Vice President Joe Biden made some news when he recommended women use a shotgun for self-defense, saying it’s easier to shoot than an AR-15 rifle, when actually the rifle kicks way less than a shotgun and is easier to control. Many women prefer the AR-15 for just that reason. He also implied the common myth that a shotgun is easier to hit with, when the reality is at close range the pellets do not spread enough to make a difference. But what really got people’s attention was when he related the advice he said he gave to his own wife. In the event of trouble outside their house, she was to go out on their balcony with a double barrel shotgun and “fire two blasts” (presumably up into the air). Now, there are a number of reasons why warnings shots are generally not a good idea, but the important thing to note here is that at this point his wife is standing on the balcony with an empty gun, and an easy target for anyone outside. His advice is tactically unsound to say the least. But it doesn’t end there. He later advised taking a shotgun and shooting through the door if someone is trying to get in. This violates one of the fundamental rules of gun handling: always be sure of your target and what’s behind it. People have made terrible mistakes violating this essential rule. Not too long ago a young athlete, Oscar Pistorius, shot and killed his girlfriend by shooting her through the bathroom door in their apartment in South Africa.
You would think someone as high up in government as the vice president, who was instrumental in crafting the original “assault weapons” ban of 1994, and currently happens to be heading the president’s task force on “gun control” would know a little bit more about guns. (Last I heard he was still talking about “clips” when he really means “magazines,” even though a clip is quite different.) But this is what we’ve come to expect. It is typical of the people drafting and passing laws affecting guns and gun owners. They are by turns careless, negligent, ignorant, and reckless. They are fighting against something they do not understand and do not care to. We can expect more of the same.
Now, we might say Biden is just being gaffe-prone as usual, or that maybe he’s deliberately toying with the members of the gun culture, trying to get their goat and stir up anger and vitriol, thinking it’ll help make his job easier. It’s possible, but doubtful. (One thing we can say in his favor is he’s a politician who says what he thinks.) Learning the rules of gun handling, and the law as it pertains to deadly force, just isn’t relevant in his world, and I don’t think he feels the need to understand people for whom it is relevant and important. All he needs to know is how to pass laws in support of the ideology he serves.
Odysseus M Tanner