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

    Really? An earthquake? That's the arguement now? That's probably exactly the kind of guy I don't want having a bushmaster.

    January 25, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. Geo

    The Liberals are essentially wasting their breath in debating with the NRA over gun control. These gun fanatics know very well the arguments of background checks, limiting clips, etc. make perfect sense. Even a majority of gun owners probably agree with this position. What it is all about, at bottom. is the desire to pull everyone down, to see everyone living in fear, so everyone, even those living on small town main street, will have to carry a gun, maybe even wear bullet proof vests and live in fear. Kids going to school wondering if they will live to see tomorrow. It gives these Right Wing people a delightful sense of power and control over all of us. To them, no matter what are political viewpoint is, we are all Liberals, the straw man argument meaning, in reality, all civilized people. Since freedom IS freedom from fear, what at bottom all this can be summed up, "We want your freedom."

    January 25, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. rbnlegend

    it's not being a know it all, to point out a few simple real world facts. It's kind of funny that the same people who are upset that the other side isn't convinced by factual information on so many other subjects, refuse to examine factual information on this subject. I read a study a while back that said that people are not convinced by facts, and while I like facts, and am fond of solid logical arguements, I do understand that people base their positions on emotion, and don't actually care about the facts at all.

    January 25, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. Sean

    The mindset of "what good will your guns be against the military, anyway" is a perfect example of blind following. Basically these people are saying "why bother fighting? Just give up. Let a corrupt government/invading force win." That really explains why, no matter how bad or corrupt a politician is, they still have massive support. People seem to like having their lives dictated to them. Takes all the pressure off of them.

    Millions of people come to America because of its freedoms. Freedom is what makes America so great. Why are you so happy with having even the smallest right taken from you? How many "small" rights have to be removed before you start crying? What if next time it's something YOU hold dear on the chopping block? Why does anyone need a full refrigerator when you just need enough food to sustain your family? Let's limit the amount of food someone can buy because half of it is wasted, anyway. Would that bother you? No, it's not the same as limiting what firearms you can own, but that's not the point.

    It sets a precidence. As I said before, it's a slippery slope.

    January 25, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  5. EG

    A recommendation from a Vice President on shotguns...isn't something I would necessarily take as safe.

    January 25, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. M. J. Reinhardt

    Yeah I have guns, Yes I have ammo, Yes I have Magazines and Clips. The problem is that they are more interested in making a political statement over doing anything to prevent these over publicized and less likely to happen crimes. Criminals will modify thier weapons, they will steal thier firearms and they will still use them in crimes. Limiting magazine size or even Assault rifles will not matter to a criminal because they will just disregard the laws anyway.
    Report medical History and potential threats to the police, Revitalize the mental health program in our country to help these troubled and potentially threatening people. Provide stiffer penalties on the criminals, to help deter the crimes.

    January 25, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. NYS Resident

    I cant get enough of Joe Biden. His commentary is great for the Republican Party. A few quick questions...
    1. Double barrel for home security, certainly a pump has scared potential burglars from homes, but a double barrel?
    2. If the double barrel is such a good security firearm, why arent secret service carrying them?
    3. why is there even a discussion about guns during an earthquake?

    January 25, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    Peter Goesinya

    Democrats just want to take from those who have. If not guns, it would be something else.


    I'm a Democrat and I own weapons, and you have nothing that I want to take.

    January 25, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Gun Huggers

    Lots of stupid comments from brainless gun huggers. We are going to take your toys away. The second ammendment is going to be on the rubbish heap of history's mistakes and you can do nothing about it!

    January 25, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Hryan

    Wait, gun control aside; how does someone who swapped 30 round magazines "3 or 4 times" suddenly have to swap a 10 round magazine "25 to 30 times" simple math says that would be 9 to 12 times.

    January 25, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Malory Archer


    If somebodies got your kid you'll have a hard time taking an accurate shot with a shotgun.


    Why would you even think about shooting at someone whose holding your kid?

