‘Buy a shotgun’ Biden tells worried mom

Gloria Borger's VP Biden Interview

(CNN) — Vice President Joe Biden explained the importance of gun safety to parents Tuesday with this analogy:

“You keep the cookies on the second shelf so they can’t reach and then grab them all the time. People should not be in a position where their children have access to weapons and ammunition,” he said.

He advocated for the gun violence reduction proposals President Barack Obama has advanced in an online chat on Tuesday sponsored by Parents Magazine. Biden answered questions submitted to the magazine by parents — including one question on how gun control could reduce individuals’ ability to defend themselves.

Repeating advice he’s offered previously, Biden again advocated for the shotgun in home defense.

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” he said. “Have the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun and I promise you — as I told my wife … ‘Jill, if there is ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever is coming in is not going to.’ “

The shotgun, he said, is more effective than an assault-style weapon such as the AR-15, which he said “is harder to aim, it is harder to use. … Buy a shotgun.”

Biden has become the Obama administration’s public face on gun control, first leading a group Obama tasked with meeting various stakeholders on the gun control issue and then promoting the platform in a series of ongoing public appearances. He will attend a gun violence conference on Thursday near Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 students and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

In the online chat, Biden said he does not favor constitutional amendments to refine or adjust the Second Amendment, which as the constitutional source of gun rights is cited by both proponents and opponents to make their cases.

“The constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally own,” Biden said in the online chat. “Now if that were not the case then you should be able to legally go buy a flamethrower that the military has; you should be able to go — if you’re a billionaire — buy an F-15 loaded with ordnance; you should be able to buy an M-1 tank; you should be able to buy a machine gun; you should be able to buy a grenade launcher.”

The limits are imposed for “public safety,” he said, and the Second Amendment allows space to “eliminate assault weapons and limit the number of shells or bullets in a magazine.”

An assault weapons ban proposed by Obama and several members of Congress, however, is not expected to pass. The president’s proposal also includes making background checks before gun sales universal, increasing police resources, and improving the mental health care and reporting system.

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