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. wireknob

    He recommends a double-barrel shotgun, which only holds two shells, then recommended to his wife that she fire the only two rounds the weapon holds into the air off the balcony if she heard someone in the house. I'd say that's a very poor choice of weapon and bad strategy if you are trying to protect yourself. Not to mention the fact that firing a gun into the air is illegal in many places.

    Really, Joe? Maybe stick to something you know a little about.

    February 20, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. OhPlease

    Thank you us_1776. Finally a reasonable voice. And YOU actually sound like you are at peace. The people who argue for thei 2nd amendment right to own anything they want without rule sure sound like they are grasping. As for a calss 3 license, no you shouldn't be able to buy most any weapon out there. I recommend "The Last Samurai" to those of you who want to have whatever you want (like children with no good reason). The ones who chose to fight with more than they needed, killed off the best of their national character, honor, with those weapons of war. With the overkill. They lost in the end. And the sad thing is they could never get it back. Their hearts wanted to rise above the "enemy"; and they ended up wishing they had been on the other side of the gun.

    By the way, a shotgun doesn't even need to be loaded to deter a burglar. All you need to do is cock it. And I have a feeling, Jill Biden doesn't get nervous with a gun in her hand. Because she has peace of mind and heart. Something people living in fear will never understand unless they change how they think.

    February 20, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Wilson

    During his State of the Union address, President Obama described the economy as an 'unfinished task.' Yeah, there's a few parts he hasn't completely destroyed yet.

    February 20, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Tony D

    awaiting moderation
    Obi.You always know what he is thinking.

    That's what scares me.

    February 20, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Wilson


    A pump or semi-auto shotgun would be more effective than a double barreled model.
    Correct. But those types of shotguns are part of the "assault" weapons they want to ban.

    February 20, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. OhPlease

    How about we just eliminate violence from our vocabulary. It'll take a few generations but just like respect went the way of the wash board, so too will violence if we stop talking about it. Take it off the table. Stop saying it's going to resolve ANYTHING and people will stop thinking about it. Your children will grow up in a generation one step closer to not feeling the need for guns, for finding violence is the only way to kill off the boogey man in their heads. Remember when you (or your parents) fought with their fists and their heads? That was that. We were closer to civilization then than we are today. Fear is a poison, violence is infectious and it's all a vicious cycle. Start talking about alternative solutions and stop talking about violence. Maybe our kids will have a chance to perpetuate hope instead, to their children and their children...

    February 20, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Wilson

    Let's clear the air about the availability of "assault weapons," shall we?

    The first "assault weapon" was the WWII German Sturm Gewehr vierundvierzig ("Assault Weapon, 1944")

    Automatic rifles - “assault weapons” - were first banned to American civilians in 1934.

    Then came NFA ’68:

    The National Firearms Act of 1968 (NFA) - CLASS III - defines a number of categories of regulated firearms. These weapons are collectively known as NFA firearms and include the following:

    Machine guns: This includes any firearm which can fire more than 1 cartridge per trigger pull. Both continuous fully automatic fire and "burst fire" (i.e., firearms with a 3-round burst feature) are considered machine gun features. The weapon's receiver is by itself considered to be a regulated firearm.

    Short-Barreled Rifles SBRs): This category includes any firearm with a buttstock and either a rifled barrel under 16" long or an overall length under 26". The overall length is measured with any folding or collapsing stocks in the extended position. The category also includes firearms which came from the factory with a buttstock that was later removed by a third party.

    Short-Barreled Shotguns (SBSs): This category is defined similarly to SBRs, but the barrel must be at least 18" instead of 16", and the barrel must be a smoothbore The minimum overall length limit remains 26".

    Silencers, Destructive Devices (DDs), AOWs (Any Other Weapons which BATFE determines to fall under NFA '68)

    February 20, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. OhPlease

    Using the secret service detail as your reason for YOU needing a weapon of war is almost unbelievable. Without our elected heads of state we have we WOULD have the chaos you fear. Even so, rarely (if ever?) do you see men following the president carrying more than a pistol or revolver with 10 or less bullets. You don't really see them carrying anything because they're supposed to be inconspicuous keepers of PEACE not militant protectors from WAR.

    February 20, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. TheTruth

    OhPlease – Shotguns haven't had exposed hammers for many decades – they're self-cocking. And peace of mind, peace of heart rarely overcome the adrenaline produced by an armed intruder when your children are in danger.

    February 20, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. jc

    Imagine Joe Biden trying to operate a shotgun. Now do you support gun control?

    February 20, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Wilmington

    "By the way, a shotgun doesn't even need to be loaded to deter a burglar. All you need to do is cock it. And I have a feeling, Jill Biden doesn't get nervous with a gun in her hand. Because she has peace of mind and heart. Something people living in fear will never understand unless they change how they think."

    What happens if Jill cocks the unloaded shotgun and then hears two clicks that are from the two intruders who have each just turned off the safety on each of their guns?

    February 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Wilson

    Point being: Assault weapons - which is the Democrats' buzz-word - were outlawed to civilian possession in 1934 and AGAIN in 1968.
    Outlawed to civilian possession.
    How, then, are Democrats going to "outlaw" them again?
    They've changed the definition of what an assault weapon is so that they can claim to "support the Second Amendment" while they seek to limit it.
    It's Orwell's Newspeak, resurrected.
    Got it?

