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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

[twitter-follow screen_name='KilloughCNN']

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. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Sorry, Ghost... no one says "nutcases" should be permitted... and as far as ex-cons, they've given up their right to own by virture of their behavior... consequences, you know.
    So what is to deter or prevent terrorists, nutcases, and ex-cons from obtaining weapons? Right now, nothing. What does the NRA propose that we do about it? Once again, nothing. We could have another VA Tech, or another joker in a movie theater at any time. And, the NRA doesn't want to do anything except encourage people to buy more weapons.

    January 25, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. John

    So with a magazine that holds 30 rounds, the gunman had to change magazines.4 or 5 times. But if it only held 10 rounds he would have to change 25 or 30 times. Good math Joe. How about 12 or 15 times Joe.

    January 25, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. California Gary

    I don't know why you are laughing out loud at the thought of the military having shotguns there JM.........I stood a guard post with a shotgun when I served. Very intimidating and effective weapon.......and military issue for certain types of duty.

    January 25, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. janelle

    Mr. Biden is precisely the reason we have the 2nd amendment. We as American Citizens have the right to be armed. This right is guaranteed in the Constitution so that our gov't cannot abuse us, dictate to us or become tyrants over us. If the military has weapons that citizens are banned from owning, then the gov't can do whatever it wants to to us without any fear of the citizens being able to say no. And when the gov't has the iq of Mr. Biden, we're done for if we allow them to disarm us. Our Founding Fathers ensured that gov't would remain the servant of the people and not become the master of the people by the creation and passage of the 2nd amendment.

    January 25, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. AC

    A Shotgun? Seriously? I guess if he's not worried about collateral damage and injuring bystanders... then yeah, a shotgun's the way to go! Why bother with the tedium of aiming for the sake of accuracy when you can mow down whatever is grouped in front of you with a simple point of the barrel and pull of the trigger? Biden needs to get his head removed from his sphincter. Let's be clear, I am NOT in favor of firearms regulation at all! I don't want anyone telling me I have to restrict my ability to defend myself. If it takes more stringent background checks and a stronger focus on mental health (such as a psych. evaluation or personality inventories) for someone to possess an assault weapon and extended capacity clips, so be it. I'll take the MMPI if I want one... all Law Enforcement have to do that anyway, so why not the rest us? Yeah, it'll be a nuisance for everyone that wants to purchase an assault weapon but it's an assurance that personal and public safety is a priority... hell, it might even allow someone access to mental heath treatment when they might not have received it otherwise.

    January 25, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Dan

    I have a suggestion regarding licences issued to gun owners. As this is sure to be a long fight, I think if a focus on mental health is a action item. Let's include a MMPI testing or a form of the same, be administered to those requesting a gun lic. This does not infringe on rights.To drive a motor vehicle a test is issued, when working at a secure power plant a test is issued to test the mental state of a potential employees. After all checking a persons mental state only applies to people who have a record on file. It does not address people who are so called normal. This is worth looking into.

    January 25, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. BuckShotBob

    Shotgun's all ya ever need...(ourside a war zone)
    And very versitle at that, Slug,Buckshot, Birdshot, BB,RockSalt, Rubberball...
    Big Bear to small Gamebird.

    Only a fool buys a cheap piece a pipe mounted in preformed bottom a the barrel black plastic for$1500++ (that costs less than $60 to manufacture)
    A Fool and their money soon parts...

    January 25, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Jerry Dunn

    He's onto something. Just imagine if the Newton kid had a semi-automatic sawed off shoutgun with an ammo clip of 30 shells. Now that would do some serious damage.

    January 25, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Many say the 2nd give individuals the right to take up arms against our government when it becomes "oppressive". Following that logic you must consider Lee Harvey Oswald, Tim McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and MAJ Nidal Hasan patriots acting within their 2nd Amendment rights. They decided our government was "oppressive", took up "arms" and successfully killed government representatives. Let's be clear... You feel our Founders gave you, personally, permission to decide when to kill American Soldiers and police officers? If so, why did we convict those "patriots" listed above? They simply "decided America was oppressive" and exercised their right to bear arms. Please explain.

    January 25, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. wade moran

    A double-barreled shotgun? That you have to open and re-load after two shots? That makes a lot of sense, Joe

    January 25, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. shmoop

    A Shotgun penetrates too far for home defense – unless you know where everyone in your house is, shooting a shotgun can result in very negligent deaths and wounds.

    a 5.56 doesn't have the penetrative mass to push through wood/drywall, etc – thus making it safer.

