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Bad news for Biden: Shotguns are many criminals' weapon of choice

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This February 4, 2013 photo illustration in Manassas, Virginia, shows a Remington 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a Colt .45 semi-auto handgun, a Walther PK380 semi-auto handgun and various ammunition clips with a copy of the US Constitution on top of the American flag. US President Barack Obama Monday heaped pressure on Congress for action 'soon' on curbing gun violence. Obama made a pragmatic case for legislation on the contentious issue, arguing that just because political leaders could not save every life, they should at least try to save some victims of rampant gun crime. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Not only will Vice President Joe Biden's self-defense advice get you into legal trouble, but it also runs contrary to the facts.

According to Biden, the federal government should ban so-called "assault weapons" because no one "needs" them.  Why use an AR-15 when you can just use a double-barrel shotgun? Biden asks.

Apparently, violent criminals tend to agree with him.

On the same day the vice president promoted shotguns as the ideal weapons for his wife's self-defense, a man on a rampage used one to murder three people in California.  Regardless of what Biden says about shotguns, there's nothing that will stop bad people from using them with bad intentions.

The truth is that shotguns are actually used to carry out crimes far more often than the "assault weapons" Biden and other Democrats want to ban in the name of public safety, Reason's Jacob Sullum points out:

A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice estimated that "assault weapons" (mostly pistols) were used in something like 2 percent of gun crimes before they were banned by a federal law that expired that year. By comparison, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, shotguns were used in 5 percent of gun crimes in 1993, the year before Congress passed the "assault weapon" ban. In a 1997 survey of state and federal prison inmates, 7 percent of those who had carried a firearm while committing the crime for which they were serving time said it was a military-style semiautomatic, while 13 percent said it was a shotgun.

Ordinary handguns are far and away the weapons most commonly used by criminals, including mass murderers. They are also the most popular weapons for self-defense, which illustrates the folly of trying to distinguish between good and evil guns.

This should also give pause to any supporter of the Second Amendment -- If weapons like the AR-15 contribute to far fewer crimes but are considered a threat to society, how long until the same logic is used to crack down on handguns?

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