WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States Vice-President Joe Biden's advice for self-defence: Buy a shotgun, not an assault rifle.
Mr Biden, who is spearheading a push for President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, dispensed this off-the-cuff tip for protecting life and property during an online question-and-answer session on Facebook on Tuesday.
The Vice-President has not one but two shotguns that he says he keeps in a locked cabinet at his house in his home state of Delaware, and he has given his wife, Jill, explicit instructions on how to deal with any would-be intruder.
"We live in an area that's wooded and secluded," Mr Biden said."I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here... put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house."
"I promise you whoever's coming in is not gonna," Mr Biden said. "You don't need an AR-15 (assault rifle). It's harder to aim. It's harder to use and, in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself."
"Buy a shotgun," he said, lowering his voice almost to whisper.
The Vice-President, who is known for sometimes telling long, personal stories in his public appearances, is pushing Mr Obama's plan for curbing gun violence following the December school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
However, some of the proposals, including a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, have run into stiff opposition from the influential US gun lobby and their advocates on Capitol Hill.