In gun debate, Biden cites paranoia, Ferraris
April 11th, 2013
12:39 PM ET
10 years ago

In gun debate, Biden cites paranoia, Ferraris

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden argued the National Rifle Association has had a role in driving up paranoia by spreading "disinformation" about recent proposals to combat gun violence, and said a large number of people own guns simply for the feel of a firearm in their hands.

As the Senate voted Thursday to proceed with gun legislation, Biden also pointed to recent polls in support of expanding the background check system and said the American public is way "ahead" of politicians on the issue.

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His comments came in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," just hours before the Senate decided in a 68-31 vote to overcome a GOP filibuster and continue what will likely be a wide-ranging and divisive debate on the gun bill.

While recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans favor the expansion of the background check system to include private transactions at gun shows and online, the NRA and other gun groups have strongly lobbied against the bill, saying it could lead to a national gun registry.

In fact, a CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday indicated a majority of Americans fear that increased background checks would lead to a federal registry of gun owners that could allow the government to take away legally owned weapons.

Biden, however, dismissed that idea and said "the one thing the NRA has done so well lately is the disinformation."

"This idea that there's a national registry, there's no place in the federal government where you can go–not a single place–and find out everybody who owns a gun. That will not change under this," he said.

The vice president has long been at the forefront of the Obama administration's push for tougher gun laws in the wake of the December shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.

Debate over gun control has ignited a firestorm on both sides of the issue in recent months, which came to a new height this week when the Senate reached a last-minute bipartisan agreement and voted to take up the gun bill.

Referring again to recent poll numbers, Biden expressed frustration that the public seems to be largely united on the subject yet Congress has been mired in debate.

"The public is so far ahead of the elected officials. I mean so far ahead. You saw it in immigration, you saw it in marriage issues. You see it now. The public has moved to a different place," he said.

He also noted what he described as a change in gun culture since he first worked on gun legislation as a senator in 1994. Back then, he argued, hunters comprised the only real constituency he dealt with on the gun rights side of the debate.

"(Now) there's a whole new sort of group of individuals who–I don't know what the numbers are–that never hunt at all but own guns for one of two reasons: self-protection or they just like the feel of an AR-15 at the range," he said, pretending to hold up a gun with both arms. "They like the way of the feel of it. They just, it's like driving a Ferrari."

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Joe Biden
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. much thunder..little rain

    Ferrari...really..come on uncle joe....

    April 11, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. 82ndABNVET

    I wish I could afford a Ferrari. Must be nice to be you MR VP.

    I can imagine what driving one feels like, but I assure you that what I imagine is way more comfortable than shooting an AR.

    An AR is a cold metal object, usually slinging CLP or other gun lube/cleaner and spraying burnt gun powder in the air. There is nothing luxurious about it. I might consider a quality 1911 semi-automatic .45ACP pistol the most luxurious gun.........but even, then...........

    And I dont understand this fasination with thinking that unless you are a hunter, you shouldnt own a gun. I mean I hunt, but I also enjoy target shooting and just plain plinking. Maybe one day I will get into compettitive shooting, but not until ammo prices come back down to earth.

    I bet the VP's personal shotgun costs more then my AR and all my other guns put together. Normal working folk, that pay half thier salary to taxes cant afford such things. Due to the high prices and lack of inventory on AR's, I built mine. I bet he hasnt built a thing in his life.

    April 11, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE

    An AR-15 is the civilian version of the M-16. It does not belong in civilian hands! And for the record, these are the senators who voted NAY:

    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Begich (D-AK)
    Blunt (R-MO)
    Boozman (R-AR)
    Coats (R-IN)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Cornyn (R-TX)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    Cruz (R-TX)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Fischer (R-NE)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Johanns (R-NE)
    Johnson (R-WI)
    Lee (R-UT)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Moran (R-KS)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Paul (R-KY)
    Portman (R-OH)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Rubio (R-FL)
    Scott (R-SC)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Vitter (R-LA)

    You should know there names so you can make an informed decision next November.

    April 11, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Larry in Houston

    I like Joe's last paragraph – – I haven't "hunted" for 30 years – If I want to eat meat – I go "krogering" but I still have my guns. LOL – only thing is: I don't own an a r 15 or whatever.

    April 11, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. John, PA

    @ Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Having been in the military and as an owner of an Remington 450 Bushmaster, Model R-15; the AR-15 is absolutely nothing like a M-16. I'd guess you never had either in your hands.

    April 11, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Name lynn

    When is these gun laws a what need to take place about the gun an back ground check.

    April 11, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. jsmoulder

    Thanks Dutch now i know to vote against both Senators from Missouri.

    April 11, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Larry L


    I wish I could afford a Ferrari. Must be nice to be you MR VP.
    Vice President Biden is second in command of the world's most powerful nation and should be compensated well for that responsibility. However, Joe's net wealth is under $400k – which doesn't include his retirement benefits. He doesn't own a Ferrari. As a Senator Joe rode public transportation to work. His kid is in the military and his wife still works. He grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood and worked to pay for his education. Don't let Fox News cloud your vision.

    Although "Building" an AR these days is fairly simple. I'm pretty certain the Vice President doesn't have the time. Unless you blueprint all mechanical parts and do significant work with the barrel, the finish, and the chambering, the uppers and lowers now come with so many after-market tweaks assembling a weapon is fast and relatively easy. But good for you – you saved some money. Give yourself a real challenge – buy an 80% finished stock blank, a quality barreled-action, and build a work of art like American gun-craftsmen have done for 200 years. Do the checkering, shaping, trigger-job, finishing, bluing, and all of the precision accuracy work. It's way slower than "building" and AR but the product is something unique.

    April 11, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Pandamonius

    @John, PA

    Having been in the military and actually used an M16, the AR-15 is extremely similiar in appearance and operation.

    April 11, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Larry L

    J S

    @John, PA

    @ Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Having been in the military and as an owner of an Remington 450 Bushmaster, Model R-15; the AR-15 is absolutely nothing like a M-16. I'd guess you never had either in your hands.
    You must have been a clerk in the Air Force. The AR-15 was the designation Stoner gave his rifle when he designed it. When the military adopts a weapon for military use, they give it a military designation (m-16). Many military rifles do not have a different civilian designation because they were designed and immediatly adopted by the military. This was not the case with the AR. The military passed on the AR, and Stoner took it to the civilian market for several years before convincing an Air Force General to purchase some for the base security. Eventually the AR 15 was adopted for full military service and designated the M-16.

    April 11, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE


    In fact, I am a veteran and the AR-15 is very similar to the M-16. What planet do you think people were born on?

    April 11, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |