"I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house ..." The realization that the actual person giving this advice is only a bad hair-cut away from the Presidency should be enough to give every American pause.
If the constant gun control talk is just plain wearing you out, you are not alone. There are blatant lies presented and redundantly repeated to the extent that should really embarrass Congress, various state legislatures, governors, and mayors. As far as the “gun violence epidemic” that people can't stop screaming lies about, the FBI hides the facts in plain sight: violent crime in the United States is in decline: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/violent-crime . There is no violent crime epidemic at all, for even a look at the last five years reveals the steep decline.
Despite the increase in firearm ownership, despite more guns, despite expansion of Concealed Carry, there is no explosion of improper gun use. Guns are used properly in the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by private citizens, about 200 times a year. This is also no secret: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-15 . Dialing 911 in these cases is way too late, the police aren't everywhere, and felons committing felonies paid with their lives, correctly. Most don't die, of course, far from it. “The National Self-Defense Survey indicated that there were 2.5 million incidents of defensive gun use per year in the U.S. during the 1988-1993 period. This is probably a conservative estimate, for two reasons. First, cases of respondents intentionally withholding reports of genuine defensive-gun uses were probably more common than cases of respondents reporting incidents that did not occur or that were not genuinely defensive. Second, the survey covered only adults age 18 and older, thereby excluding all defensive gun uses involving adolescents, the age group most likely to suffer a violent victimization. The authors concluded that defensive uses of guns are about three to four times as common as criminal uses of guns.” See Guns and Self-Defense by Gary Kleck, Ph.D.: http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/kleck2.html .
Violence in the United States has been in a huge decline. The FBI yet again makes the data clear: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1 . Violent crime rates have plummeted as have murder rates. No one can miss it. In 1992, with a population of just over 255 million, the United States had 23,760 murders and non-negligent manslaughters. Flash forward to 2011, with a larger U.S. population of over 311 million: yet, a huge reduction to 14,612. From a 1992 murder / manslaughter rate of 9.3, by 2011 it has plummeted to a rate of 4.7. Violent crime in 1992 was at a rate of 757.7. By 2011, the picture improved to 386.3.
What about murders committed with firearms, the “epidemic” you've heard about? Take a look: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8 . In 2007, firearms were used to commit murder 10,129 times. In 2011, murders used firearms to kill 8,583 times. It dropped in 2008, in 2009, in 2010, and in 2011. More guns in the hands of the typical American, more Concealed Carry Weapons laws, yet year after year after year: crime and murder goes down, dramatically, and firearms are used to commit less murders every year. You can't make this up, I'm sure not, this is straight from the FBI. Note that gun murders have dropped and that ALL RIFLES (including the idea of an assault rifle that Washington and the media is obsessed with) accounted for 323 of the 8,583 murders. Rifles were used for less than 3.8% of the murders, with the about half of them rifles that could be branded with the mythical term of “assault rifles.” Somebody is lying about gun crime, and lying about “assault rifles” and the FBI reveals it to anyone that wants to know.
Before some really crazy person tells you to go out on your balcony with a double-barrel shotgun and just empty it, blasting away with a couple of shots at no known target (itself a crime in most places) thereby revealing yourself as a target and rendering your firearm empty and unusable, we really are better off with a large capacity handgun, rifle, or shotgun for personal defense. A whole lot better off. And, you don't display or otherwise use your firearm until forced to do so, just as is demonstrated some 2.5 million times a year by the regular citizen. Yes, over 2 million times a year typical American men and women refrain from going out on the balcony with a double-barrel shotgun and blast away recklessly all the time. Is it really just too much to ask for the Vice-President to get some training, some rudimentary education, before he throws out advice that instructs people to commit a crime, and could get them killed? That's just what we don't need, courts in the United States jam-packed with thousands of Americans that were arrested for illegal discharge of a weapon with the only defense is that, “The Vice-President of the United States told me to.” Further, former Delaware deputy attorney general John Garey has said that Jill Biden could be charged with aggravated menacing, a felony, and reckless endangering in the first degree by taking her husband's advice.
While gun violence continually drops, according to the FBI, the only thing on the rise is political rhetoric and media sensationalism of what is a diminishing problem. Of course any violence is a problem, there is always room for improvement. Unless the problems of gangs, the illegal drug trade, schools, and community awareness are tackled aggressively at the local level, the source of the core problems, no great improvement should be inspected. The government can of course do something, that being a focus on more vigorous prosecution of violent crimes and higher conviction rate. It takes far more than a piece of meaningless legislation or doing skeet all the time to achieve this.
For forty to forty-five percent of Americans, guns offer very little mystery or intrigue. They are inanimate objects; simple tools. Yet, for the majority of Americans, unfamiliarity leaves them easily persuaded by a bewildering political barrage of redundant malarkey. Hot on the heels of the Heller Supreme Court decision, former co-anchor of ABC's 20/20, honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club, nineteen-time Emmy Award winner John Stossel, dispels the deceptive, pervasive gun control myths that he once held himself. All in less than five minutes.