February 19th, 2013
05:44 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden gives parenting advice, reloads shotgun line

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden explained the importance of gun safety to parents Tuesday with this analogy:

"You keep the cookies on the second shelf so they can't reach and then grab them all the time. People should not be in a position where their children have access to weapons and ammunition," he said.

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He advocated for the gun violence reduction proposals President Barack Obama has advanced in an online chat on Tuesday sponsored by Parents Magazine. Biden answered questions submitted to the magazine by parents - including one question on how gun control could reduce individuals' ability to defend themselves.

Repeating advice he's offered previously, Biden again advocated for the shotgun in home defense.

"If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun," he said. "Have the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun and I promise you - as I told my wife … 'Jill, if there is ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever is coming in is not going to.' "

The shotgun, he said, is more effective than an assault-style weapon such as the AR-15, which he said "is harder to aim, it is harder to use. … Buy a shotgun."

Biden has become the Obama administration's public face on gun control, first leading a group Obama tasked with meeting various stakeholders on the gun control issue and then promoting the platform in a series of ongoing public appearances. He will attend a gun violence conference on Thursday near Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 students and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

In the online chat, Biden said he does not favor constitutional amendments to refine or adjust the Second Amendment, which as the constitutional source of gun rights is cited by both proponents and opponents to make their cases.

"The constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally own," Biden said in the online chat. "Now if that were not the case then you should be able to legally go buy a flamethrower that the military has; you should be able to go - if you're a billionaire - buy an F-15 loaded with ordnance; you should be able to buy an M-1 tank; you should be able to buy a machine gun; you should be able to buy a grenade launcher."

The limits are imposed for "public safety," he said, and the Second Amendment allows space to "eliminate assault weapons and limit the number of shells or bullets in a magazine."

An assault weapons ban proposed by Obama and several members of Congress, however, is not expected to pass. The president's proposal also includes making background checks before gun sales universal, increasing police resources, and improving the mental health care and reporting system.

Filed under: Gun control • Joe Biden
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "And come election time the democrats will lose the house. Deja vu?"

    Yes, deja vu. I could swear I was reliving the experience of reading completely misinformed conservative drivel.

    Hint: The Dems can't "lose the House" because they don't currenly hold it.

    February 20, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. John N Florida

    If you don't / won't take the time to learn how to shoot and shoot accurately, a shotgun is the best answer. Especially in the close confines of a house, a shotgun is probably the best choice. Short range and double '0' buck are a lethal combination for bad people. \
    I STILL believe that everyone – man, woman, and child should learn about guns, how to safely care for and shoot guns, and develop a healthy fear/appreciation of what a gun can do.

    February 20, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, its alot better to shoot in the air than to shoot moose at Russia from your bathroom window. Sarah was almost a heartbeat away from doing just that. That's scary.

    February 20, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Malory Archer


    Why would you shoot in the air if someone is trying to break into your house?


    What goes up, must come down. What idiotic advice it is to fire a shotgun in the air.


    There seems to be a real problem with reading comprehension on this message thread. Or maybe this is just another case of the tighty righties attempting to do what they always do: accuse someone of saying something they never said. Sorry guys, but your strawman just won't fly 'cause Joe never said to fire into the air.

    February 20, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Kentuckian

    Biden doesn't understand that's not what the 2nd Amendment is for!
    I have a God given Right to defend myself and my family.
    I have a Constitutional Right to defend myself and my family from a murderous government.

    February 20, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. RINO Bill

    If someone follows Biden's advice to use a shotgun to defend family and home and it malfunctions, or his advice how to use it doesn't work for other reasons, can Biden be sued?

    After all, he is not presenting himself as an expert in home defense tactics.

    February 20, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Malory Archer


    So when the cops come to arrest me for shooting off the porch, I can tell 'em Joe said it's ok.


    Yeah, except he never said that.

    February 20, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. rbnlegend101

    SB, you should do some fact checking, because your statement is false. An anti-gun congrescritter proposed a law banning any projectile that could penetrate kevlar. A single layer of kevlar isn't very tough, and any bullet will penetrate it. A steel ball fired from a good slingshot will penetrate one layer of kevlar. Protective vests are made from many layers of kevlar. That law was overly broad and would have banned all bullets, which would have led to the courts striking it down, without even bringing up a second ammendment question. A slight re-write to ban bullets capable of defeating a typical vest would have banned most rifle rounds, as well as most shotgun shells. The NRA worked with the legislator to write legislation that addressed the concern of handgun rounds designed to defeat body armor, and then supported that law, which passed, despite opposition from the gun control lobby.

    The bullets in question at the time the legislation was passed were designed to penetrate automobile windshield glass without being deflected, not protective vests. They were never shown to be effective in either role, glass or kevlar, but they did get good press from the legal excitment. At the time police were in the process of making more widespread use of protective kevlar, and it was getting good results. All the news about cop killer bullets also emphasised that police were bulletproof in the area covered by the vest, so people who shot at police officers started shooting at the head more than they had been, with bad results for the police officers in question. Another example of anti-gun people who don't know what they are talking about offering common sense advice that isn't good advice in reality. Sort of like telling people to fire a warning shot with a shotgun with no immediate threat and no way of knowing what the pellets will hit.

    February 20, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Rick in OP

    Since when did Biden become an expert in self-defense? Seriously, this guy should keep his mouth shut, he has no clue what he is talking about. Innocent people could get hurt for numerous reasons by following his advice.

