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. No one

    “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that
    possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen
    inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the
    preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say
    that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear
    such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this
    weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its
    use could contribute to the common defense.”

    Justice James
    Clark McReynolds

    U.S. v Miller 1939

    January 25, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Lionel

    We had an assult weapons ban but the incompetent Bush adminstration let it expired in 2004. Just imagine if we had kept that ban and the tax rates under the Clinton administration, our country would be much better shape. We could have used that surplus to pay off our dept. These problems are all because of Dubya Bush. I hope we never hear from that man again

    January 25, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. jrl1234

    This shows his ignorance on the subject and is that the results from the experts or is that his uneducated opinion. They should do scientific testing on the best weapons for personal defense.

    January 25, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Trev

    Why doesn't he talk about how the rifle was found in the trunk of Lanza's car and the fact that he wasn't using it.

    January 25, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. tykl

    this is my first post since the election. i am so utterly disgusted. i would point out what a baffoon this guy is, but the fact is that 51% voted him in and do not see reason. they can keep eating out of o/b hands with drool coming out of both sides of their mouths. and i love the 'mandate' talk. what was the midterm election wave of the tea party called when it was the biggest tide reversal in 4 decades and king o called it a 'shellacking'?

    January 25, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. dont be a sucker

    everything this man said is about as ASININE as he has ever been

    it would take waaaay to much inter-ink to show the absolute STEWPIDITY of this man's comments

    January 25, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. wealthcoaches

    WHO ever said that we need assault weapons for sport? Make no mistake – we need assault weapons to combat an errant government who has assault weapons. PERIOD. That's the reason for the 2nd amendment, and unless you are going to pass a new constitutional amendment reversing or revising the 2nd amendment, then anything else you do would be in VIOLATION of the 2nd amendment, which states that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Also... kind of a silly comment there about shotguns vs assault weapons huh? "It's easier to hit something with a shotgun than with an assault rifle?!?" Then why in the HECK are we banning assault weapons. Shouldn't we be banning shotguns?

    January 25, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Rustydog42

    The facts are that shotguns and .22 caliber guns are more lethal than any other weapon regardless of caliber.
    Yet, at least 80% of all gun related deaths, including homicide and suicide are not from rifles, but handguns.
    Handguns. That's where more regulation needs to be. Many of these guns are stolen, or worse, bought from unscrupulous people that bought them legally, then turn-around and sell them to criminals for profit.
    Biden is right about one thing; one shot from a .223 can cause death, but with one shot at close range from a shotgun, death is near certain.

    January 25, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Animal

    So if you look at the 1994 'assault weapons' ban, the description CAN include the following;
    Black Powder muzzle and breach loading long guns and pistols
    Shot guns, semi-auto, pump and breach loading
    Any and all bolt action firearms
    Any and all semi-automatic firearms
    Any and all semi-automatic pistols
    Any and all revolver pistols

    All of the above descriptions were types of firearms that have been issued to the military.
    The ban does not differentiate as to which or whose 'military' style is being referred to.

    Is there a reason why the government wants to disarm the entire country?

    January 25, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Sandman

    Great so a blast of a shot gun will fan out and hit unintended targets. Also 2 shots from a double barreled shot gun and you have to reload. Not good in a self defense situation.

    January 25, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. triker44

    Uncle Joe failed to get it right again! The Sandy Hook Shooter, Adam Lanza, did NOT have 30 round clips inside the school! He had 4 hand guns! On average hand guns carry from 7-15 rounds of ammunition.
    Assuming the 15 number is correct that would be 60 rounds available to use. One gun in each hand = 30 rounds without changing magazines or guns. Where is Uncle Joe getting his 30 round magazine info?

    January 25, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Vitaly

    Uh oh. Seems someone needs to label this guy as a terrorist (Ref the bubble gun story) or he needs to be suspended (Ref the bubble gun story.) Shouldn't he be counseled that it is no longer acceptable to even use you hands in mimicking a gun.. How about mixed messages to children?
    Mommy, didn't you tell me it was wrong to use my finger as a pretend weapon?

    January 25, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Not Joe

    If you try to stop an intruder with a shot gun you better hope the other guy isn't armed or your dead.

