Sexist or Just Stupid? Biden’s Shotgun Advice Triggers Criticism

150px-shotgunaction225px-joe_biden_official_photo_portrait_2-croppedVice President Joe Biden latest controversial statement has produced some interesting criticism. Biden was asked recently if the ban on certain guns would put people at risk. He responded by encouraging people to buy shotguns and fire them out the window. It was pretty dim-witted advice since that would be illegal, but is it sexist as well as stupid?

A women at a Parents Magazine town hall as Biden “Do you believe that banning certain weapons and high capacity magazines will mean that law-abiding citizens will then become more of a target to criminals as we will have no way to sufficiently protect ourselves?”

Biden immediately did what he does best: put his foot in his mouth and then shoot himself in the foot. Biden chuckled and responded: “As I told my wife — we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded — I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,’” Biden said. “I promise you whoseever [sic] coming in is not gonna — 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.”

kate ernest america live-cropped-proto-custom_28Kate Ernest later went on Fox and said that Biden sounded sexist: “I think it was poor advice and it comes off a little sexist. Like, ‘let me tell you what you need’ versus, you know, ‘arm yourself or protect yourself in a way that you feel necessary.” Really. You ask Biden for advice on guns. He gives you advice on guns and then you say it was sexist to “tell you what you need.”

No it was not sexist, Ms. Ernest, just stupid.

As a torts professor and criminal defense attorney, I can assure you that firing a shotgun out your window or porch is both illegal and negligent. State laws and regulations strongly reinforce the need to have a clear target or view in shooting a weapon and do not countenance shooting blindly out of window, even on private property or in rural areas. Yes, you may to scare off a prowler as well as gun down your neighbor. If his wife were to follow Biden’s sage advice, she would be looking at possible criminal charges for aggravated menacing, reckless endangerment, and other crimes in Delaware and other states. She would also be subject to tort liability for negligence, assault, and possible battery or wrongful death. It is not generally considered reasonable mistaken self-defense to fire a weapon out a window to scare off the neighbors. Indeed, not long ago, a prosecutor was arrested for such a warning shot.

Now, the Ms. Biden’s possible defense is strengthened by the fact that he described his home as being “wooded and somewhat secluded.” Moreover a shotgun pellet has a shorter trajectory than a bullet. However, we have people hit every year by folks who think they can harmless fire guns in rural areas or in the air. This includes police officers, mail carriers, and others who lawfully come on to property as well as common trespassers in rural areas who cut across land like the recent tragic case in Oregon.

Source: ABA Journal and TPM

175 thoughts on “Sexist or Just Stupid? Biden’s Shotgun Advice Triggers Criticism”

  1. Darren:

    that is going to be a problem in the future. If the lights ever go out and you need to go old school.

    But then how many people know how to harpoon a sperm whale by hand or to use a hammer and chisel to make a hole for dynamite?

    Why do we need to write in cursive anymore? And who uses clay tablets for writing?

    A simple compass gave way to the sextant and the sextant has given way to GPS. GPS will give way to something better.

  2. OS:

    What havent you done? I imagine you are very popular to have drinks with. It sounds like the stories would be well worth the price of the libations.

    We used to stay at the Holiday Inn in Bristol when we went to visit our son at college in TN. We always used to stop at the Bass Proshop in Knoxville and have lunch at the bar and watch the fish. What a place.

    On our way to TN one time we stopped in Bristol during the races thinking we were going to get a room. The Holiday Inn wanted 300+ for a night. We kept driving.

    When I graduated from college I got an interview with a construction company in the same town where Bass started, I knew I wasnt getting a job when he told me to go see the Bass Pro shop so my trip wasnt wasted. It is amazing how far they have come in 26 years, Bass Pro-Shops.

    It is very nice country down there and my wife and I have thought seriously about retiring there. Somewhere between Johnson City and Knoxville.

    Funny story, we stopped at a gas station right near the Bass Proshop and asked the person where so and so town was, the woman said she had never heard of it and we drove off to get back on I-40. When you make the left turn on to I-40 heading toward Bristol, there is a sign that says so and so town 14 miles. Some people live insular lives.

  3. Darren,
    My friend Kelley has been ragging me about writing my memoirs. I guess I am going to have to sit down and do it. Kelley said it was important to my daughters and to my grandson, otherwise my memories will die with me. I have had a full and varied life. When I look back at it, I have been more than blessed in many ways, and not just in the religious sense. I still have stuff on my bucket list, but some of my experiences haunt me.

  4. Otteray:

    Sorry for your losses at the base. I can’t imagine with any degree of first hand knowledge as to what it would be like to have experienced that many so suddenly. Cold war realities. It is certainly one thing that anyone under 25 isn’t going to relate to. Maybe that is a good thing that they don’t have to.

