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. GEG

    This is why Biden can't head up gun control. To say a double barrel shot gun is easier to hit something than an AR 15 shows his limited knowledge on guns. I suggest he try to shoot one double barrel and see how fun that is. You can group a inch at 100yards with an AR. Last time I shot a double barrel I almost ripped my finger off lol

    January 25, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. PBJ

    Jim I am with you there. Why doesn't Congress and our Leadership receive Psych clearance for the positions they hold. I bet many are on thr brink of a mental health breakdown, take for instance H. Clinton & her outburst which made no sense.

    January 25, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. lucianne

    you can't really kill someone with a birthday cake. you can't kill a cop with a baseball bat. sorry, the right tp bear arms was for hunting, self protection, and to enable the formation of militias. none of these apply to the assault weapons, unless we are possibly talking about a militia, in which case the militia will be under some kind of control. if you have to reload, you are slowed down and someone might stop you, but with endless rounds of automatic fire, you can kill a lot of people. and by the way – i own two shotguns for self protection, both automatic, and i know how to use them. if you need an ak47 to shoot a deer, you shouldn't be out hunting.

    January 25, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Carlos P.

    If we don't start now limiting the entry of these weapons into the gun pool, there will never be a reduction in them. Anyway, the mood in the country is for limiting the sale of firearms, much like in other nations. Something is going to get done, and I don't think the president is asking for draconian measures. Kids would be alive in Newtown if there were armed guards in the schools. Why not have armed guards? We have soldiers all around the planet to protect us, why not a trained, armed guard in the schools? Police don't carry guns to protect you, they carry guns to protect themselves. Obama, biden, and all the other politicians know that having an armed guard is not the best way, or the safest way, but it is the ONLY WAY to protect yourself, and your kids. Otherwise, why do they have armed guards for their families? Thank you for reading my comments.

    January 25, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Mitchell

    Wow. I didn't know the Vice President of the United States of America has a background in tactial training...

    His advice doesn't seem grounded in fact...but what do I know, as I've only done over 100 training hours on firearms in the past few years. I'll get my firearms training from someone who does it for a living, thank you.

    January 25, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Allow me to demonstrate how blatantly stupid YOUR argument is. If guns r illegal then the good law abiding citizens will not break the law, pay the exorbetant cost resulting fr the ban, risk their families & lives to get them. So who does that leave to get them? Criminals! So we whould accept your belief that we as citizens of this contry don't have a right to protect families, ourselves, &property. Because u and the rulers, the Dems, opinion is that we should not?
    --------
    Anyone who thinks that their little pop guns are going to stop the government, then they're as misguided as David Koresh and all the others like him. Furthermore, anyone who thinks that the US goverment is laying in wait to send in the black helicopters I've got bad news for you. They ain't bringing helicopters. They're bringing UFOs with turbolasers from Area 51.

    January 25, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Ezra

    Old Slow Joe is scary. Advice from him about personal protection is like seeking advice from our government on how to budget wisely. Every gun has its specific purpose and in the specific scenario he discussed I would take and AR over anything else. For home protection a pump shotgun is hard to beat but not if you had bands of thugs destroying life and property after an earthquake. Nothing restores order to the masses like and AR with spare clips. Thats why I have one. Its like an umbrella policy if you have big dogs or a pool – probably would never need it but if someone gets bitten or drowns its irreplacable.

    January 25, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. GuestCT

    California Gary – Just saying, LEOs are a close knot group.

    January 25, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Wes

    lucianne, please don't ever respond to another gun thread again. You obviously have no clue what you're talking about so don't try to contribute. There's no such thing as an "assault weapon", there IS an "assault rifle" and it has been banned since the 80s. "Endless rounds of automatic fire" simply does not exist in this country unless you have a special license and a LOT of money. You also seem to ignore FACTS like the VA Tech shooting where the shooter had pistols with 10 and 15 round magazines and created the worst school shooting in the history of this country. No one is going to stop a shooter while they're reloading by tackling them, because reloading takes 2 to 3 seconds. A good guy with a gun CAN stop them in this time however. But you don't consider that because AR-15 rifles "look scary".

    January 25, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. joe

    Lucianne are really Biden. Tell me how you could not kill a cop with a baseball bat. Your concept of the second amendment is really strange.

    January 25, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Liamnc

    Oh Mr. Biden I do have a shotgun... and an M-4, a 50 cal Barrett, an AK-47, a SIG 556 Swat Carbine, an FN SCAR, an LMT Defender 2000, a 50 cal Beaowulf, a Mark 23 SOCOM, two Glocks, a 44 Mag S&W, two squirt guns and a Nerf gun. rawr

    January 25, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Randy Foster

    I'm thinking Ol' Joe Biden would make a superb circus clown.

