Joe Biden recently fired off both barrels when asked a question about guns and self defense. He said, “Kate,if you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun, have the shells, a 12-gauge shotgun.”
This is the same advice he gave his wife, Jill: “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’ … 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!”
While Joe is often cast as a loose shotgun, his remarks are actually quite rational in two ways. First, he is right about shotguns. Second, while his remarks seem a bit wacky, they will held the administration.
Getting to the first point, Joe is right that a shotgun is a good choice for home defense. As he notes, a shotgun is very easy to aim-just point it towards the target and the pellet spread (assuming you are using shot rather than a slug) will probably hit the target. Shotguns also do good damage against unarmored targets, such as the typical intruder. He doesn’t mention that the pellets from a shotgun have less range and penetration power than rifle and even pistol bullets, but for home defense that is generally good. After all, a rifle bullet can shoot through walls (even exterior walls) and hit an innocent person in the next room, next house or even the next block.
His remark about firing a blast off the balcony is a bit wacky, but it does make a certain amount of sense-after all, if you can scare someone away without shooting them, that is probably good for everyone involved. Best not to use both barrels, though-unless you can reload quickly. Of course, shooting a gun off into the air could raise some legal problems and there is the obvious concern about where the pellets will fall.
In regards to the second point, Joe’s seemingly off-message remarks are actually useful for making the administration seem to be limited in its intentions regarding guns. That is, when Joe says “buy a shotgun!”, that is hardly anti-gun. Rather, he makes the point that he is not against guns in general but against assault rifles.
This may seem like an odd position-after all, he lauded the power of the shotgun as a defense weapon. However, it could be claimed that his position does make sense. After all, a person using a double-barreled shotgun will not be able to shoot as fast as a person with an AR-15 and this would, presumably, have a chance of reducing the damage done by a person in a mass shooting. Of course, it could be countered that a person armed with a shotgun could kill people fairly quickly and perhaps even more easily. After all, if a shotgun is easier to use, then someone who is not a good shot could actually do more damage with a shotgun than with a rifle or pistols.