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. Whatup

    When it comes to weaponry, I doubt I would trust anything goofball Biden says..

    January 25, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  2. Flatsguide

    I used th think Biden was just an idiot, now I'm sure of it.

    January 25, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. TexasMom

    This guy is just flat out embarassing as a representative of the USA. What a bafoon.

    January 25, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  4. Alex

    KommonSense says:

    "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."

    1. If the government goes rogue, a large portion of military personnel will be at home with their families.
    2. More than half of the military would desert instead of killing their own countrymen.
    3. It takes military personnel to fly helicopters, planes, tanks, and drones.
    4. If the government tried to send military after civilians, you would see a large secession and eventually a civil war
    5. Despite what Piers Morgan said, the government will not set off a nuke on its own soil
    6. There are more retired, trained military that own guns than there are active duty military presently
    7. The average age of full military retirement is 40 (and that is people that stayed in the full 20 years!). Most get out in their mid 20's to early 30's after 4 or 8 year contracts.
    8. The current active military force is 2.9 million people strong spread out all over the globe.
    9. There are approximately 80 million gun owners presently concentrated within the country
    10. All of these bullet points also apply to Police

    January 25, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  5. ronvan

    NO SURPRISE!!! Knew that the pros & cons, and EXCUSE'S would be flying all over the place! The real question, for me, is where does this stop? Widely commented on, the AR-15 was what I carried in Viet Nam, and while the modern day version has been changed somewhat it is still the same weapon. It takes 3 PARTS, to make it fully automatic, which can be obtained thru some "searching"! Actually after a short period of time we found this NEW weapon did not meet our needs, was put back in the arms room & we wound up using a modified version of the old M3 greasegun! I guess the point is that the AR-15 was ORIGINALLY designed as a combat – military weapon! NOW we make EXCUSE'S that it is a hunting rifle!? This same analogy applies to MANY other weapons being EXCUSED as sport weapons! Guess you would have to call me a pureist in that hunting, for me, is a shotgun or bolt action rifle, and a side arm, just in case. That is SPORT for me, NOT having a weapon that can put 20-40-60 rounds downrange!

    January 25, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  6. forc63

    Sure joe, let's do that. Then of course strip your security teams, bodyguards, police escorts, also the army, navy, police, marines, DEA, FBI, CIA, mercs, pirates and gangs of their advanced weaponry and pass out double-barrel shotguns. What you saying now joe? Ha! I must not be understanding your colorful, off-the-cuff remarks... I thought you said "assault weapons" aren't needed, even in earthquakes?

    January 25, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  7. Bob Roll

    I do not want to shoot another human being, even in self defense. I want to not face that situation, because there are no guns available to the assailant. I'm fine if that makes me a pacifist.

    January 25, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  8. Nick

    What a tool. This administration is using the very same arguments that governments have always used to disarm the populace – right before turning the country into a police state. New restrictions will do nothing to prevent another Sandy Hook – they are intended only to criminalize existing law-abiding citizens. Delaware's proposed law is an example – you are allowed to have a high-capacity magazine but you're not allowed to have it within 20 feet of the weapon. Or the part that says you can have a weapon but not in a public space – which includes highways, which means if you go to a shooting range for practice you are by definition a criminal and your weapons will be confiscated.

    This country was started by those that are today considered "gun nuts" – and they did it because they had the means to fight an oppressive government. We should not give up that capability because governments always drift towards the restriction of freedoms.

    January 25, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  9. whome?

    It was reported a few days ago on "today" that the AR-15 at the Conneticut school shooting was found in the trunk of the car. There were however 4 hand guns found instead of 2, also the shooter tried to purchase a weapon few weeks prior and was denied with three current laws we have in the books!

    January 25, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. weezer

    Hahaha...poor Joe. I like Joe, but now we're gonna see "Hobo with a Shotgun" trailers redone on youtube as "Biden with a Shotgun".

    January 25, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. pbm

    I'm no math expert but …4 x 30 doesn’t equal 25 x 10.

    January 25, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  12. Tommy Boy

    Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but we have forfeited our "right" to bear arms. History clearly demonstrates that. When my small children are not responsible with a toy it is taken away from them. As adults, we fail time and time and time again to learn any lessons from gun horrors. Sorry folks....we deserve to be put in time out......without guns.

    January 25, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  13. demogoat

    The chance of being shot is .0000045%. We are all a bunch of paranoid lunatics. The people we elect are the most crazy.

    January 25, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  14. Peter Goesinya

    Democrats just want to take from those who have. If not guns, it would be something else.

    January 25, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  15. jason

    Not only are shotguns heavy but they kick like a mule. They are also short range,better to kill the enemy before they get too close.

    January 25, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  16. Zane

    At the rate this administration is going I fully expect a double barrel shotgun to be included in the list of assault weapons soon.

    January 25, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. G_Edwards

    Wait! I thought liberals fancied themselves as the people who promote choice.

    Shouldn't it be a personal choice on what to use and how to defend oneself and one's family?


    January 25, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  18. lux

    He's a professional twit, not a sportsman

    January 25, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. DT

    Ahhh lets see, At this point what does it matter.....seems to be the answer that works for everything

    January 25, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  20. Asa Tiff

    ...Rick, AR's are not jam prone. The Keltec 9 or Cobray m-11, now those POS's are jam-o-matics. AR's usually only jam if you keep the mags loaded over a long period of time, it fatigues the springs and causes a miss-feed. Anyone who has been in the military (I was in the IAF) knows that and also knows the mantra "tap-rack-fire"; unless you get a quid round (when the round sticks in the barrel b/c only the primer fires, not the powder...that is a different story though, that's an ammo problem not a weapon problem).

    January 25, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. Wilson


    Biden makes Dan Quayle look like a genius
    That's exactly what I have been thinking. I mentioned it in the office and the younger guys said, "Dan who?" Made feel my age a bit.

    January 25, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  22. dandude

    This reads like an Onion article

    January 25, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  23. Namejeff

    OK so let me get this straight,Joe Biden is perfectly OK with me blowing someone to bits with a shotgun,just not an assault rifle in case of emergency?So Joe,if one dead is one too many as you and many others like to trumpet,what does it matter what kind of weapon killed them?Somebody explain to me how a person killed with a shotgun is any less shot or any less dead than a person killed with an assault rifle.Take the Travon Martin case in Florida for example,he was killed with a handgun,do you think his parents care?They care about the fact that their son is dead and they believe he shouldn't be.The emphasis in that killing was always about weather or not Zimmerman had just legal cause for taking the actions he did,not about the weapon used in the incident.So is Travon Martin any less dead than any victim of Sandy Hook?No.The reason?Simple.Gun control is the new war on drugs.It is as failed,flawed,and as misguided a notion as can possibly exist.

    January 25, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. StandForTruth

    Mr. Biden, let me make up my OWN mind, Sir, in choosing my weapon of choice for defense. Thank You.

    January 25, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  25. Joe


    The AR-15 is known to be a jam-prone weapon. Its a terrible gun unless it is meticulously maintained. Its good for home defense as long as you don't mind accidentally killing a relative, a neighbor or a guy down the street accidentally when your bullets go through your walls

    It's nice to hear from someone who knows nothing about this. The AR15 is an extremely reliable firearm when used with 10, 20, or 30 round magazines. I've never seen one jam, and I've fired tens of thousands of rounds through several different models. With hollow point ammo the risk of hitting 'a guy down the street when bullets go through your walls' is almost nil, since the hollow points break up easily in drywal. The police officers I know recommend it as an excellent home-defense firearm, with proper training, and hollow point bullets.

    January 25, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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