Biden Google+ Hangout: VP Tries to Soften the Message On 'Gun Control'


Biden took to the internet on Thursday to press his case for the "Biden gun control plan."

Billed as a "fireside chat" with the vice president, a handful of invited participants pressed Obama's deputy about elements of the administration's "gun control" plan: the "assault weapon" ban, mental health services, and magazine sizes. One came away with the impression that this might be an "agree to disagree" issue, because we can't even agree on the terminology.

The term "gun safety" plan is in the running to replace "gun control." Several participants during the chat used the term "gun control" and at one point the VP stopped them and said, "I like to call it a gun safety plan."

Obviously, the dominant term, gun control, is more likely to get people thinking that we're going to fall under more government control. The administration clearly wants to stay away from that.

During the chat, we heard a lot about "Biden's gun control plan." Some of that was referring to past legislation, but the vice president also seemed to be putting the current gun control plan under his own name rather than the presidents. Under Obama, sales of assault weapons have soared. Clearly, there is something about the man that scares some people. By re-branding the "gun control" plan, at least in part, as Biden's, might make it more palatable.

What keeps you more safe, a shotgun or an assault weapon? It probably depends on how many people are coming through your front door. But either way, Biden sees no use for the latter. Just like we don't allow billionaires to buy F-16s loaded with ordinance, he said, we draw some lines as to what people can buy and own, "a shotgun will keep you a lot safer."

At one point Biden took some jabs at the National Rifle Association, for talking about everything in terms of a "slippery slope." 

"That's what you're always hearing form [the NRA]," Biden said.

The vice president did his best to to frame the gun control plan, or, gun safety plan, in the most common sense, non-inflammatory terms possible, but at this point, there probably aren't many "undecideds."