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. uncdig

    the court jester does another of his comedy routines. He is very good at amusing the kings court.

    January 24, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. Matthew Carberry

    The AR-pattern rifle is lighter and has less recoil, is more ergonomic in operation, easier to hold, to aim, and to contriol during firing than any shotgun and with an adjustable stock can fit people from 4' 11" 90 pound young women to a 6' 2" 215 pound former Marine. It is one weapon that the young, old, small, large, able, and infirm can shoot with equal skill and accuracy.

    Standard capacity magazines make it easier to focus on placing accurate shots without having to worry about changing magazines in the face of a threat and, surprisingly, the 5.56 round actually penetrates typical home construction -less- than most common pistol bullets (9mm and up) and shotgun buckshot or slugs.

    It is not a "fringe" rifle owned just by gun nuts, AR-pattern rifles are the most common sporting rifle sold today because they are so easy to use, reliable, and adaptable. To claim otherwise demonstrates an utter lack of current knowledge on the subject and an unwillingness to go beyond one's prejudices and look at the facts.

    Why even the DHS says they are eminently suitable for personal defense. Not official law enforcement or para-military use mind you, but personal defense by their employees at home for all the reasons listed above. What's true for our employees in government is certainly no less true for us.

    January 24, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    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.

    Or, you could just carry a spare gun or two, switch and keep firing, and wait until you had an oportunity to replace the clip. Even if it was a ten round clip, you might still have 30 shots between them. But then this is just conjecture. Crazy people bent on mayhem, really don't even need a 'gun' to go on a killing spree.

    January 24, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. bs1


    Man I'm glad I have my 30 round magazine for when the government goes rogue and I need to defend myself against the largest, best trained and best equipped military on the face of the planet."

    Should that government go rogue as you say, at least 75% of that military will defect in short order. They make up a sizeable chunk of the civilian owners of so called "assault weapons" and they aren't about to give them up either.

    January 24, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Overmann

    He dodged the question. The original question asked if Biden felt banning assault weapons infringed on the Second Amendment rights of those desiring weapons for protection.

    January 24, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. mick

    I like how Biden basically says that anyone handling a weapon would be a novice and know nothing about it.

    THat's who you elected America, a man who thinks everyone is an idiot, bought a weapon without knowing anything about it, how to properly use it and safety. You trust the government and the future with people who think you know nothing..

    Problem is, he's right.

    January 24, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. Martyr

    Total LIE the proposed ban makes almost ALL home security shotguns illegal.

    Liar liar pants on fire and all other comments that apply.

    January 24, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. Mike

    Obama needs to tell Biden to shut his mouth, Forrest Gump was a scholor compared to him. It's embarrassing knowing that the world is watching us thinking Americans must all be like him. NOT!!

    January 24, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. thetruth

    At least now we know that Biden's math skills are pretty much in the toilet. Going from a 30 round clip to a 10 round clip will NOT require the shooter to reload 25-30 times, just 3 times more than the "four or five times" that he changed his clip during the shooting.

    January 24, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. USMC_ech110

    Nope, give me an AR-15 over a double barrel. For all you that think you get some massive spread with "double ought buck" go do some pattern testing. The largest room in your house is probably 20-x25, at that range the spread, even with a modified choke, is less than 12 inches wide. stop watching movies where the bad guys get almost blown in half and sent flying 10 feet.

    The AR is a fantastic weapon. Very little recoil, natural ergonomics, and ease of operation.

    And to the guy that said for us to stop thinking were "spec ops" some of us 2nd supporters are just that. Stop playing Call of Duty and thinking you know warfare.

    Semper Fi

    January 24, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. jt

    You guys are absolutely childish and selfish..Oh don't take my toy... no no wa wa your taking my freedom... my self defense. Do you realize how stupid you sound... all the reasoning of why these BIG guns are not as dangerous as a shotgun... ... Dick Cheney didn't kill his hunting partner.. if he had a an AR 15 well you know what would have happened... oh wait don't need an AR 15 for hunting animals.. but need them for shooting PEOPLE!! distance counts with shotguns the further away the bigger the spread of SHOT... AR 15 bullets.. deadly near and far. Keep trying to reason your way into keeping the big magazines. Your fear is showing. Regulation is part of the 2nd amendment.. READ IT.