    February 20, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. USVET

    @Blah Blah – The Constituion may give legislators the right to create laws that tell us what to do or what we can't own, but the people have the right to recall or vote out legislators that don't vote the way we want them to. As for your 72% statements...nothing in the official reports from the DOJ, the ATF, or the FBI breaks out the numbers the way your are alleging. Get your facts from reliable sources not the anti-gun movement.

    February 20, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Dean

    as I told my wife … 'Jill, if there is ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.......................................Hey Joe, that's not much help if they are already in your bedroom.

    February 20, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Dean

    Biden make Dan Quayle look like a genius......................

    February 20, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Wilson

    @Randy, San Francisco

    Thanks Vice-president Biden, but I'll rather rely on my security alarm system, retreat to a designated safe hiding place, and call 911.
    And will be dead before the police arrive. Even the cops are saying you can't depend on their "response" for safety/security.

    February 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. rbnlegend101

    Firing a warning shot is illegal. Shooting it in the air is dangerous, both because the pellets will land somewhere, and because the person firing the gun will break their wrist, or hurt themself in some other way. Depending on the trigger action, if the two barrels don't go off at the same instant, the result could be darwin award material, with the first shot causing the person to lose control of the gun such that it points at themself, and the secon dshot going wherever the gun is pointed. A shotgun is powerful, and the best way to control it is to hold it properly. Holding it properly means aiming it at a reasonable angle, which means shooting your neighbors house, which is also illegal and dangerous.

    February 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Jerry Okamura

    When you were a child, were your parents successful at stopping you from doing what you wanted to do? Or did you do what you wanted to do, no matter how hard your parents tried to prevent you from doing what they did not want you to do?

    February 20, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. me

    So the VP is telling us to fire off two 12 gauge rounds in some unknown direction with little concern for who or what they may impact. Good idea, discharge a firearm in the city, do not worry about the impact, and now you are trapped on a balcony, no additional rounds and hope that he bad guys run from a noise they may or may not know, and was no where near them. That is leadership!

    February 20, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Dem Deceivers

    Democrats (The one's pushing these bills to disarm Americans) need to come clean to the people and explain why?

    – Less that 3% of gun deaths come from Rifles each year. ("Assualt Rifles" are a subset of that category.

    – The Dept. of Justice in their paper on the gun control bills indicated, "an Assualt weapons ban would have no effect on gun crime".

    – The last "Assault Weapons" ban had no impact on mass killings at all.

    – 85% of gun deaths are felons not innocent people. Not children.

    – The average number of rounds fired in gun violence, 2. Limiting gun magazines is irrelevant.

    Why are they trying so hard to ban guns that have nothing to do with gun violence. There is something else going on here!

    February 20, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Kentuckian

    Biden doesn't have a clue what the 2nd Amendmnt means.

    February 20, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Tony in Maine

    The shotgun was the weapon recommended for home defense by the NRA before the gun industry bought the organization. The rationale was that the average person is not going to be like John Wayne and his Colt Peacemaker picking off bad guys as the rode horses 300 yards away. The shotgun makes an awful mess with very little effort.

    TomTom – if that were Cheney, or worse yet Palin, would you complain about the messenger. Basically, what you said was the idea is good but the person who repeated it is not. I don't understand what is happening to our country when we are unable to agree and still critical.

    February 20, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Will_NOT_Give_My_Rights_Away

    Sorry Joe but the guy on the ground has an illegal AR15 and he just blasted you off your deck because he saw that you had a shotgun loaded with bird shot and you need to reload bad idea and has now entered your house taken liberties with your family members before killing them off because they witnessed them killing you. What you should have done was wait until they enter and are in a confined space then make sure your shots count by aiming mid chest to insure you have a better kill zone shot. Now me I have my semi automatic weapon and when they do enter the door I can insure you they will be carried out.

    February 20, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. LW

    If I fire 2 shotgun blasts off of my balcony, my neighbor will not be very happy.

    February 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    NFA (National Firearms Act) regulations have made shotguns largely impractical for the purposes of defense within the confines of a home. Shoulder a shotgun with a miniumum barrel length of 18" and try to comfortably navigate through halls or around corners in a small home. Nevermind the weight, which is cumbersome for smaller people. An M4 rifle, with a 16" barrel (legal) and a collapsible buttstock allow for a shorter, lightweight, low-recoil platform that is adaptable to smaller and weaker people, with more proven stopping power than most handguns.

    A shotgun is not for everybody. Even in smaller guages, the recoil is too much for many people, and buckshot isn't nearly as precise as a rifle shot. You want to hit the bad guy and nothing else, right?

    The proposed AWB is nothing but a gun-grab of scary-looking weapons. AR-15 style (that stands for Armalite Rifle) are superb, practical defensive weapons with appropriate training and ammuniton, and that is why millions of lawful Americans own them safely and proudly.

    February 20, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. bt

    they are trying to take up the guns that can penetrate kevlar so fewer soldiers will be killed when they drop all entitlement programs in order to continue paying the interest on the national debt.

    February 20, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Bobbbb

    This is the crux of the problem. they let people who have no idea of the topic to make serious decisions. A shotgun indeed! and a doubloe barrel at that. You get one or two shots and then the crooks with their multiple round 9mm peck you apart with 15 or 20 shots.

    February 20, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Barbie53

    It is unlikely Jill Biden would ever need to use a shot gun...secret service at her service.

    This guy should be kept quiet for the next 4 years. incredibly poor judgement!

    February 20, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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