    January 25, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. logic

    It amazes me how people respond to others' non-debateable comments – one side and then the other I am glad that most of you are not on jury duty.. I propose that common sense may suggest that if a shotgun is good enough to ward off rioters during chaos, then the next crazed person may use a shortened shotgun (pistol grip) with 00 shot. If he doesn't get too close, he could affect the lives of at least a half dozen people and with 5 rounds in a semi-automatic shotgun – can you do the math? So where does this end – outlaw shotguns? Honestly, I don't see that laws or regulating certain type of guns, ammo clips will have any impact on crazed people shooting others – I think Biden even eluded to this that he wasn't saying this would eliminate violence. Crazed people intent on doing such deeds will get a weapon, make a bomb, or whatever they can dream up to act out their emotions regardless of what laws are passed or what changes to the 2nd ammendement are implemented. The real disturbing fact is that this society thinks the government should protect everyone all the time for everything – we have so many laws and limitations on how we act, speak and think – we are truly " loosing the war" because it is family values, community citizenship, etc. that have deterioriated in the last 50 years that have led to this crazed world. Perhaps this whole "gun issue" that Obama has nationalized is just smoke and mirrors to keep the public from thinking about the impending chaos that is about to happen when this country's debt is no longer funded by foreign investors and all of the "fixes" (social programs) the government has implemented over the last 50 years are not available to those dependent upon them. Perhaps the reporter was thinking this but "earthquake" was more eloquent when adressing the VP.

    January 25, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Roice

    You bring a shot gun to a rifle fight and see if you think VP Biden's advice is good then. Notice how they keep saying "sporting, hunting, etc." when the 2nd Amendment doesn't pertain to sporting or hunting. The Founders were quite clear that the 2nd Amendment was the last barricade against tyranny. The question is asked, "What could you do against the US Military with your rifles?" The answer: The same thing a bunch of bare-footed men in Viet Nam did, win! Technology NEVER wins wars. In Viet Nam we ruled the skies with jets. We used missiles, bombs, tanks, satellites, etc. and men with rifles won, not the US Military. Also, as a former marine, if any officer had ever told me to fire on American citizens I'd have fired only one bullet......right between his eyes. Rifles win war, not fancy technology. ......... a shot gun........please. MOLON LAVE!

    January 25, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. vbscript2

    So, apparently, 4 to 5 times 3 equals 25 to 30. Interesting math you have there, Mr. Vice President. Only off by a litlte over a factor of 2.

    January 25, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Johnsky

    Paranoid people... There are criminals everywhere with their guns ready to take you out. Even the criminals who are not really criminals yet, are out there, ready to take you out. Yes...and the government...the government! They could turn on you at any time, so they could be coming to take you out at any moment! Whatever will you do??? They are everywhere!
    Do you people listen to yourselves?

    January 25, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Eric

    The VP just proves how uneducated on guns the anti-gun lawmakers are.

    January 25, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. lollin'

    "NYS Resident
    3. why is there even a discussion about guns during an earthquake?"

    Because someone on your side of the issue brought it up to him like it would even be a thing?
    Is it Biden's fault when he gets asked stupid questions?

    January 25, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. Malory Archer


    Good luck using a shotgun to fight off a tyrannical government.


    Considering the manpower & fire power the government has, it doesn't matter what type of weapons you have – you're gonna lose!

    January 25, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. Fai is Fair

    Hey Biden...

    A little bit of advice... first, I don't own an AR, but don't tell ME what weapon works best fo me to defend myself. Second, a 7 year old child was expelled from school for making the exact same hand gesture you are showing in the photo. Now granted, the 7 year old probably has superior intellect to yours, but still...

    You're welcome... Buffoon.

    January 25, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Name Benny

    Ive yet to see a shotgun accurate past 50-60yrds, with or without a slug. If a group of "bad" people are charging down on you during any chaotic event, anywhere from 50-500yrds an AR-15 is the perfect tool for defense. Shotgun would be better for indoor defense purposes. "Shall not be infringed"

    January 25, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. FloydZepp

    Biden's correct of course. All of these aging GOPers out there playing old white man paintball in camo in the woods have no real clue how to defend their homes.

    January 25, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Jorge

    Well, what if ...

    Martians invaded the earth and they came in their small but powerful UFOs and we were just minding our own business and they came at us with their plasma weapons and ... well, the only way to protect ourselves in such scenario would be with our trusty assault weapons, there ain't no other way!

    In any case, pro-assault-weapon argument certainly seems to deteriorate quickly over time.

    January 25, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Kevin Maguire

    If it isn't a "sporting arm" for hunting then we have no right to it? Does that mean my vegan wife does not have the right to keep and bear arms?

    January 25, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. ljabarr

    Dumb Dumb Biden doesn't have a clue about guns. An AR15 and civilian AK-47 are much easier to control and have way less recoil than a typical 12 gauge shotgun. I'm a big dude and when I first fired my shotgun it left a big bruise on my right shoulder. I had since replaced the stock with another with a heavy recoil spring. My AR15 and civilian AK-47 have never bruised my shoulder.

    January 25, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. Jim in PA

    Biden is right. A pistol-grip pump-action 12-ga. gives you all the defense you need. "But what if I am being attacked by 20 people and I need a larger magazine?" Buddy, if you're being attacked by that many people, then odds are you're the bad guy.

    January 25, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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