    January 24, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. SeeThruIt2

    Maybe they should make a law banning mass killings.

    January 24, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. Thomas

    What if the planet Earth is invaded by predator aliens from another solar system ?

    Thank god I'll have my mac 10 with a 30 round clip !
    Freedom is knowing it's under my pillow .

    January 24, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. David D.

    I don't even know where to begin addressing the comments of this half-wit Biden. Ok, let's start with this: Police cars were commonly equipped with a combat shotgun for decades. Now they have AR-15s and sometimes MP-5's (9mm submachine gun). Why? "Smaller statured officers" (read: women) had difficulty handling the recoil and size of a shotgun. They kick – hard. It doesn't matter whether you load them lighter (departments tried), they are still more difficult to master. The AR-15 is so gentle to shoot that you can easily hold in in one had by the pistol grip and control the weapon. They aren't complicated, they are designed for military service, where difficult to operate can mean death to a soldier under fire. I've owned many firearms, and the AR was my fave (next to my Barrett .50). Biden needs to become educated before opening his pie-hole.

    January 24, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. KAS

    If it is so much easier to use a Shotgun than an Assault Rifle why don't the US Navy Seals all carry Remington Shotguns instead of M4 Carbines? Both are just as deadly, as a Special Ops member why they chose the M4 and it will be for weight, ease of use, low recoil. Anyone that has shot both knows how idiotic this sounds.

    January 24, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. Kirk

    Vice President Biden's last comment shows his misunderstanding of the second amendment. "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." <-- The amendment isn't about a sport, it is about protecting our rights and liberty from tyranny.

    January 24, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. PeaceOfficer5376

    I love how AR's are bashed as over penetrating, when multiple tests have found that a 9mm over penetrates significantly more than an AR.

    January 24, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Richard

    Seriously though, what you do not want is lunatics with handguns and rifles to start using shotguns. A sawed-off or no choke shotgun loaded with buckshot is capable of killing 5 people at once if the shot at a crowd from a specific distance. Lunatics will always get guns, that's why the majority of the shootings in the U.S. are in the ghetto where no one is ever granted a gun license. I would rather they use guns that take skill to hit things with than a gun that doesn't.

    January 24, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Ancient Texan

    Biden was in charge of policing the $787 Billion "stimulus" distribution and he shows us his math skills today....WOW!

    January 24, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. Dont matter

    Love the constant excuses for a need for assault weapons. I live in CA and have been through dozens of quakes...never once has anyone ever had nor needed an assault weapon.

    January 24, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. Luke

    Thanks for the tip. We are filling the gun safe with more weaponry. I have a handgun and and and AR on order both with larger clips than these political thugs wants to restrict. Happy Hunting.

    January 24, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. Mike V.

    Since when was the 2nd amendment about being a sportsman Mr. Vice President???

    January 24, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Dave Green

    Joe Biden or not, he IS right. A shotgun would be better, Actually a shotgun would be better for home defense in general. Good at close range, and depending on the ammo, you don't really have to aim it. Somewhere in the general direction of the target will do just fine.
    No, I'm NOT suggesting this is a reason to ban assualt weapons! Just pointing out that he is correct.

    January 24, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. Dan

    A double barrel shotgun is better than nothing. But a pump is a good defense choice. Make it semi-auto with a pistol grip and it looks pretty useful but then Joe would have to call it an "assault weapon" and ban it.

    But the great thing about this country is that you can choose what you think is best for you, not what Joe Biden thinks you should have. So you can have an AR or an AK or a shotgun or a lever action rifle or a revolver or an auto-loading pistol.

    January 24, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. Patriot

    ”The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest possible limits. … and [when] the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”
    ~St. George Tucker

    January 24, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
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