    February 20, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. OhReally

    LMFAO... OhPlease – You think the secret service carries revolvers to guard the president or mags less than 10 rounds?! Are you serious? You must either be related to Feinstein or are just as clueless as most Democrats in office about the subject.

    February 20, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Kentuckian

    Biden doesn't want citizens to purchase AR15's, what he calls Assualt Weapons, then why is Homeland Security buying thousands and thousands of them with fully automatic option and calling them personal protection weapons?

    February 20, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. bryanfred

    @oh please –

    There it is, the last fall-back argument; Biden has suffered personal loss and has a good heart, so it doensn't matter that he apparently told his wife to (1) arm herself with a weapon that is all but useless for home security, (2) commit a crime by firing it randomly into the night, (3) potentially injuring someone else, and (4) thus leaving her with an unloaded weapon. The vast majority of people here aren't questioning Biden's worth as a human being – I bet he's actually a pretty fun guy to be around – they are questioning his obviously poor knowledge and advice, which he is now sharing with the American public at large. Good intentions don't always mean good policy.

    February 20, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Wilson

    All those on the right and left need to stop blaming Obama, the Senate, or Congress for anything. The blame is ours.

    We, the People, have done it to ourselves.

    "Do not blame Caesar. Blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the new wonderful good society which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious." –Roman philosopher and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

    February 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Sean T

    Only further proof that Joe has no idea what he is talking about at all. Then again I'm sure he isn't too concerned about his wife's safety as she has Secret Service armed protection around the clock. He is a buffoon and the lack of knowledge around firearms on display by those lawmakers proposing to restrict them is amazing, scary and absurd.

    February 20, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Nick

    Who in their right mind would take any advice from Biden? The guy is one big political punch line. The fact that he is anywhere near a policy-making discussion should scare everyone.

    February 20, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. philip costello

    Joe biden is my hero. I totally agree w the shotgun comment. Joe has the most valuable sense of all...(COMMON)

    February 20, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    Point being: Assault weapons – which is the Democrats' buzz-word – were outlawed to civilian possession in 1934 and AGAIN in 1968.
    Outlawed to civilian possession.
    How, then, are Democrats going to "outlaw" them again?
    Your information sources are seriously flawed. Neither law has been repealed, and the scope of each is different. The ban instituted in 1934 prohibited fully automatic weapons, like "Tommy Guns", which are the stereotypical machine guns you see in old gangster movies from that era.

    The 1968 ban mostly outlawed the carrying of some of types weapons in public, not the ownership or purchase. It was a knee jerk reaction to events of the day. People could walk into a public building, like a courthouse, carrying guns, rifles, all kinds of stuff. It was all good and a-okay until members of the Black Panthers starting attending trials for fellow members carrying intimidating hardware. The Kennedy assisnation was the real clincher, though. The law has not been repealed to my knowledge. You can still be prohibited from entering private and publicly owned buildings armed and dangerous.

    It's good to see and hear from you again, Mr. Wilson. You can call me Dennis.

    February 20, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. USVET

    @DrewVA – Not if you use frangible bullets.

    February 20, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. vbscript2

    LOL – Yeah, great idea Biden. Has he ever actually used either a shotgun or an AR-15? I'm pretty sure a double-barrel 12-gauge has more recoil and is not easier to aim than an AR-15. Also, assuming you store your guns unloaded, it's a lot faster to attach the mag to a rifle than to load individual shells into a shotgun. You don't usually have a lot of time if someone is breaking into your home. You also don't always have the advantage of knowing that they're about to enter your home before they actually do.

    February 20, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Dave

    wireknob...where in the article does he say fire shotgun into the air? Like many who protest, you seem to make up your own facts. Someone tries to break into your house, you grab shotgun, aim (at intruder), and fire...they will stop in their attempt. Unless you have a large gang determined to break in for some reason, even a single barrel will do the job. Me personally, I love the old Mossberg pump...increased chance of non-experienced person hitting target, with much reduced chance of accidentally killing a neighbor or family member nearby. I spent 8 years in the army infantry... dozens of armed individuals charging at you hell bent on doing us harm, I would prefer my m16 or m60...but at my home having potentially deter or stop a couple of criminals, shotgun is much better option. I keep a couple bernanke rounds in my speed loader as well. If you want to prevent criminal from getting a way, fire one of those into their engine block…they won’t be going anywhere.

    February 20, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Uri Nation

    When the National Guard comes to your front door to see what kind of weapons you own, they will show up with something more than double barrel shotguns.

    February 20, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Wilson

    It's good to see and hear from you again, Mr. Wilson. You can call me Dennis.
    So, if I'm responding to you directly you want me to call you Dennis?
    By the way, you are correct, neither law has been repealed so "assault" weapons are still banned, and have been since 1968. Are you saying the difference is that Democrats today are not only wanting to ban the "assault" weapons in public, but outlaw ownership all together? That is even more wrong, especially since the weapons they want to ban, do not fit the definition of "assault" weapons.

    February 20, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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