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. bankrupt1

    interestingly we lived this long because we cooperate and actually get along. we didn't live this long because we shot each other. that's an upper socioeconomic class lie. to get everyone to think they are on their own. they can sell more stuff that way. and upper sec tends to hire people for everything. we came from farmers. we share and we get along.

    January 25, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    Rudy NYC
    So ur logic is to make us more vulnerable by taking all the guns away right?
    No one is taking your guns away. The government is not coming for you. 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?

    January 25, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. jimmer

    That's the goofiest picture of Biden I've ever seen.

    January 25, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. California Gary

    @GuestCT – being a close knit group is one thing, believing all the "scuttlebutt" that gets tossed around within that group is another thing all together. I've been part of some close knit groups......but when you start believing all the scuttlebutt you hear, you are in trouble. All it takes is one "credible" person within a group to put out a theory on something, and the next thing you know it is passed along by other "credible" people as fact. That's the nature of the human beast.

    January 25, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. edmundburkeson

    Is there any doubt that politicians should not be allowed to make critical decisions that effect your life? – a rhetorical question.

    January 25, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. thinking outside the box

    Kickstart: "Is'nt a baseball bat also an assault weapon? If I assault you with a birthday cake, is the cake not an assault weapon?"


    Yes. And if you want to play loosely with definitions the 2nd Amendment says citizens have the right to bare arms. Arms include, but are not limited to, knives, pistols, rifles, automatic weapons, nun-chucks, intercontinental ballistic missiles, baseball bats, tactical nuclear warheads, tanks, hammers, battle axes, disintegration rays (once invented), cakes as you pointed out, hand grenades, and a host of all sorts of other sarcastic and not-so-sarcastic personal weapons. Do you think everyone should have a right to all of those items? Will you take the care or the nuke?

    January 25, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Michael

    OK, make Vice President Biden's security detail turn in their sub-machine guns for double barrel shotguns. That should work out just swell assuming no individual security team member is faced with more than two assailants at any one time. Of course there is that problem with pattern spread at over 20 yards. Well, in that case VP Biden's security team should be given slugs for their shotguns. No problem, unless said security team member is confronted by more than two assailants at over 100 yards.

    January 25, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Larry L


    The pt of the 2nd Amend. is not so u can "survive" but to enable citiezesn to protect themselves fr at tyrannical govt.
    ================================================================================================== Really? Please then answer my question from 03:44 pm. This is a critical point in the discussion and apparently not a question gun radicals are willing or able to answer. If you can't answer the question you've misinterpreted the 2nd.

    January 25, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. BelladonnaCove

    OK Biden... come over to my place in the middle of the night and don't knock...and I'll see if the shotgun works.

    January 25, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. CalmerVoice

    Hey Larry L, it's a fair question. Thank you for making a point with it – looks like not all libs are narrow-minded hate spiters. And here is the answer to you. Lee Oswald, Cirhan Cirhan and the rest of them were terrorists. You would not stop terrorists with reasoning, logic or even new laws. You only stop them with weapons. If people were armed at Fort Hood somebody will shoot that terrorist "major" within seconds. Now I am not calling for untrained folks to carry in churches, shopping malls etc. But people should be able to protect themselves in their homes.

    January 25, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. dondijon

    when one faces a disaster, one must be creative... AAA Mini-MagLight fitted with a green laser pointer diode anyone??? you can't hit what you don't (Rather Can't) See...

    January 25, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Munsoned

    OK Biden... come over to my place in the middle of the night and don't knock...and I'll see if the shotgun works.
    Um, wouldn't you just be following his advice?

    January 25, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. someoneelsename

    holy moly, biden right on. I wouldn't mess with a guy with a shot gun, but I could probably get close enough to some fat sack with an assault rifle to wear him like a mustard stain. Shot guns are truly fightening

    January 25, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Wow

    A shotgun....really. Well he is right that a shot gun works well for home defense. I find it kind of funny that he opened his mouth up yet again..........because you just wait and see the next thing they will now go after is your good old Remington 870 shotgun. And the problem will still be with us. New guns laws or blaming video games are not the issue but all Biden did on his quest to find quick answer is come up with bans.......instead of addressing mental health...oh he mentioned mental health back ground checks but I would guess if a liberal or conservative lawyer got there hands on a case would result in them not being allowed to do them. Mental health is the common factor in all most all the recent mass shootings. They don't want to deal with the issue because it would meaning bringing Obama care front and center and they would have to admit that they did provided for increased mental health under's a simple as that.

