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. ghostriter

    You guys really need to get it together. If you need weapons in defense of the government, then you'll need to have the same types of weapons. To do this, you'll need to let folks have whatever the army has. Which means folks walking round with military grade weapons. Great idea.

    If you believe that the 2nd shall not be infringed upon, then we should allow nutcases and ex-cons to have weapons. Even better.

    Combine the two and we can have a nice Mad Max type of country.

    January 25, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. JM

    He's too funny.......That's why our military has shotguns....LOL !!!!

    January 25, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Doug Brown

    Shotguns are way too inhumane.

    January 25, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. California Gary

    I will say this.....there is no more intimidating sound than the sound of a round being chambered in a shotgun.......that distinctive "Ka-chink Ka-chink" will stop anyone in their tracks and make them think very carefully about their next move.

    January 25, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. mike123456

    A double barrel shotgun is great, unless their are more than two attackers...... No thanks joe I will stick with my 30 round mags, bullets are like condoms. Best to have more than you need than not enough to cover yourself.

    January 25, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Oski

    Biden finally said something intelligent...and something I agree with.

    January 25, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Dear Joe :

    Not everyone owns a gun for sport. Guns are also for protection. Can the government guarantee that they will halt all import of illegal fire arms and immediately disarm the criminals and crazies. Can they guarantee that the police will get to my house in the amount of time it takes me to grab my gun and defend my family and my home. No, of course they can’t. We don’t live in a utopia, and we never will because the government is incapable of truly protecting us. When the legally owned “Bad guns” are gone the criminals will still use illegal ones. And a double barrel shot gun is great, if there is only one guy with no gun, and even then if you miss twice, you’re dead. Let us protect our families effectively, because you can’t.

    January 25, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Here is an actual scenario that happened to me a number of years ago.
    Sound heard of breaking glass and someone stepping on it in my living room.
    Next sound heard was me chambering a round in my Remmington 870.
    Nest sound heard was an expletive deleted, followed by glass breaking and the sound of footsteps running down the street.
    My conclusion – the shotgun worked without firing a shot.

    January 25, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Esmith

    This guy is a jerk. He has no knowledge of firearms what so ever. Actually, I classified as an expert with an M16 in the military, so I have extensive knowledge of firearms. The AR15 which is the civilian version fires on semiautomatic, (one shot for one trigger pull), as we who understand firearms know. I own a AR15 and use it for reducing the number of harmful predators, (Coyotes and such), on our hunting lease. It's fun to plink with, but must of all, what a wonderful thing to have in case of an errant government bent on destroying our rights given to us by the constitution.

    January 25, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. momof3

    the point of the 2nd ammendment is not for sport, is is so that we as the poeople can defend ourselves from all of you (government)

    January 25, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. history bear

    Not a double barrel Joe, a pump. 12 gauge, 00 or #4 Buck. Better at close range than any other gun, particulary in a home. . Go Joe.

    January 25, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. ChrisIA

    Let me get this straight...

    He knows the last ban didn't do anything to reduce crime. But he still wants to reinstate it.
    He isn't concerned with assault weapons as much as standard capacity magazines. But he still wants to ban the rifles.
    Adam Lanza fired around half, or less, of the rounds in each of his magazines. According to the CT state police, the magazines found on the floor had between 15 and 20 rounds left in each of them, but making him reload a couple of more times (no more than 1 second per reload) would have given the chanceto save maybe 1 more life with the "response time" though the reported response time at Sandy Hook was 20 minutes. Riiight.
    This whole thing reeks more of agenda and less of facts every day.

    January 25, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. BarS

    I like his math:
    "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-round magazine = 3×10-round magazines. "four or five times" x 3 = 12 to 15 times. 25 or 30 times?

    January 25, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Mike

    The Second Amendment has nothing to do with sports. It is the last stop gap measure to protect the people against tyranny. As such, I assert that the peoples right to bear military arms is MORE protected than the right to bear sporting goods.

    January 25, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. James PDX

    Please note I am for a ban on true assault style weapons and larger magazines. The problems arise when we let gun ignorant politicians draft these bills, as we did with the prior assault weapon ban. Aesthetics do not change the function of the weapon. Just because it looks "assaulty" does not make it an assault weapon. They need to consult with weapon professionals so the next assault weapon ban doesn't read like it was written by a 4th grader and proofread by his cocker spaniel.

    Also, a limit to 10 rounds is idiotic. Most non-revolver handguns come stock with magazines that hold about 14 rounds. They don't make smaller mags for them. So the majority of handguns would have to be completely redesigned or we could let the weapons manufacturers make another killing when we force handgun owners to buy smaller magazines to replace their stock ones.

    January 25, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Fai is Fair

    Ghostriter

    "If you believe that the 2nd shall not be infringed upon, then we should allow nutcases and ex-cons to have weapons."
    --------–
    Sorry, Ghost... no one says "nutcases" should be permitted... and as far as ex-cons, they've given up their right to own by virture of their behavior... consequences, you know.

    January 25, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. James PDX

    Please note I am for a ban on true assault style weapons and larger magazines. The problems arise when we let gun ignorant politicians draft these bills, as we did with the prior assault weapon ban. Aesthetics do not change the function of the weapon. Just because it looks "assaulty" does not make it an assault weapon. They need to consult with weapon professionals so the next assault weapon ban doesn't read like it was written by a 4th grader and proofread by his poodle.

    Also, a limit to 10 rounds is idiotic. Most non-revolver handguns come stock with magazines that hold about 14 rounds. They don't make smaller mags for them. So the majority of handguns would have to be completely redesigned or we could let the weapons manufacturers make another killing when we force handgun owners to buy smaller magazines to replace their stock ones.

    January 25, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. jorge washinsen

    He can open a security agency when he retires.

    January 25, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Assault Weapons

    Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer uses the a gun to change the channel on his TV.

    January 25, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. johnnyhouse

    Ask the people in Syria how that works.

    January 25, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Fai is Fair

    Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Here is an actual scenario that happened to me a number of years ago.
    Sound heard of breaking glass and someone stepping on it in my living room.
    Next sound heard was me chambering a round in my Remmington 870.
    Nest sound heard was an expletive deleted, followed by glass breaking and the sound of footsteps running down the street.
    My conclusion – the shotgun worked without firing a shot.
    -------
    My conclusion? In addition to at least SOME form of self-defense, you had a lone intruder, good luck, and a very dedicated guardian angel.

    January 25, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. John

    So with a magazine that holds 30 rounds, the gunman had to change magazines.4 or 5 times. But if it only held 10 rounds he would have to change 25 or 30 times. Good math Joe. How about 12 or 15 times

    January 25, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. josh rogen

    Biden 2016 could it get any worse?

    January 25, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. John

    So with a magazine that holds 30 rounds, the gunman had to change magazines.4 or 5 times. But if it only held 10 rounds he would have to change 25 or 30 times. Good math Joe. How about 12 or 15 times

    January 25, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. NameJohn

    Putting a ban on assault weapons and magazines over 10 rounds isn't going to stop someone from doing harm to people. It will just make crazy people be more creative !

    January 25, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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