In the weeks since President Obama rolled out his gun violence prevention plan, Vice President Biden has taken on the role of salesman, pushing the plan as part of a love for the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s ruling that individuals in America have a right to a gun.
On Thursday, Biden took his pitch one step further, reaching out to the hardest of the hardcore gun owner, the doomsday prepper. Asked to square his support for an assault weapons ban with view by some that their firearms will protect them if the world goes to hell, Biden said the two things worked perfectly. If the chips are down, Biden said, you’d much rather have a shotgun.“Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer — a double-barrel shotgun — than the assault weapon somebody’s hands who doesn’t know how to use it,” Biden, who owns two shotguns of his own, said during a Google+ hangout on gun violence. “You know, it’s harder to use an assault weapon and hit something than it is to use a shotgun, ok? So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.”
The full exchange about shotguns and earthquakes:
Biden’s view squared with that of many gun owners, who have long advocated shotguns as the ultimate home defense weapon.
“The 12-gauge combat shotgun has been called the most effective anti-personnel firearm invented,” read a May 17 article in American Rifleman about home defense. The magazine is published by the National Rifle Association.
To be sure, the article said other firearms make effective home defense weapons as well. But from a purely financial perspective, the article seemed to agree with Biden that shotguns are superior to so-called assault weapons when it comes to home defense.
“The other drawback to tactical rifles is the high price tag,” the article read. “In some cases, you can buy two or three defensive shotguns for the price of one tactical rifle.”
The home defense community and the prepper community are not one in the same; some preppers ready their families to deal with hordes of (maybe armed) people after it all goes down and prefer to be armed more like a military than a someone planning to stop a home invasion. But Biden’s readiness to discuss the prepper end of the firearms rights community is another example of selling Obama’s plan from a Second Amendment perspective.
The exchange over earthquakes and shotguns wasn’t the first time Biden addressed home defense during the hangout. Asked about his interpretation of the rights granted under Second Amendment, Biden said he fully believes personal defense is one of them.
“It is an individual right, not a corporate right, not related to a militia,” Biden said. “You have an individual right to own a weapon both for recreation, for hunting and also for your self-protection. You have an individual right to do that.” Biden said the right doesn’t extend to fighter jets, tanks and machine guns — and in his view, it doesn’t extend to assault weapons either.
“There should be rational limits on the type of weapon I can own that exceed the need for my protection or legitimate sporting activities,” he said.
Biden on his view of the Second Amendment: