Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
January 24th, 2013
03:50 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden's gun advice for earthquakes

(CNN) – Assault weapons aren't needed, period. Not even in earthquakes. At least, that's what Vice President Joe Biden says.

Answering critics who say assault weapons would be useful as a last line of defense should a natural disaster result in chaos, Biden gave some advice Thursday in a discussion about gun control during a Google+ Hangout.

The vice president, known for his colorful, off-the-cuff remarks, said a double-barrel shotgun would be more practical in such a scenario, adding assault weapons are harder to handle for people unfamiliar with the firearms.

"It's harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun, OK?" he said, as he mimicked holding a gun with both arms. "So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells."

Biden's comments came the same day Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced her assault weapons ban bill, a piece of legislation with strong support from President Barack Obama. The president and vice president rolled out their own proposals to curb gun violence last week, and Biden will hit the road Friday to take the administration's case before the public in Richmond, Virginia.

Feinstein's measure would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles.

Along with banning assault weapons, the administration and Feinstein also want to install a 10-round limit for magazines.

"I'm much less concerned quite frankly about what you'd call an assault weapon than I am about magazines and the number of rounds that can be held," Biden said.

One participant in the web discussion–who had initially asked the question about earthquakes–also followed up by asking whether a magazine cap would actually have an impact in a scenario such as the mass shooting at the Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, including 20 children.

Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times.

"And so what would happen is the response time, in fact, may have saved one kid's life. Maybe if it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive," Biden said.

He also pointed to the gunmen in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and the Tucson, Arizona shooting, both of whom had to pause because their magazines either ran out or jammed.

When pressed on whether he expects an assault weapons ban or magazine limit to actually reduce crime, Biden said he's "not making the argument that this will end crime."

"I'm making the argument this way: There's no sporting need that I'm aware of that has a magazine that holds 50 rounds. None that I'm aware of. And I'm a sportsman."


Filed under: Gun rights • Joe Biden
soundoff (487 Responses)
  1. PoliTecs

    Hey Joe, I don't need underwear on in an earthquake either. Man, you are a GENIUS and I love this brain storming approach you are taking.

    January 24, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Mathematician101

    Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times.

    30×4 = 120
    30×5 = 150
    10×25 = 250
    10×30 = 300

    Someone's math freakin' sucks

    January 24, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. holloweddarkness

    In this sense, Electricity is not needed. Electricity kills at least one person a year. We don't need electricity to live, so if we can save one life by getting rid of electricity, we should.

    Sounds crazy to you too huh... I own an assault weapon not necessarily for self defence, but for sport. I keep my firearms properly locked up with only my wife and I having access to them. When I decide to go shoot, it is at a legal range with proper discipline when handling the weapon.

    Don't get me wrong, I support universal background checks, and possibly making it a little more difficult to get my hands on ammo. However, I do not believe in the fact that they want all current sporting rifle/firearm owners to register with the federal database. If you want to see that I purchased my firearms legally, look in the sales records of the sporting goods stores. There is ALWAYS a paper trail with a legally obtained firearm and there is no reason to ever have a giant federal database. The idea of registering existing firearms does not make our society any safer and I don't believe the headache it would cause me is worth it.

    On the other hand, if they want me to hand in my firearms that are now banned, they better be ready to offer me full retail value. The government has no right to screw me out of my hard owned money and give me $400 dollars for a $1500 rifle. The same reasoning could be applied to TV's, if suddenly all TV's were deemed illegal and "Banned" and they offered a buyback program for them, would you be okay getting $200 for your 1k TV that you bought less than 9 months ago?

    My take on the issue.

    January 24, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Ryan

    Interesting no one requesting the ban wants to address the fact that the 2nd Amendment isn't about sporting or even home defense. It's about civilians' right to bear arms and form militias to retake the nation should the government turn to tyranny. Some argue military STYLE (assault weapons in the true sense of the word have been banned since '93) weapons would do little against the US military, well... we've had the full force of the U.S. military in Afghanistan for 13 years, little has changed, and the bulk of our casualties are due to assault rifles and home-made bombs. If all they had was shot-guns .... I don't think I need to touch on that.

    January 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Someone need to teach Biden how to MULTIPLY. 30 X 5 = 150 rds where as 10 X 25 = 250 rds. How many shots were fired during the Newtown School Shooting?

    January 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    As a gun owner who has considered the possibility of real life defense of myself & family w/a firearm–Joe Biden is DEAD ON. A shotgun w/buckshot is THE most effective & safe way to defend yourself w/a firearm IF that situation should arise in your life time. An even more efficient way to defend oneself in America–Stay out of bad neighborhoods !!

    January 24, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. IA Outdoorsman

    Agreed mathematician101. No wonder our politicians can't balance a budget. Hell Biden, doesn't even know basic multiplication!

    January 24, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Bill

    Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times.

    30 rounds is 3 times 10 rounds.

    4 x 3 = 25 and 5 X 3 = 30 ??????

    January 24, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Wilson

    Biden's math sucks, but I do agree with him on the shotgun for home defense. Most criminals seeing that big opening pointed at them will probably leave so quickly that the homeowner will have to clean up the pile of "stuff" and tennis shoes left behind.

    January 24, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Harry Kuheim

    The Framers were not thinking about hunting when they wrote the 2nd Amendment...they were thinking of Homeland Security, self defence, and resisting Government Oppression.

    Most of that generation of Men were not far removed from the results of Tyrannical Dictators in Europe...that is what they were thinking of...not shooting deer.

