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. Mark

    Most of you guys all sound like you live in third world countries where you need a gun to protect everything you have. If the states are that dangerous, move the hell out, or at least to somewhere that is safe within the United States. I live in Vancouver, one of our largest cities in Canada, and I have never had to carry a gun. Hell I don't even lock my door during the day or night. The problem with the States is their are so many guns already available, and so much paranoia among the rest of the country, that most of you feel unsafe. Yes guns might protect people, but a home with a gun is more likely going to be involved in a homicide or a suicide than it ever would need to be used to protect yourself.

    January 25, 2013 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  2. John Spencer

    Biden.....doesn't he ever shut up ? Try a shotgun ? When the 10 guage Ithaca Roadblocker came out, he was trying
    to take THEM away......saying ' no one needed a riot gun '.

    January 25, 2013 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  3. BetterSense

    @KommonSense – if the gov does "go rogue", how many 30 round mags does it take to stop a drone or a missile? Dumb dumb.

    January 25, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  4. blazer

    I'm afraid Biden's right about the shotgun vs assault rifle. In every training experience I've had, military and personal; defense (as a civilian) It's been drilled intop my head than when confronted with three armed assailants, one with a handgun, one with a machine gun and one with a shotgun, you take out the shotgunner first because he doesn't have to aim - he just points in the genberal direction and slaps the trigger. Incidentally, in the same civilian training, an NRA course no less!, we were advised that the best home defense weapon was a 20ga pump shotgun loaded with bird shot - unlikely to travel through several walls like a bullet might but, at close range, hits the intruder like a solid slug and is absolutely lethal.

    January 25, 2013 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  5. Aret

    Seems many people who left comments find it almost appealling to take on the US military. The military is in place to safeguard the rest of us. It is made of our friends, neighbors, our families, etc. So, are you still so eager to kill them? To correct the gov...

    January 25, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  6. John

    Biden even seems dumber than Obama!

    January 25, 2013 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  7. Anonymous

    joe. you are really sad... you need to learn first about some thing before you go bashing it... from what i understand the 20 yr old left the ar-15 in the trunk of the car and took 4 pistols inside the school. also at the theater the guy had a 100 round drum clip that jammed so he used other guns. you think a clip restriction will stop this, your bad wrong. and you need to learn how to count also. changing a 30 round clip 5 times is 150 bullets. changing a 10 round clip 30 times is 300 rounds. and my wife can't shoot a double barrel shot gun. it will break her shoulder. (common sense joe). get some... she can handle my ar-15 though and my glock 40 with the 15 round clip. i have a few guns and none of them has killed any one. i don't no how many rounds it would take to take down a bad guy(s) and i hope i never have to find out, but if i do i want to know i have enough. school shootings are so sad and un-called for. and most schools can't afford to hire the police full time BUT if you arm SOME teachers in each school it will help stop the problem. (more common sense joe). and it does work... when i was in grade school there was some armed teachers. when i was in middle school there was some armed teachers. and when i was in high school there was some armed teachers and we never had a shooting. it was un-heard of. now there are so many laws that we can't even protect our own children. how about fixing some of the laws we have before you go screwing things up even more....

    January 25, 2013 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  8. bob

    an ar-15 may be jam-prone but it has virtually no recoil and this is why it is super deadly. you cannot just start cranking through clip after clip on any other weapon without serious hand/arm/etc. fatigue.

    January 25, 2013 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  9. brhino

    I find it interesting that Uncle Joe used " double barreled shotguns" in his analogy, since semi and pump shotguns have already been discussed as future ban candidates in some states. Coincidence? I don't really care what bans they come up with, I'm just tired of politicians of all stripes, but especially this current crowd treating us like we're a bunch of ignorant worker bees who aren't paying attention. Everybody knows what they want, and that they will tell any story to get us on board. Buzzzzzzzzzz.........

    January 25, 2013 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  10. Greg the Magnificent

    The only downside to gun control is having less weapons when the zombie apocalypse happens.

    January 25, 2013 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  11. John A

    The power and control gun ownership confers is mostly an illusion.

    January 25, 2013 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  12. Smoking joe

    Ok guys and gals lets have math below

    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.

    Now lets do some math . 30×5=150 Or 10×30-=300. By bidens math it would take a gunman longer to shoot more gullets ! Really astonishing glad president Obama has such smart staff.

    January 25, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  13. f.j

    Can my shotgun be a "streetsweeper" type?

    January 25, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  14. BlackCoffee

    Good old Joe forgets about the Korean shop owners in South Central during the riots. They were happy they had "assult" weapons since the police decided not to do anything for a couple of days. History has shown that sometimes things spin out of control two quickly for the police to protect all the citizens. The establishment of the Federal government was supposed to balance populated states against the least populated states. Overtime, cities have taken over all politics and that turned a lot of states Democrat. If it weren't for NYC, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, and Baltimore- the rural counties would take those states Republican. When you live in a rural area and have 5 active police in the county at any one time, you understand the need for personal protection. Waiting 30 minutes for the police to respond, is just not an option. City dwellers learned in the South Central riots that sometimes they need to protect themselves. That is why restrictions on types of guns and clip capacity is only politics and has no place in this country under the Second Amendment. Remember the second amendment was designed to prevent exactly what is going on now. Confiscatory taxation and a government that serves only minority interests through targeted taxes and laws.

    January 25, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  15. mrcranky57

    I'm having difficulty containing my laughter. Did Mr. Idiot just recommend killing people with a shotgun?

    January 25, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  16. Jerry

    Man, is this Obama butt kisser/"Bender Forward" stupid or what. He and HIS bossman, Feinstein, etc. etc., etc., are most definitely clueless! God (PLEASE) help América!!!

    January 25, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  17. Chuck

    guess what? we dont need advise, we have a brain

    January 25, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  18. Leif

    A shotgun is the ultimate home defense. In close quarters, I would prefer to be armed with a shotgun and a baseball bat.

    January 25, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  19. fiftyfive55

    We've barely seen or heard from Biden over the last 4 years and now , out of the blue,he pops up and throws his two cents in,sorry but too late for you Joe.

    January 25, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  20. Leif

    Quick Magazine Changer, I would be safer if you did not exist. But, evolution is a slow process.

    January 25, 2013 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  21. Basher

    True, he's no Mensa member but he is correct. A shotgun is the best all around personal protection weapon, bar none.

    January 25, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  22. scott

    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws.

    January 25, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  23. scott

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

    January 25, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  24. Marie MD

    The first one out there with a shotgun would be toothman cantor who votes against money to other states by blackmailing votes but came renning to congress after that earthquake in his district in 2011.
    I always thought he was a little man in so many ways but during the inauguration I realized that he IS little in stature. No wonder the petulant child thinks that he wants what he wants when he wants it.

    January 25, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  25. Andrew Reeves

    May I respectfully suggest that the current Vice President goes hunting with Dick Cheney? I shall take my chances with the street thugs...

    January 25, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
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