Vice President Joe Biden is trying to assure survivalists and those preparing for doomsday that they will still be able to protect themselves in case of disaster even if assault weapons are banned because shotguns are more effective weapons for defense.
During a Google Hangout discussion about gun control, YouTube video blogger Philip DeFranco asked the vice president why an assault weapons ban was necessary if the number of murders had gone down since the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act temporarily banning some military-style rifles expired in 2004.
"So what would you say to the people who say, yes, you are infringing on our rights, not for sporting or for hunting, but in California, everyone talks about the big earthquake or some terrible natural disaster as a last line of defense," DeFranco wondered. "What would you say to those people?"
"A shotgun will keep you a lot safer -- a double-barreled shotgun -- than the assault weapons in somebody's hands that doesn't know how to use it, even one that does know how to use it," Biden advised. "You know, it's hard to use an assault weapon and hit something than it is a shotgun."
"If you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells," he added. "I'm must less concerned quite frankly about what you would call an assault weapon than I am about magazines and the number of rounds that can be held in a magazine."
DeFranco pointed out that Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza had to swap out his 30-round magazines at least four times to fire 150 rounds while killing 20 elementary school children with the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.
"With how fast you can swap out a magazine, do you really think limiting the magazine size to 10 will have an impact?" DeFranco asked.
"If it was 10 shells in there, he would have had to swap out 30 times," Biden explained. "And so what would happen is, the response time, in fact, may have saved one kid's life. Maybe it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive."
"So, I'm not making argument that this will end crime," he said. "There is no sporting need I'm aware of to have a magazine that holds 50 rounds, none that I'm aware of and I'm a sportsman."
"And so, you know, if it just took another minute and a half, two minutes, who knows who else might have been alive."
According to reports following the December shooting in Newtown, Lanza's mother, Nancy, was part of the so-called "prepper" movement of survivalists who hoard weapons, food and supplies to prepare for the breakdown of society. Adam Lanza used his mother's guns to murder her and 25 others before killing himself.
"She prepared for the worst," sister-in-law Marsha Lanza reportedly told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?" Marsha Lanza recalled.