    January 25, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Meta

    Jimmer - goofiest picture of Biden? I see the face of a real person unafraid to speak his mind and state his convictions, unlike the plastic candidates who lost the election.
    BTW – as to general discussion. I grew up on the farm I still live on, and there was always a shotgun ready to shoot a fox in the hen house or a groundhog in the alfalfa field. That shotgun also bagged quail, rabbits & squirrels for our dinners. Although I no longer shoot (I'll explain later), my freezer is full of venison supplied by neighbors who responsibly hunt on our acreage (not with assault weapons).
    I got rid of my shotgun because of a night with 2 teenagers in the house. My son was asleep, and my daughter was out late. Son heard something at the door, and groggy and half asleep, ran downstairs, stationed himself behind the door, drew back his fist, and prepared to protect the house. It was his sister, and when his eyes cleared he woke up and didn't punch. But had the shotgun been beside the door my daughter might have died that night.
    My daughter's still well and alive, and I'm learning to cope with foxes and groundhogs. Small price to pay.

    January 25, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Gregory L. Faith

    The village idiot has spoken again................

    January 25, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. lance

    there is nothing quite like the sound of a pump shotgun racking a round, to discourage a troublemaker-and you can easily hit 2 or 3 assailants at once, and easily blow rather large holes in them. Shooting off high velocity rounds in a crowded neighborhood or public arena is pretty stupid.

    January 25, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Broumad

    It's not about sportsmanship its about protection from looters, gangs and government

    January 25, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. Watch The Interview

    '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'

    That was in response to a question prefaced in which the asker stated that the gunman had shot 150 rounds, and asked how a 10 round mag cap would help. Biden then used his math skills to deduce that if you shot 150 bullets from 10 round magazines, you would need 25-30 magazines. (hint: X=150/10, X=15).

    We have a VP who can't do basic mathematical functions.

    Also, if a shotgun is a better self-defense gun and more deadly, why isn't this ban targeting Biden's double barreled shotguns? And how can anyone who has ever shot ever claim that a shotgun is more accurate than a rifle? you do realize that almost any AR 15 can do 1 minute of angle accuracy, meaning the civvie versions are good out to 6-800 yards? WHat can you do with a shotgun???

    January 25, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Watch The Interview

    "there is nothing quite like the sound of a pump shotgun racking a round, to discourage a troublemaker-and you can easily hit 2 or 3 assailants at once, and easily blow rather large holes in them. Shooting off high velocity rounds in a crowded neighborhood or public arena is pretty stupid."

    Too bad the ban targets pump shotguns as "assault weapons" too.

    January 25, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. iwant2blieve

    "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."

    This comment illustrates two major problems: (1) exaggeration or the misuse of numbers to prove a point (2
    ) the lack of mathematical ability in this country

    If you have a 30-round magazine and swap it out 4 or 5 times, you can only shoot 120 or 150 rounds. (That's 30 x 4 = 120, and 30 x 5 = 150)

    If you have a 10-round magazine and you swap it out 25 or 30 times, you can shoot 250 to 300 rounds. (That's 10 x 25 = 250, and 10 x 30 = 300)

    So, since the range of 250 – 300 is actually DOUBLE the original range of 120 -150, I'd say we either have a case of exaggeration or poor math skills on our hands. Or both.

    Just to be clear, in this example, if a person had a 30-round magazine and swapped it out 4 or 5 times, and then switched to a 10-round magazine, they would have to swap it out 12 or 15 times to shoot the same amount of rounds. The point is still there... it's just more accurate. But I guess 25 or 30 sounds WAY more cumbersome than 12 or 15.

    This is why this debate is ridiculous. Everybody is irrational and refuses to think. And our government was supposed to be set up to avoid the irrational whims of the public...

    January 25, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. don in albuquerque

    As a police officer for several years I underwent a great deal of firearms training. One class was on the possibility of facing several armed people. Two armed with assult rifles, and one with a shotgun. We were taught to always take the shotgun guy first, he is the most dangerous. Ever hear a pump racked in the middle of a silent night? Loudest and deadliest sound in the world. I also learned I could do a whole lot more damage with a shotgun then could ever be done with an assult rifle. Remington 870, when the chips are really down, and the same gun can also be used to hunt rabbit or quail, or deer. Shot a rabbit lately with a 30 round AR?

    January 25, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. morgan painter

    The versatility of the shotgun is a big plus.
    Birdshot for small birds.
    Heavier shot for geese,
    Slugs for large game,
    and 00 for intruders.

    One firearm, many purposes.

    January 25, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. California Gary

    Here's how we settle the shotgun vs AR 15 thing for best home defense. Any one of you come into my dark house tonight armed with an AR 15.......I'll be in there, in the dark with a pump shotgun. We'll see which one of is still in possession of his guts at day break.

    January 25, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. lensap73

    Yeah and as soon as the first idiot kills 10 people with a shotgun and the other one after that does something similar...say bye bye to your shotgun fools!

    January 25, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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