    I’m sure notwithstanding it was quite an experience to be a part of those silos. It is certainly a narrow piece of history for which few can really understand first hand.

    Some of these experiences are becoming less and less available. Simple things can be lost in time. My wife and I spent a weekend at a B&B in Victoria, BC. The proprieter of the B&B was a retired Canadian Merchant Marine Officer. Up to a certain point he was stationed on an icebreaker over the Northern part of Canada and he relied on Celestial Navigation because at that time there were no LORAN stations up there. Certainly that is a dying art. A friend’s father in law retired from the railroad as a telegrapher. Another of such

  5. Darren,
    I rummaged around YouTube and found this. It is still photos taken by a tourist during his tour of the Titan II museum in Arizona. Watching this was a very strange experience for me. The things in the photos is familiar, and old memories came flooding back. I bet I could still find my way around in there even if they turned off all the lights.

    There is no way I can communicate to anyone how I felt the morning I got up to hear news bulletins about the Searcy, accident. This is going to sound really weird, but that was my favorite of all the silos. Strange, isn’t it? They are all alike, but I liked that silo best. Each one of them had its own personality. Reading that sentence back, it sounds as if I have taken leave of my senses, but it is true. When I think of all those men who died down there, needlessly, and think of their families, it becomes personal and emotional.

  6. Darren,
    Titan II. We had two tragedies in Arkansas. We had 18 sites scattered around the state. I worked in the engineering department doing design work and converting government specification gibberish into working drawings. The news story about the Searcy, AR accident is completely wrong. It said they were converting a Titan I to a Titan II silo. It was never a Titan I silo; they were just doing equipment upgrades and progressive maintenance. I ought to know, I was down in it enough times.

    This is about the silo at Searcy. That fire should never have happened in the first place.

    This is about the missile blowing up at Damascus, AR.

  7. Otteray:

    I read recently on one of the blog posts that you worked at a missle silo. Was that a Titan base by chance? There was one such silo outside of Royal City, WA in the district I worked at the Sheriff’s Office. I had a few occasions to go into that one, though unfortunately most of it was flooded out. It surely was a bit of an oddity to go in to.

  8. RE: the call center to which you refer. I understand. Let’s just leave it at that.

  9. I had a client in Kingsport a few years ago; she worked in a bank call center. I think that’s close to your neighborhood. I sued Central Transport over a trucking company bankruptcy out of Kingsport a few decades ago . . . King Trucking, King Transport, something like that.

  10. Porkchop,
    Otteray is the Cherokee word for the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don’t live all that far from the Bristol Motor Speedway.

  11. Bron,

    BTK . . . it does have a ring to it. I seem to remember a guy in Kansas . . .


    Where is “over”, by the way?

  12. Bron/Porkchop,
    Wish you could come over for a social visit when my son and DiL come up for a visit. He could tell you some tales (many funny, most not) of the many ways people manage to mangle or kill themselves with everyday objects.

    Back when I worked at the missile base, one of the construction crew carpenters managed to cut off his thumb with a table saw. How he did it is a long story, but it was the result of violating about ten rules of saw safety. The thumb was still attached to his hand by a strand of skin. I was the person closest to him. I grabbed a cardboard box, and scooped up a couple of handfuls of sawdust, throwing the sawdust in the box. The construction shed was next to the parking lot, so I did not wait for the ambulance. I tied a rag around his lower arm for a tourniquet, practically threw him in the car and put the box in the floorboard between his feet. Told him to bleed into the sawdust and not my car. I got him to the hospital at about twice the speed limit. Amazingly the ER doctors were able to reattach his thumb. Almost every accident or fatality involving guns, or any other kind of hardware, is the result of somebody cutting corners or doing something truly stupid.

    Unfortunately, stupidity and bad judgment is a universal human trait. There is one upside. It keeps people like Porkchop, my son, and me employed.

  13. OS/Porkchop:

    you guys are good. I am very interested in what BTK has to say. I am thinking his middle name is Theodore. Has a ring to it actually; Robert Theodore Kauten.

    The other reason is he killing me with his argument.

  14. Porkchop,
    I have not read the proposed legislation, but two friends of mine who did read it sent me the information. I got two separate emails with almost identical reports. According to my friends, the legislation proposes making it either difficult or impossible for private citizens to make guns or ammunition. I don’t know if that provision is still in there or not. It was so resoundingly stupid, somebody may have explained it to her and she amended it.

    Do you remember the incident involving that little girl making a coast-to-coast cross country flight to get in the Guinness Book of World Records? Of course she had a qualified flight instructor with her, but she was doing the flying herself. They crashed shortly after takeoff. Not too long after that, there were Congressional hearings about aviation safety. Among the witnesses were several officials from the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA). I watched some of the hearings on television, and it was painful.

