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During a meeting with black leaders, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested that one way for law enforcement to reduce potential fatalities would be to retrain police to shoot attackers in the leg.
Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed a meeting of black community leaders Monday at Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware. He was there to discuss race relations and police brutality and to address the protests and riots that surged over the weekend following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
As he delivered his address, he offered what he thought would be a good way for the police to decrease the number of fatalities that occur on their watch: Tell cops to aim for the lower extremities.
Biden suggested that law enforcement retrain their officers that when an “unarmed attacker” is coming at them with a “knife or something” — which would make the attacker not “unarmed” — they should stop aiming for center mass.
He told the crowd that he saw “a lot of different things that can change” when it comes to police training, and he vowed that in his first 100 days as president, he would create an oversight board to examine how cops are trained.
One of his first suggested changes apparently would be “the idea that instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person coming at him with a knife or something to shoot him in the leg instead of in the heart.”
The advice to shoot a suspect in the leg rather than center mass has always been considered a bad idea, as National Review’s Dan McLaughlin pointed out:
Firing a gun is always potentially deadly force. You shoot for center mass, to kill, or you don’t shoot at all. If you’re not prepared to kill someone, you should not even point a loaded gun at them, much less fire it. If you don’t have grounds to shoot to kill, you don’t have grounds to shoot.
There are all kinds of things that can go wrong by trying to shoot to wound, because most people are not expert marksmen, and even expert marksmen do not have the greatest of aim in chaotic circumstances. You can miss, and the person you’re shooting at isn’t stopped. You can miss, and hit and kill an innocent bystander. You can hit someone in an artery, and they bleed to death. You can be thinking “shoot to wound,” but the second radio car responding to the scene rolls out thinking “firefight in progress” and opens both barrels.
This joins Biden’s other controversial firearms advice.
In February 2013, he told Field & Stream that a shotgun is superior to an AR-15 for home defense because, “my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”
And that same month, Biden said during a Facebook chat that he advised his wife to fire a couple rounds from a shotgun into the air from their house’s porch if she ever felt her security was being threatened, an act that would possibly land Mrs. Biden in jail U.S. News & World Report said.
“I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,'” Biden stated.