Joe Biden on Shotguns, Safeguards, and Smart Parenting

'We're Talking About Making It Safer for Our Children'

Safety and Self-Defense: "Buy a Shotgun"
Safety and Self-Defense: "Buy a Shotgun"

Kate Ernest has the next question. She asks, "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?"

Is this Parents magazine? I have Parents magazine in my home. I've never heard anybody in Parents magazine ask these kinds of questions. But I'm delighted to answer them. First of all, Kate: If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun. Have the shells of 12-gauge shotgun, and I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded, I said, "Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barrel shotgun, and fire two blasts outside the house." I promise you, whoever is coming in is not going to.

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. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.

Existing Guns & Illegal Guns
Existing Guns & Illegal Guns

Ellen Seidman, a blogger for, asks a question about guns that are already out there: "Some people say that gun control isn't going to help, given all the guns that are already out there. What do you say to naysayers like that?"

We're not talking about gun control; we're talking about gun safety. We're talking about making it safer for our children. I was around a long time ago when we were taking lead out of gasoline. There were a lot of cars like my car, a 1967 Corvette I had as a young man, still have it, it runs better on leaded gasoline. There were millions of cars on the road in the early 70s when we banned lead in gasoline. Everyone said, "Why would you do that? You still have all these cars out there, all these cars out there, that use leaded gasoline, and have to use, leaded gasoline for the engines to function." The answer was, over time, over time, they will be off the market.

The idea of not making us healthier by saying from this point on you can't have lead in gasoline is a little like saying, if in fact we know that magazines with 30 clips in them are of no value whatsoever in terms of your physical safety -- you can get by with 10 rounds in a clip, you can get by with a shotgun -- therefore why not just keep these multiple magazines out there? Why not just keep them going? It will not solve the whole problem.

But the truth of the matter is we shouldn't continue to make mistakes if we in fact acknowledge that having that young man who was in a movie theater in Colorado, having a shell case magazine that could hold 100 rounds -- so I just think there are a lot of rational things we can do that will increase the prospect that fewer people would be the victim of gun violence. And we should do them.

And what about illegal guns? Don Stoeckel asks about illegally obtained weapons and what specifically you are going to do about getting those off the streets?

Well, there are three or four things. One is, that, to keep more from going on to the streets, we believe there should be universal background checks. Everyone who purchases a weapon has to have a background check. Universal. Everyone. It's estimated, and there's no hard data, that 40% of all the weapons purchased today are purchased by avoiding a background check. That should end, number one.

Number two: We think that, in fact, there should be a national gun trafficking legislation. When you go to your local police officer, your police chief in the town you live in, big or small, he will tell you the vast majority of the weapons recovered at a crime scene are either stolen weapons, and/or they have been "lost" or stolen. One of the things we think should be required is everyone who loses a weapon should be required to report it, that they lost the weapon. Or that, in fact, the weapon was stolen, they should say that it was stolen, helping the police be able to trace the gun found at a crime scene to get to the criminal by following through with the serial number that -- from the manufacturer, they exist already in the law -- to determine who had possession of that gun, who committed the crime.

There are a number of things in a federal gun trafficking law that will help us deal with these stolen and lost weapons that are the ones used by and acquired by criminals. We may find that not all of them are stolen. Maybe they're illegally being sold on the side. Maybe they're in fact not lost, maybe they were given to the criminal. And so there's a number of things we can do to impact upon the use of weapons that are not legally purchased, or stolen or lost, in the hands of criminals.

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