Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
January 24th, 2013
03:50 PM ET
2 years 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. Q180

    I love when the gun guys get on here an brag about how much they know about guns. "I own 33 guns and I can change bullets and clips and magazines real fast!"

    No one really cares how "good a shot" you are or "how quick on the draw" you are. You are missing the point. This is about public safety and quite honestly, I feel safer when arrogant braggers who think they are sooooooo cool because they can shoot a gun, DON'T have guns.

    January 25, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  2. SDC

    And the scary thing is, this idiot is only a heartbeat away from the football. BTW, Rick, the AR-15 is much LESS likely to go through walls and hit an unintended target, because the bullets are typically one-third the weight of typical hunting rifle bullets, so they are more easily stopped by intermediate objects.

    January 25, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  3. sonicmojo

    "Ticker: Biden suggests using a shotgun........as a Q-Tip"

    January 25, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  4. jimmycocobop

    This feedback is chock-full of pompous, irritating, self-righteous, know it all gun advocates.

    January 25, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Be sure to check your pile of tactical nuclear missiles for the day when the government comes for you, bad boy, bad boy.

    January 25, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  6. Jimi

    Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?

    January 25, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  7. Dennis

    My gun of choice at close range would be a 12 gauge shotgun. You hit someone with that at close range and the fight is over and less chance of missing.

    January 25, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  8. bobmacadowasthebest

    A street sweeper shotgun would be nice for home protection......

    January 25, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  9. bobmacadowasthebest

    criminals and crazys get their guns from gun owners....that's a fact....someone said if not for criminals and crazys with guns we would not have problems with guns ,I agree......

    January 25, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  10. Whome

    The Morning Call, "Gun-related boycott postpones nation's largest outdoors show".

    January 25, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  11. William J. Polhams

    "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."

    Tell that to the 26 dead kids Mr. Vice President. If a shotgun is more effective, then ban those instead of a long gun. A 500 mossberg can hold 6 in the tube and one chambered. Very destructive peace of equipment.

    "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."

    I am not a sportsman. I am a citizen protecting my family. Do I want 3 rifles with 10 magazine or 1 rifle with a 30 magazine? Not hard to figure out.

    Then Feinstein says the mass killings have not stopped since the original ban, but puts out statistics saying they have to back her bill. These people are really irrational to say the least. I can't even begin to comprehend how people think like this...

    January 25, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  12. sigh... our gov't is ridiculous

    During Hurricane Katrina, police and FEMA were confiscating weapons. Guess a Shotgun won't really matter in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

    January 25, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. Steve- Illinois

    @Kommon Sense, you may want to check out a little country called Afghanistan. In the last 30 years these goat herders, and camel jockeys have a record of 2-0 against the top 2, "largest, best trained and best equipped military's on the face of the planet". How can that be? Please explain.

    January 25, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  14. D. Burke

    A modern sporting rifle, i.e. AR was not used by the shooter at Sandy Hook. He used 4 pistols. His AR was found in his car by the police. GET IT RIGHT, and stop spreading mis-information about the evil looking, light wieght, economical, and accurate modern sporting rifle.

    January 25, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  15. Salvatore

    If the USA was filled with just right wing crazies. They would have annihilated themselves long ago

    January 25, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  16. Leeford

    My shotgun holds 4 rounds plus one in the chamber. That is fine to deal with one, maybe two, intruders. As long as crimminals dont group up, I guess that is enough. No more gang home invasions k? I think in a civil disruption you would want somethign with higher capacity.

    January 25, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  17. abnguy

    It is all about freedom. The current gun laws are already too restrictive. Let the erosion of our personal freedoms in this country stop. I understand the emotional response, anyone with a heart has empathy, but I will have to follow my brain on this topic.

    January 25, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  18. D. Burke

    The first firearms used had smooth bore barrels which classifies them as multi-purpose shotguns. The ammunition choices are numerous. One of the most effective was "buck and ball," three buckshot and one round ball. This choice is being marketed today as a self-defense round by ammunition makers. Quite effective.

    January 25, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  19. abnguy

    I noticed in the worlds largest democracy they are starting to arm women with knives to protect them from gang rapes, while in this country we are starting to disarm our women. It is very ironic and sad (for us) that up and coming democractic countries are now taking the lead in freedom.

    January 25, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  20. Dan

    "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."

    Simple math just escapes these idiots. Sorry, but with a 10 round magazine you would only need to reload 12-15 times to have the exact same amount of rounds fired.. simple math. May still sound like a lot, but it doesn't take any time at all to reload... especially if you have an ounce of experience with the weapon.

    January 25, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  21. Really

    So according the Joe, the Ar-15 should be less dangerous since it is so much harder for people to use than a shotgun...then why are you trying to ban a weapon that you feel people are not as effective with! They are not trying to make is safer folks...they are trying to make us less defendable from them!

    January 25, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. Thomas

    He actually is correct. A home defender shotgun, which is designed for the job is easier to use for most people, more forgiving with your aim,has good short range knockdown power and is less likely to go through a wall to kill an innocent person in an adjoining room.

    January 25, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  23. PenCO

    If you watch the video, Mr. Biden says that the police are less safe because they are out gunned. The police show up after the crime has been committed and there are victims. I don't think anyone disputes that we have the right to defend ourselves. Why would Mr. Biden want us (potential victims) to be outgunned, when defending ourselves, by limiting our magazines?

    January 25, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  24. Pravda

    Biden is such an idiot. Most woman would not be able to handle a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun due to the recoil. An AR doesn't kick at all. When the police and military give up their assault weapons and go to 7 round clips then I think civilians could too.

    January 25, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  25. Chuckeroo

    OK Joe lets limit your Secret Service protection to shotguns and see how you feel out there with the bad guys with illegal assult weapons. or limit the Secret Service to 10 round magazines. Why should you have better protection than the citizens that are paying for it?

    January 25, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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