Skip to main content

Biden's 'shot-gun' remarks spur social media flurry

By David Ariosto, CNN
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Biden's comments were meant to underscore the position that shotguns were sufficient for defense
  • "So when the cops come to arrest me for shooting off the porch, I can tell 'em Joe said it's ok," wrote one online user
  • The Obama administration has been pressing for gun reforms since the massacre in Newtown

New York (CNN) -- Social media lit up Wednesday with reactions to Vice President Joe Biden's off-the-cuff remarks about fending off a would-be home intruder.

But unlike most debates about gun control, on which Biden is leading a White House task force, the online commentary largely centered on the advice he apparently once gave his wife.

"I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here ... put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house," Biden said during an online question-and-answer session Tuesday.

His comments were likely intended to underscore the position that shotguns were sufficient for self-defense, rather than high-capacity or semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15. But they also unleashed a torrent of online reaction after conjuring up the image of Jill Biden hypothetically firing off rounds outside the vice president's home in Delaware.

The NRA's case against new gun laws

"So when the cops come to arrest me for shooting off the porch, I can tell 'em Joe said it's ok," wrote one online user.

"The scariest part about his whole statement is that he is encouraging people to blindly fire off rounds at unknown noises and in unknown directions," said another.

NRA ramps up campaign against proposed gun control measures

The Obama administration has called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to expand background checks to anyone buying a gun.

But the White House has met stiff opposition from congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association, a powerful lobby group that opposes new regulations governing firearms.

"You don't need an AR-15," said Biden in the online forum. "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."

Online commentary was mixed in response.

"An AR-15 (is) easier to shoot than a shotgun, there's less recoil in a .223 than a 12 gauge," wrote one online user. "A shotgun is not for everybody. Even in smaller (gauges), the recoil is too much for many people, and buckshot isn't nearly as precise as a rifle shot," wrote another.

Obama: Overcoming violence hard, but can be done

Others hailed the benefits of a shotgun because "it doesn't need to be aimed precisely" and that "one or two shots should do the trick."

"It's safer than pistols re: accidents at home, especially involving children," wrote one user. "Unfortunately, there are too many GUN NUTS out there w/vivid imaginations... who lie awake at night thinking up imaginary dangers."

In the online chat, Biden said he does not favor constitutional amendments to adjust the Second Amendment, which is cited by both proponents of and those opposed to new gun regulations.

But, he said, the Constitution "does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally own."

The limits are imposed for "public safety," Biden said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday the nation needs to take sensible, common sense action to try to reduce "the scourge of gun violence in this country."

He declined to further comment on Biden's remarks, though he added that the vice president is a law-abiding gun owner who has both a 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotgun locked up in a safe in his Delaware home.

The Obama administration has been pressing for gun reforms since the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where an AR-15-wielding gunman killed six adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.

Gun violence plans: What's in the works

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords co-authors a piece discussing the lethal mix of domestic violence and guns.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
Gun rights and gun control advocates largely agree there should be restrictions on mentally ill people obtaining firearms.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
Six months after a gunman burst into an elementary school and slaughtered 20 children and killed six others, promises of stricter national gun control laws remain largely unfulfilled.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Next time there's a mass shooting, don't jump to blame the NRA and lax gun laws. Look first at the shooter and the mental health services he did or didn't get.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
The sign at the door of the Colt factory displays a gun with a slash through it. Makes sense for workers at a plant, ironic considering one of the largest arsenals in America lies just beyond.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Much attention has been paid to the defeat in Congress of proposals to ban assault weapons and expand background checks for firearm purchases.
June 29, 2013 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Morgan Spurlock's "Inside Man" gives an in-depth look at the issue of firearms -- as viewed from behind the counter of a gun store.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1728 GMT (0128 HKT)
The Supreme Court continued its recent hands-off approach on gun control, refusing to accept a challenge to New Jersey's restrictions on carrying weapons in public.
April 18, 2013 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
The Senate defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
As Congress grapples with major gun control legislation proposals, families write about the people they loved and lost to gun violence and how it changed their lives.
April 11, 2013 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
Hear from both sides of the gun debate as opinions clash.
May 1, 2013 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
It was a bit awkward the first time Kate Daggett asked the question.
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1341 GMT (2141 HKT)
Many Americans and lawmakers are in favor of continuing or expanding background checks on gun purchases, but few understand how the checks work.
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 1935 GMT (0335 HKT)
Still stinging from the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers approved what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation.
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
It took fewer than five minutes for Adam Lanza to squeeze off 154 rounds, upending life in Newtown, Connecticut, and triggering a renewed national debate over gun control.
Who should get them? Join the gun control debate and share your perspective on CNN iReport.
April 2, 2013 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Before having children, she was a firm believer that guns were dangerous. Now this mother of three has a different perspective.
March 19, 2013 -- Updated 2254 GMT (0654 HKT)
In the biggest fight over firearms since December's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, gun-control advocates are poised to notch a victory in an unlikely place.
A former drug addict turned anti-violence crusader, and a man who lost his father in a temple shooting. These are just two of many in the conversation.
February 1, 2013 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
At a town hall that brought all sides of the gun debate together, was there a consensus? Sort of.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1551 GMT (2351 HKT)
The federal background check system for gun buyers didn't stop a mentally ill man from buying a gun, which he used to kill his mother.
February 1, 2013 -- Updated 0037 GMT (0837 HKT)
In disputes over the future of gun laws, people espousing different positions often literally don't understand each other.
ADVERTISEMENT