Sitting in front of a fireplace, Vice President Joe Biden participated in his first ever Google+ "Fireside Hangout" Thursday in his most recent attempt to push the administration's gun policy agenda, one that he said is focused on "gun safety" not "gun control."
"I don't view it as gun control. I view it as gun safety," Biden said in a Google+ "Fireside Hangout" on gun violence.
For more than half an hour Thursday, the vice president took part in a modern-day online version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chats, answering questions about gun violence from four participants and a moderator on Google+. Biden, a shotgun owner himself, shared with the group how he interprets the Second Amendment.
"My view is that it is totally a guarantee, not negotiable, that I'm able to own a weapon for sporting purposes as well as for my own protection, but there should be rational limits on the type of weapon" needed for protection or sports, he said.
On the same day that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a bill that would ban semi-automatic weapons and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, Biden told the questioners he is more concerned about the number of rounds in a magazine than the type of gun being used.
"There is no sporting need that I'm aware of to have a magazine that holds 50 rounds - not that I'm aware of, and I'm a sportsman," Biden said.
The vice president's online chat was his first ever Google+ Hangout, a forum he said would help start a discussion about gun violence.
"That's one of the reasons I wanted to be in this chat," Biden said. "There's tens of thousands of people listening to this. I don't care which side of the issue you're on. Pick those things that you think can have a positive impact. You don't agree with me on assault weapons … [but] you may agree with me on background checks, making them universal. Make your voices heard."
Biden is scheduled to continue pushing the administration's gun agenda on Friday, when he travels to Richmond, Va., for a roundtable on gun safety.
While the hangout was full of substantive talk about gun policy, there were some lighter moments, too, like when Biden admired one participant's locks, telling him, "I wish I had your hair," and the vice president doled out a bit of advice for how to protect oneself after a deadly earthquake, telling one questioner a shotgun is more effective than an assault weapon.
"If you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells," Biden said.