    January 24, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Larry L

    @Mathematician101

    Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times.

    30×4 = 120
    30×5 = 150
    10×25 = 250
    10×30 = 300

    Someone's math freakin' sucks
    ============================================================================================

    Not the Electoral College...

    January 24, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Moose

    Keep in mind this idiot is one breath away,,,,,, scary !!!!

    January 24, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Larry L

    @Harry Kuheim

    The Framers were not thinking about hunting when they wrote the 2nd Amendment...they were thinking of Homeland Security, self defence, and resisting Government Oppression.
    =============================================================================================== If you believe the 2nd give individuals the right to take up arms against our government whenever they decide it has become "oppressive" you must consider Tim McVeigh, Ted Kaczinsky, and MAJ Nidal Hasan patriots. They decided our government was "oppressive", took up "arms" and successfully killed government employees including. Heroes?

    January 24, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Moose

    Id really like to see Bozo Biden go to miami gardens, liberty city (fl), oakland ca, east point ga, south centrel la, downtown detroit etc etc unarmed with his wife, than i would believe him, just once i wish this jerk would walk it like he talks it

    January 24, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    LOL...I love it...and now all the angry gun nuts have to rant about is Joey's bad math and trying to extol the "virtues" of pretending you're a spec ops officer instead of using a good ole fashioned 12-guage once the apocalypse arrives...which, from listening to the whackadoo "prepper" crowd, you might think is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. tomorrow evening and will rudely disturb supper hour . How's that bait workin' out for ya? nom nom nom nom nom.....

    January 24, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "and the bulk of our casualties are due to assault rifles and home-made bombs"

    Funny you should mention that.

    Similar to the dangers of assault weapons in our own country, the dangers of assault weapons in the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan are because OUR gov't gave these murder sticks to the ones shooting people with them. And yes, the lack of a ban and responsible regulation in our own country might as well have been our gov't just handing out these weapons to people at a free assault rifle giveaway. Of course, if Al Qaeda and other bogeymen can hide terrorist infants in their wombs and then sneak across the border, then of course they can hide assault weapons up in there too, right?

    January 24, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. scarf

    Ryan

    Interesting no one requesting the ban wants to address the fact that the 2nd Amendment isn't about sporting or even home defense. It's about civilians' right to bear arms and form militias to retake the nation should the government turn to tyranny. Some argue military STYLE (assault weapons in the true sense of the word have been banned since '93) weapons would do little against the US military, well... we've had the full force of the U.S. military in Afghanistan for 13 years, little has changed, and the bulk of our casualties are due to assault rifles and home-made bombs. If all they had was shot-guns .... I don't think I need to touch on that.
    ------------------------------------–
    Using that logic, you don't need assault rifles to fight the US military. You can do it with IEDs. Thanks for helping out with the anti-gun argument.

    January 24, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Terry

    You know what people are scared of?
    Government officials like Mayor Bloomberg who dictates to the citizens of New York what he thinks they should eat or drink.
    So tell me what is the next thing on the list to ban? And tell me where does Bloomberg and his cronies like Obama and Biden stop?

    January 24, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. carlos

    It was actually a shotgun that did most of the damage in that movie theater, The AR jammed after only a few shots.

    Biden is about as sharp as a mashed potato sandwitch.

    Please stop with these assault laws, they are assaulting our liberty and go against what this county was founded on!

    January 24, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. juliemac

    How about admitting that NO assault rifles at all were used in ANY mass shooting. AND in CT... They were hand guns.
    This really is stupid. I am a 55 yo female target shooter. I have a magazine in my rifle AND a hand grip. I have a poor right wrist that hurts holding a normal rifle stock, so I had it fitted with a hand grip. Now my target rifle (do a google on them) is illegal?
    Get real folks. Your being conned by people that can't tell the difference and filling you with false information.

    January 24, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. illinidiva

    Why is Uncle Joe allowed near guns? He is bound to hurt himself or someone else through his stupidity.

    January 24, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Rick

    He's actually 100% correct. The shotgun is the most flexible, useful weapon ever invented. Even gun historians agree that the shotgun was as necessary as a shovel for early explorers and families striking out in the wild untested lands.
    Security professionals say the shotgun is the best home defense weapon you can have. Its simple, its reliable and pump shotguns these days can fire up to 8 rounds without reloading. With rifled slugs a shotgun can be a very accurate rifle that packs a punch.
    During the Iraqi War in 1991, General Norman Schwarzkopf kept a double barreled shotgun by his bed because he thought that if an Iraqi terrorist ever got past his guards he would simply dispatch them himself.
    Finally, shotguns are inexpensive, and easy to maintain. Many can swap barrels so you can use them for both hunting or tactical purposes.
    And they always will be legal.

    January 24, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Andrey

    I suggest Vice President implements his suggestion for all members of his Secret Service detail.

    Take away their pistols and assault machineguns, and replace them with pump-action shotguns or double-barrels. If him and Obama are willing to trust their lives to that, who am I to argue. Otherwise, it's just another case of liberal tendency to preach one thing and do the opposite.

    January 24, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Dean

    Biden makes Dan Quayle look like a genius.

    January 24, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Michael

    @Terry

    "You know what people are scared of?
    Government officials like Mayor Bloomberg who dictates to the citizens of New York what he thinks they should eat or drink."
    ======================================

    Let me correct your statement.
    A person with a gun is citizen.
    A person WITHOUT a gun is a subject.
    Therefore, the people of New York are Mayor Bloomberg's subjects. like in slaves, indentured servants, peons, etc..

    January 24, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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