"Just Fire the Shotgun Through the Door"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 27 2013 4:44 PM

"Just Fire the Shotgun Through the Door"

I was late to the bandwagon on Vice President Biden's allegedly controversial Google+ hangout, the one where he told women to "buy a shotgun" and "shoot it in the air" to ward off brigands. But I won't be late to this Field and Stream interview.

I did one of these town-hall meetings on the Internet and one guy said, “Well, what happens when the end days come? What happens when there’s the earthquake? I live in California, and I have to protect myself.”
I said, “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” Most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and in terms of their ability to deter people coming. We can argue whether that’s true or not, but it is no argument that, for example, a shotgun could do the same job of protecting you. Now, granted, you can come back and say, “Well, a machine gun could do a better job of protecting me.” No one’s arguing we should make machine guns legal.
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We're getting away from this, but the "women need lots of bullets to fend of swarming gangs" meme was a highlight of the early gun control debate. It was furthered by no less an authority than Sen. Lindsey Graham.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.