'Joe Biden defense' no longer needed in Washington state gun case
August 20th, 2014
07:07 PM ET
2 months ago

'Joe Biden defense' no longer needed in Washington state gun case

(CNN) – When a Washington state man was charged last year with unlawfully firing a shotgun, he had a simple explanation: Joe Biden told me to do it.

It appears, however, he no longer needs that defense.

The prosecuting attorney in the case against Jeffery Barton, 52, told CNN on Wednesday that the weapons count is out. He’ll now be charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer.

In July 2013, Barton told a judge in Clark County that he thought people were trying to break into his car at his home so he fired his shotgun in the air to scare them off.

"I did what Joe Biden told me to do," Barton told CNN affiliate KOIN. "I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air."

Biden did, in fact, tell people to fire a shotgun in the air if "there's ever a problem."

At the height of the gun-control debate that followed the 2012 Newtown shooting, Biden said during an online question-and-answer session that "If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shot gun."

He added that he tells his wife, Jill, that "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."

His comments were likely intended to underscore the position that shotguns were sufficient for self-defense, rather than semi-automatic weapons.

But Barton used the defense in his case.

Tony Golick, the county's prosecuting attorney, told CNN that "the charge of unlawful discharge of a weapon will not be pursued" because from the outset it was a "close call."

"We were concerned based on the facts of the case that a jury will not convict," Golick said. "The area that he discharged the fire arm in is a no shooting zone," the attorney said, adding though that people have the right to "protect their property as long as they use justifiable force."

Golick's trial for misdemeanor obstruction is now set for October 24.


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. salty dog

    What is the world coming to when you actually use a defense like that?..... sigh......

    August 21, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  2. it must be said

    Good work Crazy Joe... And this clown is one heart beat away from the presidency and thinks he's sane enough to be President. Democrats really got a pack of incompetent fools running the show.

    August 21, 2014 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  3. Pete/Ark

    Only fire ONCE , into the ground . That way there is no chance of the pellets coming down on someone and you still have one barrel left if they don't run . Common sense .

    August 21, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. Thomas

    Because a politician told me to do it.... (facepalm)

    I am getting the impression that Mr. Barton was not the brightest in his class.

    August 21, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  5. tsl

    the court jester, biden, speaks and everyone has a good laugh. when you are top dog you pick an idiot for your second in command, no threat.

    August 21, 2014 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  6. smith

    There is a reason that the WH keeps a wrap on Biden and here is a good example. This has to be some of the dumbest advice with regards to home or self protection. It goes against all gun safety, military training, law enforcement, and tactical training guidelines.

    August 21, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Obviously Sniffin and Gurgling Ozass in Tampa posted:

    Got to love how society would rather defend the people breaking into the car than defend the car owner. ... ... ...
    ------------------------
    Actually, the shotgun was discharged in a "no shooting zone". It sounds like he put neighbors at risk when he fired a round into the air. I'd bet 10,000 Romney bucks that our above friend would want the prosecuted if the stray shot had hit their kid or their person. Then again, maybe not. The law is, after all, just plain common sense.

    August 21, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    smith

    There is a reason that the WH keeps a wrap on Biden and here is a good example. This has to be some of the dumbest advice with regards to home or self protection. It goes against all gun safety, military training, law enforcement, and tactical training guidelines.
    ------------------------------
    I have used a shotgun to scare off bears that get to close to the house before. You can sit there and pray away the bear all you want. I'm firing a warning shot to try to scare him off. It works every time, even when they are a hundred yards away.

    August 21, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    I prefer a pump action to a double-barrel. That shik-shak sound of a round being jacked into the chamber translates to "go away!" in every language.

    August 21, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. guest

    you put your neighbors more at risk when you fire at people, when you level you gun at your neighbors house and open fire with the only think protecting them is someone's body.

    August 21, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. smith

    @Rudy-Where did this incident occur? In the country where there is little to no risk of endangering someone or in the city where the risk is greatly increased?

    August 21, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    @smith

    "@Rudy-Where did this incident occur? In the country where there is little to no risk of endangering someone or in the city where the risk is greatly increased?"

    smith aren't you the one who claims to have been in the military? What branch of the military were you in, because apparently they need to get a new weapons trainer in there. I have hunted all my life and when hunting doves many times hunters take positions on opposite ends of a field and it was not unusual at all for a hunter to fire a round or two off at some birds which placed another hunter in the line of fire. Shotgun pellets fired into the air from 100 yards or so away will come down on you like little dirt clods and with the exception of possibly getting hit in the eye, they pose about as much danger as a raindrop.
    You sure do flip all around on your gun issues... a cop emptying his gun at a fleeing suspect (or one with his hands in the air) on a busy street, why that is perfectly okay. A person firing a warning shot from a shotgun into the air OMG!!! what about innicent bystanders. Whine, moan, whimper....

