Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
January 24th, 2013
03:50 PM ET
10 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.

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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. gahh

    I own a 357 Magnum, and it may not hold but 6 shots, but it'll do to stop anybody dumb enough to come around. I ain't worried. What's bad is to have a weapon, and then be to afraid to use it. Something the bad guys count on.

    January 25, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. Borderless

    They can never ban enough guns for my taste.

    January 25, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. William

    What I hate is that the politicians and media are focusing on convincing the people that the purpose of the 2nd amendment is for sporting purposes, or at most, for protecting from home invaders.... Protection from a tyrannical government is just a myth, regardless of history telling us otherwise... Just drink the Kool-Aid and all will be well.

    January 25, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. dp777

    A double barrel shotgun? Only two shots when the criminal or evil doer has an Illegal 30 round magazine and he wants all of your food and water and wants to rape your wife? Good call Joe!! No thanks, I'll go with at least a Rem 870 with a side-saddle and a Hi-cap Glock. I'm so ashamed of our country that we have someone like you for VP. None the less, I pray for you, because God's word tells me to pray for those who rule over us. Sometimes though, it's very hard to do.

    January 25, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Steve

    The second amendment is about a "Citizen Army" and its necessity in the defense of country. Ultimately, the only reason you defend your country is that it protects you, your family, and your way of life. The Supreme Court has already recognized that it is in fact an individual right. It is not about shooting deer, rabbits, or anything other than people who would deny you life, liberty, etc. The historical record shows that the wirters saw that this was also a right to protect one from a government who would attempt the same. The standard for bearing arms is that the citizen has a right to the military arms of the time, since to have less would make defense from same impossible. Since self defense is an almost universally recognized right, and the only way for that to be effective is to have defense on par with threat, to deny a citizen the right to bear these same arms is to take away that right. A citizen of the US can, in fact, purchase a fully automatic weapon, though you do have to jump through a number of hoops and pay a bit of money for that right, so mostly the right is biased against the less fortunate. To further add restrictions against magazines and semi-automatic weapons, just erodes the 2nd Amendment to nothingness, while cosmetically leaving it in place. And to describe a weapon as an "Assault Weapon" or "Militarized Weapon" based on cosmetic features like a thumbhole stock, a forward grip, flashguard, or adjustable stock, as if it made the same bullet somehow more dangerous to sensitize by misleading the people is just wrong, and can have no other purpose than to bolster a political career. If the magazine only holds ten rounds the maniac who wants to kill 20 people will just carry two guns, which it appears is exactly what Adam Lanza did in Conneticut, since the rifle was left in the car and four pistols were used inside the school were he knew no one could defend themselves with even 10 rounds... A criminal, by definition, does not obey the law, so why target the fundamental right of self-defense of law abiding citizens. No law abiding US citizen has ever owned, now owns, or will ever own an "Assault Weapon".

    January 25, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. dp777

    And I'm a sportsman? LOL... Really?

    January 25, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. dp777

    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 lets say the gunman had 30 round mags and swaps 5 times, that's 150 rounds. If they were 10 round mags, 150/10 is 15 times not 25 or 30 times.... So sorry if you voted for this pair... Wow

    January 25, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Bill Shakes

    And even if the government did decide to come after you with guns ablazing you wouldn't even last a fraction of the time that Saddam's million man army did. What's your little pop gun going to do against laser guided missles?


    Give you the OPTION to defend yourself.

    January 25, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. dave

    Hiya Joe!
    I'm a sportsman, too.
    Coincidentally, the 2nd amendment does not at any point, mention hunting. The right to bear arms is the peoples' last right to change their form of government, and shall not be limited in any way, spelled out in this document, The Bill of Rights. The fathers WANTED you to have the weaponry that the oppressive government had, they expected you already had it, since everyone had the same, in their day. Again, the second amendment is not referring to deer rifles or shotguns for birds and rabbits- it is referring to MAN-killing weapons for the general populace to use AGAINST a repressive government. No duck-hunting pump guns for the founding fathers, Joe- they want and expect us to have military-equivalent weapons in our homes, without any government knowledge or oversight. THAT IS OUR RIGHT, WITHOUT RESTRICTION, THE LAST RESORT OF A FREE PEOPLE TO GUARANTEE A REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT.

    January 25, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. What a Conundrum!!

    RE: Ricardo Martinez

    ...Oh! by the way I am getting ready to go Quail Hunting, try hitting a Quail with an AK47, I use a 20 Gauge Shotgun, Biden is Right!
    Fine, Ricardo. If I'm attacked by quail, or pheasant, or those darn canadian geese, I'll use the 20 gauge with bird shot. Now, for the sex offenders and druggies in the area (you all have them!), I'll make a better choice.

    January 25, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. 2nd amnd

    Just want to say to everyone thats convinced that the shotgun is the best for home defense. The AR 15s m193 round was designed to fragment upon hitting anything, it actually fragmented so much that it was considered an inhumane way to kill people hence the m855. if a miss hits a wall in an average house with m193 for the most part it will not come out the other end. face it people there is a goddamn use for these and to the assholes that say shotguns are suffcient enough go to iraq and say that to all the servicemen over there the 2nd amendment was designed to protect us from governments to get too powerful.

    January 25, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Mike

    "....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....."

    Hrm, its good to know basic math is not a requirement to be Vice President........and we wonder why the country is $16 Trillion in debt.

    January 25, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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