Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - Vice President Biden has a little advice for those critics of the administration's push to ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition clips who say such measures will make it more difficult to defend themselves: Buy a shotgun.
Speaking with Parents Magazine in a Facebook town hall on Tuesday, Biden said that he has advised his wife, Jill - if she ever has the need to protect herself at their home in Wilmington, Del. - that a double-barrel shotgun should be her weapon of choice.
"I said, 'Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here ... walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house," Biden said.
The vice president went on to explain that popular assault weapons, such as the AR-15, are less useful for self-defense.
"You don't need an AR-15 - it's harder to aim, it's harder to use, and in fact you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself," he said.
In the interview, Biden, who has been President Obama's point man on shepherding the White House's gun-control agenda, reiterated that he and the president are supporters of Second Amendment rights. But he also argued that the Constitution allows for the government to set limits on weaponry for the public good.
"How can I say this politely?" said Biden, who noted his surprise at some of the questions that were culled from Parents Magazine readers. "The Constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can own. Now if that were not the case, then you should be able to go buy a flame thrower like the military ... if you're a billionaire you should be able to buy an F-15 ... 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, and you can't do those things."
Biden said that even if all of the president's agenda is implemented, it won't be an immediate cure-all for gun violence. But he argued the limitations are analogous to the ban on leaded gasoline implemented over nearly a quarter-century, suggesting that the tighter gun laws could have greater impact over time.
"It will not solve the whole problem, but we shouldn't continue to make (the same) mistakes," Biden said.