    August 21, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    smith

    @Rudy-Where did this incident occur? In the country where there is little to no risk of endangering someone or in the city where the risk is greatly increased
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Lol!
    I see the Rudy persecution continues under the guise of "let's get more information".
    Rudy lives in the heart of Harlem.
    Not too many Black bears there.....so you figure it out smith.

    August 21, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    @it must be said
    "Good work Crazy Joe... And this clown is one heart beat away from the presidency and thinks he's sane enough to be President. Democrats really got a pack of incompetent fools running the show."

    Uh.... righties... do I NEED to remind you that your favorite vice president and hero DICK cheney shot a man in the face with a shotgun. I didn't see ya'll wringing your hands and bemoaning his ill advised ACTIONS of hunting while intoxicated or see any posts calling him names (other than super hero, greatest man in the world, lord, gawd, master).

    But Joe Biden says something off the cuff (as usual... I rather find this endearing) and you go into attack mode and try to whine us all to death.

    August 21, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    GonzoinHouston

    I prefer a pump action to a double-barrel. That shik-shak sound of a round being jacked into the chamber translates to "go away!" in every language.
    -----------------------
    I prefer a pump, too. I guess it is the old western movie fan in me.

    @smith – Where? Why, in wide open space of Central Park, of course. How else do you think I was able to see a bear when it is still at least a hundred yards away? Can't a city guy own a farm in the backwoods somewheres?

    August 21, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Meanwhile, Marissa Alexander could get 60 years in prison for firing warning shots in the air in order toward off the estranged husband who vowed to kill her.
    But a cop fires 6 shots into an unarmed Black youth with his hands up
    This world is making less and less sense....

    August 21, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. just me

    Well it's a hundred times better than Cheneys' advice: when attacked by a partridge, shoot a buddy in the face.

    August 21, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. ????

    If you are in fear of having bodily harm inflicted upon you, stay in your house and call the police. Do not walk outside with a firearm. What if law enforcement shows up and they see a person unknown to them (that would be you) brandishing a firearm, what do you think might possibly happen?

    Joe Biden is a moron. Pay absolutely no attention to him.

    August 21, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. smith

    @Rudy-I asked the question because in the country side there would be little to no risk of hitting an innocent bystander. So I could agree with that. However, in the city or suburbs is where I think it is putting innocents at risk. Btw, Biden isn`t talking about scaring off wild animals.

    August 21, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Uh.... righties... do I NEED to remind you that your favorite vice president and hero DICK cheney shot a man in the face with a shotgun. I didn't see ya'll wringing your hands and bemoaning his ill advised ACTIONS of hunting while intoxicated or see any posts calling him names"

    Uh-oh. You beat me to it, Ol' Yeller. I well remember that day. I was on the floor pinning my pieced quilt to batting when news clips begin airing. The news media agonized as to whether it should or shouldn't report that, well ... incident.

    As for me, I'd much rather fire in the air at an intruder in hopes that will scare the person off than I would want to have to shoot to kill. Of course, I would need to "handle" the shotgun first, which, with the arthritis being what it is, I, in all likelihood, can only shoot at the ground these days.

    Unlike Dick Cheney ... I know my limitations.

    August 21, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. smith

    @DM40-So now I am persecuting Rudy by asking a question? What, are you still mad that I was right about jumping to conclusions about so-called shot in the back that didn`t happend.

    August 21, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If you are in fear of having bodily harm inflicted upon you, stay in your house and call the police. Do not walk outside with a firearm. What if law enforcement shows up and they see a person unknown to them (that would be you) brandishing a firearm, what do you think might possibly happen?
    -----------------------------------------------------
    With the exception of calling Joe Biden a moron you actually make a very good point in regards to being seen outside brandishing a gun by the police, the police being as trigger-happy as they appear to be these days with people from a certain "continental" background.
    I don't particularly care for guns, but if I an intruder broke into my house, and I owned one, well, suffice it to say I'm not f'ing up my roof over somebody who is obviously trying to do me harm.
    We can sort it all out in court and the hospital.

    August 21, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Ol' Yeller

    And speaking of doves ... the robins are long gone; the cardinals arrived two weeks ago; and just this morning our first blue jay announced his arrival. Winter is fast approaching. :(

    We've not seen our two doves for a few years now.

    August 21, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Chuck

    Biden is an idiot whose advise should be treated accordingly. Having said that, 7 1/2 or 8 shot fired into the air should not pose much risk to anyone and might be an effective deterrent in some situations.

    August 21, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. sonny chapman

    Joe is right . And the NRA is wrong; and crazy too. Joe's advice is the safest way to get 99% of potential intruders to skedaddle. You don't NEED a 30 shot clip to get the job done.

    August 21, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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