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. f4xtrafn

    I don't quite get how shooting unarmed animals is "sport". I'm sure the guy slaughtering all those unarmed kids also considered himself a "sportsman". I suppose trapping mice is a sport to him as well and so is gardening. In fact, sport is physical activity such as running or playing a sport like hockey or golf. What Biden calls sport is nothing more than gratuitous killing of animals to satisfy a primitive bloodlust.

    January 24, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. professor

    @ w lance
    >1 round of 00 buckshot has 9 pellets that are larger than the lead bullet of the AR.
    You must have a 2 3/4 " chamber. My 3 1/2 " throws 18 00 pellets

    January 24, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. DW

    I love how he owns one shotgun and is somehow a sportsman that knows best for every sportsman out there. It reminds me of Feinstein with her 20 years of gun experience that doesn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine.

    I am a sportsman and compete in national matches and we DON'T use shotguns at all, we use M1 Garands, AR 15's and pistols. Oh and we use high capacity magazines of 20 rounds. I guess Joe has never heard of our kind of sportsman.

    I also guess Joe doesn't do much wild hog hunting where a hog can attack and kill in seconds, the last thing I want against a group of upset wild hogs is a shotgun with 2 shots!

    January 24, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. Ryan

    So, in the hands of someone who isn't trained on it, a shotgun is deadlier and easier to use than an AR? ...So why are they trying to ban ARs?

    January 24, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Justdroppedby

    "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."

    Shooting your mouth off does not mke you a sportsman!

    January 24, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. Slinger

    "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. "

    Well, since I am a Iraq war vet, I am going to keep my AR-15 for "just in case" situations since I am very intimately familiar with the AR-15 style Rifles. Or am I only allowed to have one when I am on the government's payroll? Obviously there is nothing to be concerned about the federal governments mindset in that case right?

    January 24, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. Royal

    Hey Joe,

    Glad you are a sportsman and all, but the 2nd Amendment isn't about sports. It doesn't say the right to keep and bear footballs shall not be infringed.

    January 24, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. sage

    I love how gun nut idiots are quick to cirticize Biden for his choice of weapon, YET the shotgun is actually the most useful weapon in an emergency. Simple, yet reliable. Yet these gun nut idiots can't see past their own blinders. Why make life more complicated for yourself? You remember that single mom who had to shoot two intruders trying to invade her home? She used a S-H-O-T-G-U-N. Have we forgotten? Assault rifles are NOTORIOUS for failing at the worst possible moment. A weapon that has higher capacity but a high failure rate is more dangerous for the user than a weapon that has proven reliability but lower capacity but higher spread range and power. Why people keep insisting that banning assault weapons is akin to violating the 2nd amendment is beyond me. If you think it violates the 2nd amendment, why did the SCOTUS not do anything about it back when there was a ban? Because it DID NOT VIOLATE IT!

    January 24, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. Mike

    Sure Joe! I'll only use my side by side shotgun for defense and melt my scary looking assault rifles if your Secret Service is armed with only side by side shotguns too!

    January 24, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  10. bribarian

    The tyrants are here, they simply want the power and upperhand of the military. Police state is coming.

    January 24, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. Roger

    What does "sporting use" have to do with anything? This is just another attempt to justify disarming the public. Why does this administration fear the armed populace

    January 24, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. AngryGregR

    On a lighter note, Joe once again shows what a clown he is, as he cannot even perform basic arithmatic. He said the shooter had 30 round clips and had to reload three or four times. That equals 120-150 shots fired. Then Joe aays if he had 10 round clips, he would've had to reload 25-30 times. That would mean the shooter would've gotten off 250-300 rounds. I just find it telling in regards to the exageration the left is making in their arguments, as even in this instance a first grader would be able to figure out that the shooter would only had to reload 12-15 times to get off the same number of rounds. It's also telling he says their is no sporting use. Again, I don't recall the second ammendment mentioning the right to bear arms for sporting use only. Then he virtually admits that this soluction would only have saved on person. While that is great for that one person and their family, it doesn't necessarily address the issue of mass shootings and the high number of casualties in these shootings. I wish people would start listening to what these guys are actually saying and the facts instead of blindly throwing support to their favorite politicians because they're on the same side of the aisle.

