A Treasury of Advice From Joe Biden

From shotguns to secret raids to dating, the vice president has some suggestions.

Vice President Biden has some advice. 

Actually, he has lots of advice, and he parceled some of his wisdom out Tuesday during a Facebook town hall. Asked whether an assault-weapons ban would make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, he delivered this instant-classic answer:

If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun. Have the shells for a 12-gauge shotgun. And I promise you -- as I told my wife...we live in an area that's in the woods and somewhat secluded. I said, "Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you who's ever is coming in" .... 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, buy a shotgun.

Predictably, the chattering, tweeting, and Tumblring classes are in an uproar -- some amused, some appalled, some confused. No one should be surprised, though: Biden has a long record of offering advice.*

  • Biden gives suggestions on how to avoid to swine flu, April 30, 2009: "I would tell members of my family -- and I have -- I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. It's not that it's going to Mexico in a confined aircraft where one person sneezes, that goes all the way through the aircraft .... I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway. From my perspective, this relates to mitigation. If you're out in the middle of the field and someone sneezes, that's one thing. If you're in a closed aircraft, a closed container, a closed car, a closed classroom, that's another thing."

  • Biden gives dating advice to relatives of Senators Barbara Milkuski, Michael Bennet, Chuck Schumer, and John Thune, January 6, 2011: "Just remember, no dates 'til you're 30."

  • Biden gives dating advice to a 12-year-old Pennsylvanian, October 2011: "He told me not to date boys until I'm 30!"

  • Biden provides some dating advice to a Hillsborough, N.C. girl, August 13, 2012 : "No dates until you're 30."

  • Biden to another girl's brother, at the same event: "Know what my dad... used to say? You have one job: Keep boys away from your sister."

  • Biden gives dating advice to the daughter of an Ohio firefighter, October 22, 2012 (stop us if you've heard this one before): "No serious dates until you're 30."

  • Biden offers Senator Orrin Hatch's granddaughter romantic advice, January 3, 2013 (seriously): "No serious guys until you're 30." (Also: "Take care of your grandfather. That's your most important job.")

  • Biden gives fitness tips to the brother of Senator Tim Scott, January 3, 2013: "Need any help on your pecs, man, give me a call."

  • Biden gives some suggestions on how to fend off looters in case of a natural disaster, January 24, 2013: "So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells."

  • Biden tells President Obama his opinion on whether to order the raid that would kill Osama bin Laden: "Mr. President, my suggestion is don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there."

At least he gets the big things right, huh? 

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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