    January 25, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. BG

    None of our rights are absolute, with out reasonable limitations (1st ammendment gives us the freedom of speech, but we can't shout fire in a crowded movie theater or defame somebody's good name). The SCOTUS has already said the 2nd ammendment has reasonable limits as well. Laws banning certain types of magazine sizes does not infringe on the 2nd ammendment. The 2nd refers to firearms not magazines

    January 25, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. AlienShark

    So, I want to hear answers from both sides of the debate. What is the purpose of the second amendment?

    January 25, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. wade moran

    Why is CNN the only news outlet yet to report that a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit called President Obama's move to bypass Senate to fill job posts on labor panel unconstitutional?

    January 25, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Larry L


    A Shotgun? Seriously? I guess if he's not worried about collateral damage and injuring bystanders... then yeah, a shotgun's the way to go!
    ================================================================================================= You overestimate the pattern width of a shotgun and underestimate the ability of high velocity rounds to penetrate walls and "bad guys" to strike the innocent – particularly with full-jacketed bullets. His comment is supported by many knowledgeable self-defense experts and offers a practical defense solution for many people. Most opposing views posted are based on dislike of the messenger rather than the logic of the message. Most citizens could handle a shotgun more efficiently than a military-style weapon and the prolonged firefights fantasized by fanatics are highly unlikely in a defensive scenario.

    January 25, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Steve

    Oh, Good Lord, now we'll have some 'idiot' taking the VP's 'advice' & going 'bananas' with shotguns – what next??

    January 25, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Reggie from LA

    @Jannell. I trust that you voted tyrants into office. See, Democrats work/ed to put things in place for ALL citizens, not just the privileged. If it's not Obama and Biden who are tyrannical (and they are not) then who could it be, huh? Hmmm. Did the 2nd Amendment GUARANTEE anyone the RIGHT to own assault weapons? This big lie about taking guns is a NRA/Nutcase proposition. It needs to stop. Someone please point out where the Constitution identifies what types of arms citizens can bear. That should be a point of LAW, not privilege. They're not saying we can't have them, just not the kind that we can't stare at ourselves in the mirror and be orgasmic over how we look killing other people or handing them out like candy for any fool to readily take life and death into our hands.

    January 25, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Pam from Iowa

    Hey @wade moran:
    you are on the wrong page!
    You do know that Presidents have been doing that for decades dont' you??
    If not, then maybe try to learn a thing or two before shooting off your mouth!!!
    Please never buy an assault rifle – you have terrible aim!!!!!

    January 25, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Tom

    This fool is the last person that should be giving advice on guns.

    January 25, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. v_mag

    janelle said: " If the military has weapons that citizens are banned from owning, then the gov't can do whatever it wants to to us without any fear of the citizens being able to say no. "
    So, you advocate that every citizen should be able to own a nuclear weapon? An F-16, tank, battleship, machine gun, not to mention biological and chemical weapons? Those are all weapons our military can have and potentially turn against the population. Are you asleep, stupid, or just parroting what you hear on Faux News?

    If the government wants to move against us, they can do it as long as they can get American soldiers to fire on Americans. How likely is that? You know, it's been tried before, and it didn't work. And I'll bet you'd say you support the military if you were asked. Why fear them?

    You're in a total dream state if you really believe that you can fend off a tank with a Bushmaster, or that you will ever have to face such a thing in real life. In reality, guns are used against their owners many more times than they are ever used against intruders, much less the government.

    January 25, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Brendan

    No, he didn't just say shotgun. He said DOUBLE BARREL shotgun. He thinks that Elmer FUDD is the premier expert on self-defense. No one uses a double barrel shotgun for self-defense in a crisis scenario and lives to tell about it. So absurd, it is beyond comprehension how silly such a statement it.

    January 25, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. jboHDrider

    So Biden thinks that violating the constitution is a joke and that our rights are his to decide. I have never liked this jag off but this takes the cake. All of these "Gun Free Zones" are already unconsittutional and in direct violation of our right to sef defense, that's why these wack jobs pick them in the first place. He can keep joking all he wants, this is the straw what broke the camels back,. I will be joining the NRA today.

    January 25, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. guest

    ok. I don't own gun nor intend to buy one. My question is if guns are taken away from the general pubic, and the criminals can get hold of any kind of weapons, what good is that?

    January 25, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Fai is Fair

    Rudy says:

    "So what is to deter or prevent terrorists, nutcases, and ex-cons from obtaining weapons? Right now, nothing."
    Correct. And what will a gun ban do to deter or prevent that audience from obtaining weapons? Again, NOTHING.

    January 25, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Brian

    Can he be suspended? What happened to cop catching thief or Indian and cowboy games we used to play? Adults now see what kids do through their own eyes instead of the innocence of kids eyes.Kids holding fingers the way he did are being suspended. How ridiculous is that?

    January 25, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20