As often as he puts his foot in his mouth, it's a wonder Vice-President Joe Biden can walk. The often irascible and unpredictable Biden said this week, in an online Facebook town hall "chat" sponsored by Parents Magazine, that women who have to protect their homes and families from intruders should just walk outside and fire two blasts from a double barreled shotgun.
A FoxNews.com article reported that Biden claims to keep two shotguns locked up at his home, and that he has told his wife, Jill, to use them if she needs protection.
"I said, `Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony ... take that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,"' Biden said.
That advice would be illegal in most situations, and dangerous both for the potential victim, and for the general public.
According to a USNews.com article, if she followed her husband's advice, Jill Biden could be charged with aggravated menacing, a felony, and reckless endangering in the first degree.
The article quoted defense attorney John Garey--a former Delaware deputy attorney general--as saying, "It is not uncommon" for people to be charged with crimes under similar circumstances. "I've seen cases where lawful citizens have used guns outside their homes and they end up arrested."
Lawyer Tom Shellenberger, who serves as a spokesman for the Delaware State Sportsmen's Association, said Biden's security tip was "the worst type of advice."
"I am a member of the Delaware Bar, as is Vice-President Biden," said Shellenberger. "There are a number of statutory restrictions that could be violated by shooting a shotgun 'off the porch.'"
"Beyond the potential criminal liability, it is simply bad advice," added Shellenberger. "Not only does blasting blindly away put innocent persons at risk, it also tells the bad guys where you are and that you are armed. In most circumstances, it might be better if that comes as a surprise to the bad guys."