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. Amtraktrekker

    I am sick and tired of the NRA

    January 24, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Mxprivateer

    Let's see...my Remington 870 holds 6, 12-gage shells. Multiply 6 times 9 (the number of balls in one round of 00 buckshot) and that equals...54, .33 caliber projectiles fired in less time that it takes to fire 30 rounds from an AR.

    January 24, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. tkinil

    Clearly Biden doesn't know what his mouth is saying......again

    January 24, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Stephen in VA

    Geez, the gun rights folks make up better fantasy scenarios than I do, and I write fantasy. "Well, what if.... You'd want your AR-15 then, wouldn't you?"

    Fact is, the VP is right. For close-in defense, a shotgun is way preferable to a .223 caliber rifle. Nothing says "stop right there" better than a wad of buckshot. And if it's not close-in, give me a .30-06 or a 30-30 any day over the little bullets. And as someone else already pointed out, if the government really is coming to get you, they'll bring tanks and helicopters, and it won't matter one bit whether your largest magazine is 10 rounds or 30.

    January 24, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. mike

    [quote]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. [/quote]

    thats why the russians airdropped AK-47's in to countries that they wanted to start an uprising in

    January 24, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Daniel in Denver

    "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.

    Possibly true. More likely true is that if either the Connecticut elementary school Principal or the Counselor, whose best efforts were to 'lunge at the gunman' (at the cost of their lives) had been trained and armed, perhaps all 20 of those children could have been saved. Lunging vs. firearms? Bet on the shooter every time. My dad taught me that, almost always, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    The current debated legislation to ban certain weapons or accessories could possibly have a positive effect and help keep our school children safe, but it will likely be the next generation of children – or maybe their children. No one disputes that it will take years for this to have any effect, if ever. For THIS generation of school children, which includes my grandchildren, let's please allow school teachers and administrators who CHOOSE TO DO SO, to arm themselves both with training, experience and weapons.

    January 24, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Daniel in Denver

    "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.

    Possibly true. More likely true is that if either the Connecticut elementary school Principal or the Counselor, whose best efforts were to 'lunge at the gunman' (at the cost of their lives) had been trained and armed, perhaps all 20 of those children could have been saved. Lunging vs. firearms? Bet on the shooter every time. My dad taught me that, almost always, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    The current debated legislation to ban certain weapons or accessories could possibly have a positive effect and help keep our school children safe, but it will likely be the next generation of children – or maybe their children. No one disputes that it will take years for this to have any effect, if ever. For THIS generation of school children, which includes my grandchildren, let's please allow school teachers and administrators who CHOOSE TO DO SO, to arm themselves both with training, experience and weapons.

    January 24, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. Wes

    And this guy is vice president?

    January 24, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    >>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..

    I support the right to keep and bear arms. But the person who exercises their other freedoms–like speech, assembly, the vote–who gets involved in issues, who works peaceably and civilly toward their values–that person is more of a citizen than the one who polishes their gun and says "someday, when everything falls apart, I will defend liberty with this."

    January 24, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Mike

    A sawed off shotgun is illegal because it is designed or modified specifically to create a large swath of carnage. An AR-15 is not illegal because ... why? To be consistent with the sawed off shotgun ban, we have to outlaw any semi-automatic weapon designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time possible

    January 24, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. Naeriksgurl

    The accuracy and effective range on a shotgun depends greatly on your barrel length and the type of ammo you are using. Saying a shotgun is more accurate than a rifle is complete nonsense, and the main benefits of a novice using a shotgun—the spread—also has drawbacks. Those drawbacks increase with range and type of ammo.

    January 24, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Biff

    Mr. Biden, I appreciate your comments and opinion. But I unabashedly assert that in my opinion, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. For a man who has lived a life of wealth and comfort, for a man who lives with 24 hour-a-day armed protection, and has done so for many years; to stand up and tell me (or anyone else) to defend myself in a certain manner when faced with a situation that you have never faced, is asinine.

    January 24, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. toydrum

    A shotgun worked pretty well for Dick Cheney, but not so well for his buddy.

    January 24, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Harry

    "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. – translation, the gun grab won't end with a semi-automatic ban and magazine limitations. Eventually it'll be manual bolt action rifles and revolvers...the one kid argument to its fullest.

    January 24, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. joe

    its kind of funny that liberals speak of banning assault weapons lets ask eric holder about the 3000 assault rifles he gave to the drug cartels well obama and biden sat on the sidelines maybe grounds of impeachment eigh we impeached nixon for far less its weird we praise an administration for taking our guns away but only to give them to the mexican terroists ill never own a gun but atleast i like knowing that i can unfortanantly all thees obama zombies keep praising him like some false idol well we keep loosing our freedoms and this administration keeps loading the terriosts up with weapons and our cash great philosphy eric holder obam keep it up love how all your cabinet is out of control just to add the fact you baught air time in bengazi so you and hiller could air an apoligy some of us havent forgotton about that

    January 24, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. johnjo101

    I am saddened by people "who say assault weapons would be useful as a last line of defense should a natural disaster result in chaos". I would be much happier to hear about people who talk about helping their neighbors instead of a need to shoot them.

