Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
January 24th, 2013
03:50 PM ET
1 year 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. Name

    You people are all idiots. You don't want responsible people to have assault weapons so the government can keep their thumb pressed down on the american people. The government is scared the american people will get tired of the way they run things and they want the only big guns to keep the people from rising up against them. This gun ban is just another way the government can control the people.

    January 25, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Jeff in Cincy

    I've said it before... As much as we'd like to think our civilization is rock solid and stable, it's not. Our civilization straddles a fence, and it would take nothing to topple it over into total chaos. A natural disaster, terrorist attack, etc... Anything that could take down our electricity and infrastructure for a prolonged period and you would have people kicking your door in to steal your food. People would kill you and your family for your food, your water, your valuables. This scenario is real... Look at Katrina. If this ever happened Mr. Biden, a shotgun that you have to constantly reload is useless... These guys have no clue...

    January 25, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. 2km N of GZero

    Dear Hillary–
    Please save us from this nitwit in 2016.

    January 25, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. wolfpackbob

    Biden states "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." Right or wrong, the 2nd Amendment was not about sports. If you wish to change the Constitution, have at it.

    January 25, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. John Carver

    Scary thing is that idiot Biden is a heartbeat away from being President. What a friggin dufus.

    And he admits that he never said the assault weapons ban would reduce crime,,,,so WHATS THE POINT???

    I am not so right wing I wouldnt consider giving away some freedom for the good of all if its done correctly. But why consider giving away even a tiny bit of freedom when he says their is no point to doing it except to make liberals have a feel good moment???

    January 25, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. ImIrish

    Guns aren't about hunting, they're about protecting ourselves and our liberties.

    You Dems have gone overboard with this, and those who love the 2nd amendment will fight you tooth and nail, and win.

    January 25, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Doug

    't get it posted – " The AR-15 allows you to "blanket spray" and area, where as a .45 needs to be aimed more accurately. "

    These are the sort of unbelieveably ignorant individuals that Biden and Feinstein are pandering to.

    January 25, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. JiminNM

    The people will rely on shotguns when the Secret Service, CIA, United Nations, FBI, military, etc. only have and use shotguns you idiot.

    January 25, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Jeff in Cincy

    I've said it before... As much as we'd like to think our civilization is rock solid and stable, it's not. Our civilization straddles a fence, and it would take nothing to topple it over into total chaos. A natural disaster, terrorist attack, etc... Anything that could take down our electricity and infrastructure for a prolonged period and you would have people kicking your door in to steal your food. People would kill you and your family for your food, your water, your valuables. This scenario is real...

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And the people doing the kicking in of doors will be the ones who are so terrified of the gub'mint. They need the guns to protect themselves from starvation and doing without all of the comforts to which they've become accustomed. Once those things are no longer available for purchase, they'll turn their weapons on their neighbors to take whatever they "need".

    January 25, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. dajowi

    "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."

    So he's evidently talking about keeping people away, (en mass or individually) who are intent on stealing from you, or raping you, hurting you or murdering you.

    So he's advocating using a firearm (a shotgun) which is only effective at short to intermediate distances.
    Has a very limited internal or external ammunition capacity, (5 to 10 shells).

    He can go ahead and protect himself and his wife with his shotgun. Probably owns .410 bore single shot break open model. I hope that where he lives he keeps the ammunition for that massive and deadly 410 "assault weapon"
    locked up away. He of course has his "assault shotgun" unloaded with a cable or other trigger lock device to prevent theft and misuse.

    I think we should just take the dangerous "assault shotgun weapon thingy" away from Joe Biden after all he's go secret service protection, etc. etc. etc. Besides, he's dangerous enough with a pen in his hands.

    January 25, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. tacc2

    "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."

    Sorry Joe, we don't need those 50 round magazines for any sporting need. But that's no reason for you to ban them. The second amendment isn't there for sporting needs. And you're right, a shotgun would be better for defending against a mob looters during an earthquake. I'd recommend one of the semi-auto ones with a few 12 round magazines.I would say use the 20 round drums, but they tend to jam.

    January 25, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Name

    because even with thirty round mags you think you can over throw the government...your only chance would be compassion from the men and women in the military because last I checked a assault rifle isn't taking down a Abrams.

    January 25, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    2nd amendment was to protect people from tyranny in government, if you try to take guns you may get them bullets first. If you cannot see what the democrats are doing, you are blind, they want a revolution, they want a fight so obama can declare martial law and then go house to house jailing law abiding gun owners, it is time to stop the tyranny in government before the wanna be dictator becomes a dictator

    January 25, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. aviva1964

    Really Joe? A SHOTGUN has a blast radius and can easily harm innocents. A "Assault Rifle", by which I assume he means an AR15, is the most popular gun in America because it is so darn easy to use. Almost no recoil, quick aiming, and very light. A shotgun has a hell of a kick, and a pistol grip shotgun doesn't even get aimed. We keep a shotgun with rubber shot to deter coyotes. For home defense, an AR is much easier, and safer.