    I cannot remember if it was a Senate or House investigation, but one of the congresscritters went on a rant about requiring all airplanes be equipped with a device so the instructor could disable the left side (pilot’s) controls in case of emergency. The (then) AOPA president looked like somebody slapped him with a dead mackerel. How does one tell a member of the US Congress they are too dumb to walk and breathe at the same time?

    He behaved himself better than I would have, explaining, using a tone of voice similar to a kindergarten teacher. The proposal was technically possible, but impractical. He gave example of adding weight, be prohibitively expensive and there would be too many opportunities for such a device to malfunction, such as disengaging a pilot controls during takeoff or landing. That whole hearing and the attending media circus was the result of a single tragic accident involving a cute little girl.

    I have written before about how easy it is to make gunpowder. Only three basic ingredients: charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). The best charcoal for gunpowder is made from willow. Potassium nitrate is a simple fertilizer, required for plant growth. This is high school chemistry, not rocket science.

    Anyone with a turkey fryer and a handful of automobile wheel weights can make bullets.

    I have made several black powder guns, including a replica of an 1861 Navy Colt revolver. I also make knives, but no longer make my own blades. No blacksmith’s forge. In case of the Zombie Apocalypse, I suppose I could build a forge easily enough. Unless congress outlaws private owner ship of forges. After all, you can make deadly weapons with them.

    My head hurts.

  15. Porkchop,
    Apparently DiFi wants to outlaw private ownership of anything that can be used to manufacture guns or ammunition. Isn’t it cute when somebody who does not know the first thing about a subject has the hubris to draft draconian legislation to manage or control it?

    She can have my 16-speed machinist’s drill press when she pries it from my cold dead hands.

  16. OS —

    Thank you.

    Yes, someone really has gone off the deep end.

    On the Olympic front, you left out the non-projectile martial sports of judo, wrestling, boxing, and taekwondo, all of which are watered-down versions of martial arts that were intended to kill or maim (jujutsu, pankration, Roman boxing with the caestus, and various other Asian martial arts).

    Well, wrestling is about to go, though — apparently making way for golf. Gotta love the IOC.

  17. Bob Kauten sez: “GunNutism is the one true religion in this country.
    No amount of reasoning can talk people out of their religion. It’s not reasonable, it’s not rational.
    Murder is collateral damage of the one true religion.”


    OMFG! That has to be one of the most simple-minded thing I ever heard come from what I assume is a grown man.

    What Porkchop said. I could not have said it better. As for my family, we have an emergency room physician (son), a law enforcement officer (daughter), a registered nurse specializing in critical care (daughter in law), and the head nurse on a cancer unit (my late wife). We do not have an altar for guns in our house, do not make love to them, or pet them like a dog or cat. Everybody in our family regards a guns just as they do the table saw or jointer out in the shop. They are tools. Like any potentially dangerous tool, they must be respected. All must be handled with respect, and all safety rules observed.

    As for manufacturing devices whose sole purpose is to kill, as you put it, I have yet to hear your views on all those Olympic shooting events, which also include archery, spear (javelin) throwing and fencing. That fact alone gives the lie to your assertion that these are weapons which have no other purpose than to kill humans. BTW, some people hunt for food. Squirrels or deer keeps the freezer full.

  18. Well said, Bron.

    Bob Kauten:

    “No amount of reasoning can talk people out of their religion. It’s not reasonable, it’s not rational.”

    It’s pretty obvious what _your_ religion is.


    For reasons I have never really understood, anti-gun propagandists apparently really believe that the only thing that gun owners do when they are not shooting people at random is to think about guns, dream about guns, fantasize about guns, and fondle guns — you know, the loonies, the screwballs, and the ones who haven’t grown up.

    There may be such people out there, but I don’t know any, and I know a lot of gun owners. They are soccer moms and dads, youth basketball coaches, community volunteers; some are religious; some are not. Some have only a high school education; some have graduate degrees. Some are doctors and lawyers (me); some are in law enforcement (my son-in-law) or other public service positions (my daughter); some are craftsmen and artisans. They are stable, productive members of their communities.

    For the most part, we have all of our teeth and are literate, some in more than one language. Most don’t go shooting very often, because ammunition is expensive for any caliber over .22 — anywhere from $.30 to $1.00 or more per round, depending on the caliber and other characteristics.

    With some 100 million firearms in the United States, if they were all loonies, screwballs, and/or immature, firearms deaths should number in the millions every year, and the United States would be completely depopulated in a matter of a few decades. That doesn’t seem to be the trend, though.

    I have to go put together some furniture from Ikea, and then I am going to go finish reading Euripides’ Electra. Both are a whole lot more interesting than reading somebody’s rants on the internet or fondling my guns.

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