Dear Joe Biden: Meet Barbara Baird

By Will Brantley writes Brow Tines and Backstrap

That's Babbs shooting a shotgun, although it's a scary tactical one and she's actually aiming at her target. I tease Barbara Baird on occasion. When I'm not calling her PITA Girl (that stands for Pain In The ... you know), I call her “Mall Ninja.”

See, Realtree’s news blogger is, by all accounts, prepared. She has a pink AK-47 and revels in various competition shooting games and drills. She’s a student of concealed carry, armed self-defense and seemingly all things that go “bang” (her husband, Jason, nicknamed Dr. Bomb, is president of Loki, Inc., which “provides engineering services to the explosives, propellant and pyrotechnics industry”).

Babbs, as she’s known by those in her inner circle of cordite-loving divas, is exactly the type chick you want on your team during the zombie apocalypse.

And so she was among the first ladies to come to mind when I heard Joe Biden give his now-famous rambling “buy a shotgun” advice to a woman concerned about self defense options, or lack thereof, if Biden’s gun-control task force is to get its way.

All you really need, says Joe, is a double-barreled shotgun. He then shared the same sound tactical advice he’d given his wife, Jill. Fire both barrels of that 12-gauge into the air, should you hear a bump in the night. He “promises” that’ll scare away any would-be offenders. A shotgun is much easier to use, Joe contends, than an AR-15.

How I wished Babbs had been sitting in the audience to provide a woman’s take on the Veep’s defensive advice. I suspect she'd have noted:

  • Joe’s violating several of the 10 commandments of gun safety with his advice (not to mention the law). Second graders learn not to shoot at what they cannot see in basic Hunter Ed, and even before taking said class, most of them grasp the concept of randomly aimed gunfire being potentially dangerous.
  • Firing both barrels of a double barrel announces your position while simultaneously leaving you unarmed. This isn’t a problem for Jill Biden, of course, because she has the Secret Service (a point made so well by my hero Dave Petzal at Field and Stream), but it may be for you. 
  • A 12-gauge loaded with anything heavier than a dove load kicks, especially out of a double barrel. Those of us who actually use shotguns in the field know that a dove load has a tough time knocking down squirrels, too. 
  • Double-barrel shotguns are usually expensive, and they only hold two shots. A pump or semi-automatic holds more ammunition and is usually cheaper, but you run the risk of it looking far too menacing for Biden's approval. The 870 Babbs is holding in the photo above, for example, is one a proposed assault weapons bill would ban because of what the stock looks like. 
  • Making promises on self defense anything is a bad idea. Gun makers and gun writers don't feel qualified to do it. Perhaps Biden should consider that.
  • At the end of the day, Biden's implication is that the AR-15 is just much too complex and dangerous for the simple little female mind. Yeah. Babbs, you and other female readers can chime in any time on that in comments below.

Because self-defense, at home and in the woods, is such a broad topic, and one of interest to most hunters, we’ve tasked Babbs with creating “Defense in the Woods” gallery, slated to be posted soon on Realtree.com. I think you’ll enjoy it. Maybe more so, even, than listening to Joe Biden.