    January 25, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Jprk31

    At the end of the day whether it's an automatic weapon, shotgun, hunting rifle or handgun it still can kill people. Banning assault weapons is not the solution if you have a mentally derange individual that is determined to kill someone. The solution is work on identifying and helping person with mental health problems and tell hollywood to limit violence in film and video game. Society is the problem not guns!

    January 25, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. UDidntBuildThat

    The whole point of the 2nd Amend. was to keep the govt in check. When u have well armed citizens, the govt. is less inclined to trampled on the people's right. The 2nd Amend. was not put in place for hunting! Limiting the ammo does nothing but create a blackmarket for these type of ammo and in the black market only the criminals get them. Making only the govt and the criminals that have them. When u have an unjust and corrupt govt (as we are headed), what recourse would the law abiding citizens have if u limit their capabilites to oust them? Just because you don't see the need for a magazine that holds over 50 rounds does not mean you should impose your views on the rest of us!

    January 25, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. ufgatrdave

    What you people fails to realize is that the government is there to protect you. You dont need a gun to protect yourself. That is the governments job. All you ever have to do is call 911 and they will be there to make sure nothing bad happens to you. In the unlikely event of a natural disaster the government will make sure you are safe. They will keep the bad people away. And nobody needs a gun to hunt either. I have never shot a poor little animal, but every time I want to eat some meat all I have to do is go to the grocery store and there is more meat than I could ever need. The benevolent government makes sure of that. . Guns are bad. The goverment is good. The government is behind you. Just dont bend over.

    January 25, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Dan

    Well if a shotgun is good enough ofr the citizens of America then it should be good enough for the secert service detail guarding Joe. My guess is he would prefer they have fully automatic weapons, not just the semi-automatic weapons he and Feinstein want to ban.

    January 25, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  19. theinfamousratman

    Biden, shut up or learn something about guns.

    January 25, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Joe

    What I can't figure out is IF he is correct and it is harder to hit something with an assault rifle and a shotgun is a better method, THEN why shouldn't this ban discussion be about shot guns instead of assault rifles? Unfortunately, logic has nothing to do with it.

    January 25, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. forc63

    @Gun Huggers....
    Who is "we" and how exactly can we "do nothing about it"? Funny you don't point out anyone specific and don't provide any counter arguments. Just say everyone is stupid and attempt to predict the future. Well I'm sure you'll be the first to volunteer to knock on people's doors and say you there to take away their guns because then they will be safe right? Maybe go one step further and bring your family along for back up in case someone has too many guns for one person to carry?

    January 25, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Fai is Fair

    ufgatrdave

    What you people fails to realize is that the government is there to protect you. You dont need a gun to protect yourself. That is the governments job. All you ever have to do is call 911 and they will be there to make sure nothing bad happens to you.
    --------
    Please... PLEASE tell me this is tongue-in-cheek....

    January 25, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. rapierpoint

    Another silly off the cuff remark by the Vice-President. Why am I not surprised? If you go out and buy a gun, then you need to be responsible enough to learn how to use it. The whole "unfamiliar with firearms" is a red herring. If one is unfamiliar with firearms, the last thing they should be doing is picking up a firearm. Period.

    However, in the aftermath of a disaster and there's chaos and anarchy, one uses what one can get their hands on. Does the VP suggest the government provide every household with a shotgun in disaster-prone areas? Perhaps the National Guard should start handing them with ammo after an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane?

    January 25, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Southerner01

    Ok, so a breech loading double barrelled shotgun is a good defense weapon? That's his argument. Clearly the dolt has never fired one. Someone "unfamiliar" with the gun would likely fire both barrels, resulting in their being thrown on their butt, and having to retrieve the gun from 10 feet away, then crack the breech and find some shells ot reload it, if they have the guts ot try firing it a second time.

    Besides, the AR 15 is very easy to aim. The first time I fired one, I put all 10 shots fired within the center three rings of an 8×10 target at 100 yards. It also has minimal kickback, compared to a shotgun (or even a hunting rifle), particularly a double barrel 12 gauge with both barrels fired.

    January 25, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. Southerner01

    Ok, so a breech loading double barrelled shotgun is a good defense weapon? That's his argument. Clearly he has never fired one. Someone "unfamiliar" with the gun would likely fire both barrels, resulting in their being thrown on their rear, and having to retrieve the gun from 10 feet away, then open the breech and find some shells ot reload it, if they have the guts ot try firing it a second time.

    Besides, the AR 15 is very easy to aim. The first time I fired one, I put all 10 shots fired within the center three rings of an 8×10 target at 100 yards. It also has minimal kickback, compared to a shotgun (or even a hunting rifle), particularly a double barrel 12 gauge with both barrels fired.

    January 25, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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