    January 24, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. Larry L

    @So....

    I'll be safe with my shotgun when the gang of criminal looters with the automatics show up then, eh Biden?
    ==================================================================================================
    What percentage of Americans would do better with an AR against "a gang of criminal looters" than they'd be with a semi-auto or pump shotgun loaded with #4 buckshot? The fantasy fire-fight the "Soldier wanna-be crowd" is envisioning is quite unlikely. Looters have always looked for the soft-underbelly and turned away at the first sign of armed resistance. When you don't have the law on your side you tend to avoid frontal assaults with high casualty probabilities. Vice President Biden's advice would have received with reasonable responses if it had come from some Ted "Crappy-pants" Nugent type.

    January 24, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. Larry L

    @w lance

    All the gun control in the world will not stop the evil in this world. But a weapon in the hands of an honest man will slow evil down. Criminals do not obey laws.
    =================================================================================================== You are correct. Still, reducing the probability of criminals obtaining weapons of high capacity and capability will reduce SOME of the evil in this world. Nobody is coming for our guns but the majority of Americans understand the need to make it more difficult for potential criminals to obtain weapons with the ability to produce high casualty rates in terror scenarios. The N.R.A. quest of instilling irrational fear in our population removes any hope of trusted gun owners being at the table when laws are crafted. Nobody talks to illogical radicals – especially those with a financial interest in the decision like a gun lobby.

    January 24, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. Pat in IL

    Who on earth is crazy enough to think that assault rifles would be a good idea for crowd control in America. Good grief, that's one I had not heard yet.

    January 24, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Larry L

    @Paul

    "But answer me this...if a shotgun is such a great weapon to use in a EOTW setting, why aren't you talking about banning them? How is it that an "assault rifle" is so lethal in one setting but so hard to wield in another?"
    ================================================================================================
    You of course know the answer to your question. There are a very few shotguns with high-capacity magazines. Most are loaded one round at a time and few have greater than a ten-round capacity. Only those marketed as self-defense weapons are magazine-fed and most (not all) simply use a single tube-fed mechanism – a few freaks use drums or twin tubes. Since the average self-defense scenario would not be a prolonged firefight, one of the medium capacity self-defense shotguns would certainly provide adequate protection. A person seeking a terror weapon needs removable magazines and AKs, ARs, FNs, and others are better suited. It's also quite rare to modify a shotgun for fully-auto fire – not so rare with weapons designed for military use.

    January 24, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. What a Conundrum!!

    It amazes me how quick some are to tell others what is best for their defense – in this case, the shotgun. It is especially comical when it comes from the anti-gun crowd. Don't tell ME what is best for ME. A shotgun is THE best way to go for defense? Really? That's BS. Does it have its place? Yes. Is it for everyone? NO. Every firearm has its advantages and disadvantages. There's always a trade off. Make sure you know what they are and what you are willing to compromise on. There is NO one solution for everyone, or every situation, or every household. Make up your own mind and use what is right for YOU, not what someone else tells you is right for you.

    And be careful....when someone decides to start referring to all shotguns as 'riot guns'...that will be the next thing on the chopping block because someone gives it a scary name.

    January 24, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. slug gunner

    Shotguns are now the most devastating weapons on the street. Ballistic slugs are shotgun shells loaded with over an ounce of lead and steel. at velocities of over 1500 feet per second you cannot survive. body armor is irrelevant. rate of fire is irrelevant. ONE hit from a shotgun slug and you are done. 600 grain is one hell of bullet. a 40 caliber round might be 240 grain and 1200 fps. Some shotguns now have rifling down the barrel adding accuracy to the slugs. Some slugs are armor piercing, and can pass through block and brick walls no problem. Ok, Let's all get shotguns...
    Oh, let's not forget the "dragon's breath" rounds loaded with Magnesium. 30 yards of fire and destruction, like a dragon's breath...

    January 24, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Rick

    Joe,
    The earthquake you feel is the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.

    January 24, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. marty

    All of this 'good gun' talk comes as a result of twenty small people who have been assassinated, some beyond recognition. Twenty little ones plus six adults who tried to help them, all shot to death by a trained sportsman. Now we have to listen to more 'sportsmen' arguing about their 'rights' to own their precious toys.

    January 24, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. John

    Biden is the sacriast man on earth, he is only 1 heartbeat away from being our president, could you imagine this foot in the mouth laughing jerk taking control of the country ?

    January 24, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20