    January 25, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Wilson

    @Rudy NYC

    Allow me to demonstrate how blatantly stupid YOUR argument is. If guns r illegal then the good law abiding citizens will not break the law, pay the exorbetant cost resulting fr the ban, risk their families & lives to get them. So who does that leave to get them? Criminals! So we whould accept your belief that we as citizens of this contry don't have a right to protect families, ourselves, &property. Because u and the rulers, the Dems, opinion is that we should not?
    --–
    Anyone who thinks that their little pop guns are going to stop the government, then they're as misguided as David Koresh and all the others like him. Furthermore, anyone who thinks that the US goverment is laying in wait to send in the black helicopters I've got bad news for you. They ain't bringing helicopters. They're bringing UFOs with turbolasers from Area 51.
    ------------------------------------------
    Now Rudy, you are not supposed to be broadcasting classified information like that. Truth is often stranger than the fiction.

    January 25, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    His math is terrible haha. 25×10 >> 4×30

    January 25, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Where are the explanations of the previously asked question? Surely you have an N.R.A. sound bite to use?

    "Many say the 2nd give individuals the right to take up arms against our government when it becomes "oppressive". Then you must consider Lee Harvey Oswald, sirhan sirhan, Tim McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and MAJ Nidal Hasan acting within their 2nd Amendment rights. They took up "arms" against an "oppressive" government and successfully killed government representatives. You feel our Founders gave YOU permission to decide when to kill American Soldiers and police officers? If so, why did we convict those "patriots" listed above? They simply "decided America was oppressive" and exercised their right to bear arms. Please explain." Let's hear it!

    January 25, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. RobertO

    His math doesn't add up. I'm an engineer, but you don't need that sort of math base to know 10×25 >> 30×4. He makes a fair point about smaller magazines, but the numbers in that statement make him look silly.

    January 25, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. annieL

    How about this for protecting yourself and your family? At home, have good locks and, if you fear a murderous mob, a concrete bunker which is useful also for a storm shelter. In public places, when someone opens fire, be a real hero and when he stops to reload, rush him and knock him down. Several women acting together could even do that. Unless you plan on carrying a loaded handgun with you to church, to work, to stores and restaurants, sports events and everywhere you go, a gun won't be much use in a mass shooting, so that's where the assault weapon/magazine size restrictions can be helpful. Not 100% prevention, but better than nothing.

    January 25, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Dr Matrix

    Assault weapons to proect you during an earthquake? What do you do, shot the ground to make it stop shaking? If you haven't been in an earthquake you don't know that all you're worried about is when will it stop.

    January 25, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. UDidntBuildThat

    Draka-I can survive without 10 + round magazines
    ______________________________________
    more power to u. U miss the key pt. The pt of the 2nd Amend. is not so u can "survive" but to enable citiezesn to protect themselves fr at tyrannical govt. The DEMS play on the ignorance of the people who are low information voters. If the govt. controls the weapons & have the more powerful ones for themselves then citizens have no means to take back the country it was never the intent of the 2nd Amend to allow us to hunt but protect our families, us and our properties and fr a govt out of control. I like how people here, in the media and the politicans, knows exactly what we need and can dicate to us exactly what THEY FEEL we are allowed. Kinda like Bloomberg dicatating to NYC citizens, how they should live. Brainless sponges sucking up Bloomberg's countenance. Slowly taking away the freedom fr an ill informed public is like taking candy fr a baby with this electorate.

    January 25, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Fran

    This just only shows "Joe" knows nothing about guns. Do you want to put holes in your walls or actually hit a bad guy while protecting your home or family. A .223 caliber such as the one the AR's are a much smaller caliber compared to that of a shot gun or many other hunting rifles. There are a lot of handguns that have bigger calibers than AR 15's.

    If they are really trying to ban dangerous guns they should start with shot guns and work their way down. The only real reason they are trying to ban AR 15's and other so called "Assault Riffles" is because they look a certain way. If they are really concerned about High capacity magazines then they should limit those.

    One things is for certain. It is going to make no difference unless they tackle the real problem which is keeping weapons away from criminals and mentally unstable people.

    January 25, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC
    So ur logic is to make us more vulnerable by taking all the guns away right?
    People who don't know your history are destined to repeat it. Thank you so much for telling me what I need and how I can get it. Just follow the criminals right? If they can get it well so can all of us. We are all criminals right?
    Don't bother thinking for yourselves. Cuomo & Bloomberg's got it all figured out for u!

    January 25, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Citizen X

    Boy! Seems that the point man for the adminstration's gun control initiative is very ignorant when it comes to guns.

    January 25, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. FishingGuy72

    Pro gun advocates make for the best reading materials. I often get a good chuckle out of the reasonings you spew out on why you "need" handgun/assault guns at home, in schools, shopping malls, theatrers etc. to protect yourselves. The earthquake one is new though, and right up there as the best of them all. "I've just lost everything, but if you step foot on my rubble pile I'm gonna dig through it to find my peacemaker and run you off, cause this is my rubble Buster, and I know how to use the business end of this thing!" Talk about theater of the absurd.

    January 25, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. just thinking

    I think that when we say massacre we describe 12 dead in Aurora we are not putting it in to view the larger picture. I think that we can't forget that 58 other people were shot during the horror. Wow, 70 people were shot in what 4 minutes maybe. I don't know about you but lets say that those 12 people didn't die – would 70 people being shot in less than a TV commercial time span – isn't that what we need help changing.

    I would suggest that those that would request we take these types of guns off the shelf can show this as the argument.

    January 25, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. bankrupt1

    grandpa told us that too.

    January 25, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20