America’s “Happy Warrior”, Vice-President Joe Biden, was as entertaining as ever in his Google+ hangout on gun reform today. “If you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells,” he said, in response to a question about assault weapons bans. We’ve compiled the best of Biden’s Hangout, with special attention to his video game comments.
On The Assault Weapons Ban
“A shot gun will keep you a lot safer–a double-barrell shotgun–than an assault rifle in somebody’s hands who doesn’t know how to use it…It’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit someone than it is a shotgun,” said the Veep in response to a question about why its important to have assault weapons in the hypothetical case of a natural disaster that plunges America into a chaotic dystopia.
“If you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.”
On His “Interpretation” Of the Second Amendment
“My interpretation of the Second Amendment,” he explained, “it is an individual right, not a corporate right, no related to a militia, you have an individual right to own a weapon both for recreation–for hunting– and also for your self-protection.”
Continuing, “But, just as you don’t have an individual right to by an F-15, if you’re a billionaire, with ordinance on it, just like you don’t have the right to buy an M1 tank, just like you don’t have the right to buy an automatic weapon, those judgements have been made that there are no reasonable societal justifications or constitutional justifications for owning them”
“There is no sporting need that I’m aware of to have a magazine that holds 50 rounds, none that I’m aware, and I’m a sportsman”.
On Internet Celebrities
Before YouTube celebrity Phil DeFranco asked a question, he joked that the VP was probably not aware of him or his show. “Actually i have seen it, I wish I had your hair”.
On Video Games
“There’s no hard data on whether these excessively violent video games, in fact, cause people to engage in behavior that is antisocial, including using guns,” he said, referencing a noted American Academy of Pediatrics review of research that violent video games are strongly associated with aggressive behavior. “They didn’t make the next connection saying that leads to violent behavior, but there’s no studies done,” Biden concludes.
I do agree with the fact that the preponderance of evidence does show a convincing link between actual physical aggression and violent video games.
It’s also true that there’s no good causal evidence showing a link between violence and video games (just physical aggression, like yelling and kicking), but that’s mainly because the relatively smaller population of gun offenders makes it difficult to do experimental and large-scale research. Also, even if a link were found, there’s no clear way that legislation could stop games getting into the hands of kids anyways.
Still, I agree with Biden that it couldn’t hurt to do more research.
On Interest Group Extremism
“Part of the Interest group population out there is afraid of facts”, he said, “let the research be done.”
“You’ll hear the NRA say, well, that might not be so bad, but its a slippery slope…if you allow that to happen then next thing you know, you’ll call for firearms registration, gun registration, and you’re going to be able to confiscate my weapon, etc.”
On His Family’s History With Guns
“There is a legitimate, respected, and I think as old as the country, culture of gun ownership in America. My dad was a hunter. My dad had a gun case full of some fairly valuable weapons. He had some hard times, he had to sell them when I was a kid. I own two shotguns, my son owns shotguns.”
Then, in rare form, he regaled the audience with a story of an old woman who showed him her guns, ” ‘Come on, let me show you mine’. And, she’s out there, and she’s firing a shotgun at a barn. And she’s 78-years-[old]. She said, ‘My daddy gave me this gun’. It’s a legitimate and respected tradition.”
While not very quote worthy, the Vice President did make some compelling arguments on school safety and magazine limits. Rather than give teachers guns, we should have professional guards that develop a relationship with students and the community. Additionally, teachers will be trained to spot disturbed individuals, through “Project Aware”.
Additionally, he says that limits on the amount of ammunition a gun can hold could save lives. Speaking about the shooting that left Representative Gabby Giffords with permanent brain damage, the shooter was tackled when he was forced to reload the gun clip. Other mass shootings have had similar incidences. Biden argued that if magazine limits could save one life, it would be enough to justify a new law.
Joe Biden is on a digital hotstreak. Earlier this month, one of his tweets went viral when he referenced The Onion’s TransAm driving parody (below) of him. Once again, Joe Biden won the Internet.
Office of VP Biden (@VP) January 18, 2013