Cartoon: By Eric Allie
Vice President Joe Biden seems to be presenting himself as a font of all knowledge on home defense of late. His first gem was to advise that the best way to deal with a home intruder was to go out on the balcony with a double barrel shotgun and fire a couple of shots into the air.
The first troubling aspect to this is that two shots from such a gun empties it and gives away your position, although Delaware crooks might not be as bright as some of the others. The second is that shots going into the air come down again and may cause injury to others, even shotgun pellets. It is also illegal:
“Attorneys in Delaware, where Mr. and Mrs. Biden make their home, said to do so would be illegal. It’s a felony reckless endangerment violation to fire a weapon into the air in the state.”
His latest pearl of wisdom is to advise potential victims to just fire the shotgun through the door:
V.P. BIDEN: Well, the way in which we measure it is—I think most scholars would say—is that as long as you have a weapon sufficient to be able to provide your self-defense. 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. …
Given that a strong door is your first line of defense, and is probably the only thing that will give you time to get your shotgun and load it, presumably the door is shut and locked. It would not be too smart to open it as the shotgun would then only be held with one hand and the villains could grab it quicker than Biden and Obama want to. It is reasonable therefore to assume that he is talking about firing through a closed door.
Oscar Pistorius appears to have done something similar to this in South Africa recently with tragic results, at least if his story is true. Here is what the spokesman for the South African Gun Owners' Association had to say on that:
Johannesburg attorney Martin Hood, who specializes in firearm law, said South African legislation allows gun owners to use lethal force only if they believe they are facing an immediate, serious and direct attack or threat of attack that could either be deadly or cause grievous injury.
According to Pistorius' own sworn statement read in court, he "did not meet those criteria," said Hood, who is also the spokesman for the South African Gun Owners' Association. "If he fired through a closed door, there was no threat to him. It's as simple as that," he added. "He can't prove an attack on his life ... In my opinion, at the very least, he is guilty of culpable homicide.”
Fortunately for any innocent person who happens to knock on the VP’s door, when he gets his double barrel shotty out, his secret service detail will disarm him before he does any serious damage.