘The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots,’ a great line, well, guess what? The fact is, if you’re going to take on the government, you need an F-15 with Hellfire missiles,” Biden said during a New Hampshire campaign rally in February last year. “There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you.”
“If you are incapable of thinking, if you are mentally ill, you can’t own a weapon. If you are a terrorist, you can’t own a weapon. You shouldn’t be able to own a weapon if you are an abuser,” he said.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.