It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than ten years since Joe Biden told Americans that they didn’t need an AR-15 or any other semi-automatic rifle for home defense because they could just fire a shotgun through a closed door (and violate one of the primary rules of gun safety in the process) if they thought someone was trying to break into their home.
Biden was widely mocked for those comments, but the real humiliation came a few weeks later when he was part of a live chat with Parents magazine on Facebook. The then-vice president revealed that he’d told his wife to walk outside their home and “fire two blasts” if she ever thought there was a problem, and asserted that modern sporting rifles are more difficult to aim and use than a good old-fashioned double-barreled 12-gauge. “Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun”, he instead declared; a statement that led to a flurry of viral posts on social media, including this gem.
You’d think with all the mockery that Biden received for those comments anti-gunners would be loathe to make that same comparison going forward, but one state senator in Virginia who opposed a semi-auto ban just three years ago before flipping to become one of its major supporters this session channeled his inner Grandpa Joe this week when offering up his own justification for banning commonly-owned rifles.
Senator Creigh Deeds is a Democrat from Charlottesville who says he rejects the idea that an assault weapon is needed for protection.
“A shotgun is liable to cause more noise and do more damage and is easier to control than an assault-style weapon that you lose control of once you pull the trigger,” he says. “Who knows what you shoot up? Who knows how many of your own family members you hurt? I think there are other ways to protect one’s property other than with an assault weapon.”
I wonder if Deeds ever actually shot an AR-15 or any of the other semi-automatic rifles he now wants to ban, because he’s either blatantly lying or is absolutely clueless about the recoil and function of a typical modern sporting rifle. I’m not too far from Charlottesville (where Deeds moved after the lines of his previous district changed so he could run for re-election in a safe blue seat), and I’d be happy to host him at the farm so he can see for himself that, just like every other semi-automatic firearm, one pull of the trigger discharges one round through the barrel, so you’re not going to lose control of the rifle when you take a shot. A rifle round also has a much smaller impact than a shotgun shell full of pellets, so if Deeds is concerned about errant rounds hitting family members he should be advocating for more modern sporting rifles instead of trying to legislate them out of existence.
Are there other ways to protect your property or your life besides an AR-15? Sure, but it’s not up to Deeds or any other prohibitionist to decide how we defend ourselves and our loved ones. If you want to use a handgun, that’s your right. If you want to take Biden’s advice and buy a shotgun, go for it. Heck, my wife’s home defense weapon of choice is a Smith & Wesson revolver, closely followed by her Henry lever-action rifle, and while neither of those are my preferred firearms to protect myself and my family, they’re what she’s most comfortable shooting.
Millions of Americans have decided that modern sporting rifles are the best choice for them, and Deeds and his fellow Democrats in Richmond have no right to declare those commonly-owned arms off-limits to lawful gun owners. I can’t believe this idiocy is what passes for a winning argument at the state capitol these days, but with Democrats in control of both chambers, these ridiculous arguments are growing increasingly common. If and when this gun ban bill gets to Gov. Glenn Youngkin, it’ll be up to him to apply some common sense and respect for the constitution by rejecting Deeds’ cockamamie take and using his veto pen to defend the Second Amendment rights of Virginians.