Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, will reportedly enter the race for the White House within days, according to the Washington Times, and one of the consequences just might be that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, running last in a field of 15 candidates, will get bumped out of every news cycle outside of Seattle and Olympia.
Known among Second Amendment activists as “Shotgun Joe” for his astonishing advice to a question about home defense during a February 2013 interview in which he suggested getting a shotgun and firing it off the deck to scare away burglars, Biden has been keeping pundits guessing for months whether he would run. But at age 76, he might just have to walk fast.
Biden recently was in the spotlight over allegations that he had made several people uncomfortable with his touchy-feely habit of putting his hands on people. But that seemed to be a short-lived controversy, since Biden is a Democrat rather than a Republican.
As reported at the time by the Huffington Post, Biden was participating in a Facebook Town Hall when the question came up about using guns for self-defense. A woman identified as ‘Kate” had submitted a question about the ability to defend against attack if Congress were to ban certain firearms and original capacity magazines.
“Kate,” Biden began in a rather condescending tone, “if you want to protect yourself, get a double barreled shotgun. I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”
The remark brought immediate condemnation and guffaws from gun owners who noted uniformly that anybody doing that could be charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm. Depending upon the jurisdiction, that could put someone in serious trouble with the law.
Underscoring that point, a man in Inslee’s own Washington State was convicted a couple of years later for firing a gun to scare away a car prowler. As the Vancouver Columbian noted at the time, Jeffrey C. Barton had used the “Biden defense,” arguing in court that, “I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.”
The Clark County jury didn’t buy it, however.
According to the Washington Times, Biden had earlier stated he would not announce until everybody else who was planning to enter the race had gotten their opportunity for a headline. With Biden entering to challenge President Donald Trump, the Democratic primary season is almost certain to become colorful, as Biden is known for gaffes.
The shotgun flap may come back to haunt the aging politician, because gun control is guaranteed to be part of the political fray.