    January 25, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. marty

    Would any of the anti gun politicians agree to order their personal security staff to lay down their weapons and replace them with double barreled shotguns? Why is the safety of the taxpayer not as important as the safety of the politician.

    January 25, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. jason

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined,but they should have sufficent arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them,which would include their own government." George Washington
    So it seems to me that LAW ABIDING CITIZENS should have access to the same conventional weapons as the military otherwise the deck is being stacked against us.

    January 25, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. James

    Unbelievable...These words and actions are really coming from our "second in command?"
    I can't imagine what this world will be like when my four and six year old children grow up. Very scary.

    January 25, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. advocatusdiaboli

    I am no limiting my defense in a natural disaster to a weapon with a 25-yard effective range and 3 shots. I'll keep my pistols and AR.

    January 25, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. JALee

    "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.

    Biden may be much less concerned about it now, but he and his side of the argument are the ones that decided to call semi-automatic rifles "assault weapons" in the first place. They are not assault weapons; no assault team uses semi-autos. His side of the discussion decided to label these weapons with that term in order to make them sound more ominous and to get those who don't understand the difference to ask "why would anyone NEED an assault weapon." This is much like the efforts on the other side with the term "partial birth abortion." Their argument is "there is no medical need for such a procedure." The arguments are similar, and the goal is the same: ban what you don't like one slice at a time. I presume that Mr. Biden and the rest of the federal behemoth will be giving up their armed guards, right? After all, they're using real assault weapons – that is, fully automatic submachine guns. There just is no need for them to have those. If I don't need protection from the bad guys of the world, then neither does he. And after all, a determination of NEED is the basis for everything now, right? As in "Hey Joe, you don't NEED to live in a Naval Observatory at the taxpayers' expense, do you?"

    January 25, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. TDJ

    Quote: "The vice president, known for his colorful, off-the-cuff remarks..."

    You meant: "The vice president, who suffers from foot-in-the-mouth disease..."

    January 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Mr. N.

    A lightly-constructed bullet traveling at high velocity (3,000+ FPS) is a lot safer in an urban environment than any relatively low velocity shotgun round, except maybe for birdshot, but birdshot is for birds. With the right round, AR-15 gunfire will over-penetrate a lot less and be much safer for others in the house than any shotgun round that could be effectively used for self defense. At very high speeds, small, light 5.56 bullet tend to disintegrate more readily when striking relatively hard objects such as walls, while buckshot or shotgun slugs tend to just go right through. Mr. Biden is clueless.

    January 25, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Professor Abronsius

    Joe Biden. Genius.

    January 25, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Martyr

    He says you get to keep your shotgun BUT THE FEINSTEIN BILL BANS THEM

    Mossberg home security shotguns "BANNED"
    Remington home security shotguns "BANNED"

    Mater of fact any shotgun with a pistol grip is banned, any semi able to hold 5+ rounds banned, as this bill contains so many bans unrelated to "ASSAULT WEAPONS" you might want to read the bill before you pass it.

    So in no way is it a "Assault Ban" it's a full on gun grab.

    January 25, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Ricardo Martinez

    I was out hunting in Sabinal Texas with a couple of friends. We placed a target 50 yards away about 3 feet off the ground. My amigos fired about 60 rounds and never hit the target. I had a short 3030 Marlin, open sight, fired off one round and hit the target dead center. One round, and when I go hunting I only take 4 rounds. Happy hunting, 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!

    January 25, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Sidb1980

    "It's harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun, OK?" Oh, so Mr. VP are you saying that nuts should use shot guns instead as they will likely hit more people? May take longer to reload, but hey, as if anyone shots back. Nut case has plenty of time. Why does the President allow him out of his room?

    January 25, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Rick

    Watch a hickock45 video on YouTube. He can pop a tiny metal target from 100 yards away with a shotgun using rifled slugs.
    The shotgun was so feared in warfare that at one point the powers that be considered eliminating it from the battlefield. Shotguns were standard issue to many soldiers in Vietnam because they were effective at cleaning out dug in enemy inside tunnels.

    Norman Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Iraq War kept a double barrel shotgun by his bed. He felt that Iraq may target his command bunker with suicide attackers and his last line of defense was his 12 gauge.

    January 25, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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