    January 24, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. AngryGregR

    Excuse me, I apparantly cannot perform basic arithmatic as well. changing the clip 3-4 times would equal 90-120 shots, meaning a ten round clip would only need to be changed 9-12 times, not 25-30 as Joe stated.

    January 24, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. Jimmyjam048

    Sounds like most of the folks here that disagree with Joe have intentions of doing some serious damage.
    Crowds of arms thugs at your door? The "End of the world"? (EOTW) what about EOTWAWKI? Or better yet WSHTF?
    How about a zombie apocalypse?(my favorite and most likely scenario).
    The fact is, crazy, paranoid people will NEVER have enough guns, ever. The gun and ammo companies know this. This is why gun lobbyists get paid so well.....and delude so many fools through fear.

    January 24, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  15. b4bigbang

    What they could've done is design all guns, handguns, rifles, shotguns to hold a maximum of 6 shots. Magazine-fed weapons would have a non-removable magazine, meaning that a shooter would have to reload one round at a time.

    Of course this wouldn't stop law-breakers, no more than the law against shotguns having barrels less than 18" can stop someone from sawing it down.

    So there's that.

    January 25, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. Redeye Dog

    Sportsmen think 50 round magazines are really great on the shooting range.It keeps your rounds in one place and you have less distraction. 10 round magazines just increases the amount of stuff you have to carry around. Joe Biden never ceases to display how little he knows about being a sportsman.

    January 25, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  17. TomNPitt

    Man – if the government goes rogue and my choice is to back the government and the Marines; or stand behind you and your 30 round magazine in your AR15 – I'm with the Marines!! Sorry there Minute Man!!

    January 25, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  18. Jerry

    I'm a republican, I own firearms, and I agree with Biden. Who needs more than a 5 or 10 round clip. If you can't his your hunting target with 5 rounds, then you shouldn't be hunting. If you bought your gun to harm others, then the size of your clip should be limited. Limiting the size of the magazine doesn't take away your right to bear arms. This whole arguement is BS–in reality we are looking at idiots who get ahold of these weapons and kill innocent people. I would rather be able to keep my weapon and use a smaller clip. There should be a common sense factor here. All a bunch of BS. The NRA can screw themselves as far as I'm concerned.

    January 25, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. Mike

    Biden is a moron. If the shooter had to reload 4-5 times with a thirty round mag, he would have to reload 12-15 times with a ten round mag. You need to repeat the second grade, Mr. Biden.

    January 25, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  20. mitko

    So, if the "assault weapons" (whatever that means) are so difficult to shot, why bother banning them? I'd think they should be promoted over the more dangerous double-barreled shotguns, right?

    January 25, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  21. Bob

    In an untrained hand, the shotgun may be better than a rifle for home defense. But if you practice, you can use any weapon. But, if as Joe says, the shotgun is better, why not give ALL police, soldiers, and his security detail ONLY shotguns. Just think how safe we would all be. Snipers, no more 1,000 yard shots, wait until they are 100 yards away when using slugs, 40 yards with buckshot. Remember, Joe says the shotgun is better, right?

    January 25, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  22. fuzzy 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."

    So the gunman shot off 30 x "four or five" = 120-150 rounds, but if it would have been limited to 10-rounds, then he would have shot 10 x 25 or 30 = 250-300 rounds?

    January 25, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  23. Teabags falling off cliffs

    Let them have nukes, no fooling around, get rid of the troublemakers quick.
    Shotgun nukes, that is the fix!

    For those who look forward to a future of Mad Max, try Somalia for a summer vacation.
    No permits, no passports, and all the weapons you can bring in.
    Set off a nuke while big game hunting. The locals will think you a god.

    January 25, 2013 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  24. Teabags falling off cliffs

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

    When cheap WMD become available, it will set the country free.

    January 25, 2013 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  25. Nicholas Smith

    Biden's comments define him. Remember that in '16.
    (A contributor wrote, "Politicians who fear an armed public, should.")

    A politician once said, "Congress has never had a tyrant in it."

    January 25, 2013 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
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