Talking to a reporter for Parents magazine, Joe Biden made a very interesting statement regarding the use of two specific kinds of firearms as defensive tools.
Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Americans don’t need semi-automatic weapons to protect their homes because a couple of blasts from a shotgun will scare off intruders.
“Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun,” the vice president encouraged those worried about defending themselves. He was speaking in an online video as part of a Facebook town hall hosted by Parents Magazine on the administration’s strategy for reducing gun violence, which he has led at the direction of President Barack Obama.
Biden said he keeps two shotguns and shells locked up at home and he’s told his wife, Jill, to use them if she needs protection. He presumably was speaking about before he became vice president, a position that gives the couple full-time Secret Service protection.
“I said, `Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony … take that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,”‘ Biden said. “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.”
I unpacked the legal ramifications of Biden’s advice at PJ Media, which is that if you do as the Vice President instructed his wife, you’ll most likely end up in prison for committing a felony. It was horrible, frankly stupid advice from a legal perspective.
What I didn’t do in that post however, was answer the question of whether or not the Vice President was correct in his assertion that:
“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.”
In the photo above, President Barack Obama fires a double-barrel shotgun like the kind the Vice President suggested for self defense.
The simple fact of the matter is that this kind of shotgun is not designed for self defense. The high-end shotguns preferred as status symbols by the political elite are often hand-fitted to the individual shooter, and cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, the 28-gauge Perazzi favored by former Vice President Dick Cheney probably cost between $20,000-$40,000. These firearms are works of art, highly polished, jeweled, and engraved.
Less ornate versions of these firearms exist, of course, but a quick glace at the current listings on GunBroker.com suggest that prices in the 2,000+ range are common for the kind of shotgun that the Vice President has at his home.
As I said before, these sporting arms are not made of defense; if they are designed to kill anything, this is it.
Double barreled over/unders like the kind Biden talks about are also used to kill slightly larger birds like pheasants, and the occasion clay pigeon, but that is about it.
The have long barrels of typically 24-32 inches, and are designed to (primarily shoot low-brass, lower-powered shot for hollow-boned, thin-skinned birds weighed in ounces.
This is an AR-15.
The AR-15 is the most common centerfire rifle sold in the United States and has been for a number of years. Contrary to the Vice President’s assertion, it is easy to aim, easy to fire, the recoil is next to non-existent. As an Appleseed instructor, I see people of every age, size and shape come to our events with AR-15s, and I have repeatedly seen petite teenaged girls shoot expert “Rifleman” scores with these firearms.
To put these points in a list, here is the skinny on the AR-15 vs. 12-gauge double barrel shotgun:
- AR-15 is more easily adjustable for shooters of different sizes
- AR-15 has far less recoil
- AR-15 is more controllable shot-to-shot
- AR-15 has larger magazine capacity
- Ar-15 is faster to reload
- AR-15 is as easy to aim, and depending on the sights and optics chosen, can actually be more intuitive
- AR-15 has much longer practice range: 400 yards for an average shooter versus 40 yards
- AR-15 using any round is less likely to under-penetrate than a double-barreled shotgun using birdshot. Dick Cheney shot his 78-year-old friend in the face at 30 yards and the gentleman was discharged from the hospital within the week
- AR-15 using hollowpoinst or frangible ammunition are less likely to over-penetrate than a double-barreled shotgun using buckshot or slugs
The AR-15 is a far superior self-defense firearm for anyone over a double-barrel shotgun.
Vice President Biden is wrong on the law, wrong on the guns, and wrong on the facts.