The question that Biden was attributed by the moderator of the online town hall to someone named Kate Earnest:
"Do you believe that banning certain weapons and high capacity magazines will mean that law-abiding citizens will then become more of a target to criminals as we will have no way to sufficiently protect ourselves?"
Biden chuckled, expressed his doubts and urged as he has in the past for home defenders to arm themselves with shotguns. Biden said he's told his wife, Jill, to "fire two blasts outside" from one of the family's double-barrel shotguns should there be any signs of trouble. (As a practical matter, Biden's Secret Service detail would likely be on top of the situation.) Overall, the moment was indicative of the role Biden has been playing since he White House began selling its gun violence reduction package to the public. Biden can often be found talking up the guns he owns and his personal ties to the Second Amendment.
The question closely echoed a recent web video from the NRA that questioned the call for a limit on the capacity of magazines. It's a policy Biden and the White House supports. According to Parents Magazine, Biden's doubtful tone may be right. The person who asked it may not actually read Parents Magazine.
"We had multiple posts on our Facebook page calling for questions to be submitted," said Colleen Schwartz, spokesperson for Parents. "So every single question came from our Facebook page. And if you go back in the video, they were all attributed to whomever asked them."
Anyone who visited Parents Magazine's public Facebook page could post a question that might be read on the town hall. Schwartz said the question from Earnest was not a rare one.
"Having looked at our Facebook page, there are multiple questions about that," she said. Asked if she thought gun rights groups had made a concerted effort to takeover the forum, Schwartz said "not that I know of at all."
Biden may have been skeptical of the question, but Schwartz said the magazine was thrilled with the online town hall.
"I think everybody was thrilled," she said. "It's a huge opportunity to sit down with the Vice President and ask him basically any question that you want."