'Joe Biden defense' no longer needed in Washington state gun case
August 20th, 2014
07:07 PM ET
8 years 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.

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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. Obviously Sniffin and Gurgling Ozass in Tampa

    Got to love how society would rather defend the people breaking into the car than defend the car owner.
    What do you expect from Libs who:
    – rather see murderers live for decades on the taxpayers dime
    – rather aid and abet illegal immigrants rather than lawfully deporting them
    – rather riot over a thug getting shot for assaulting a police office than raise a finger for "knockout game" victims

    August 20, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. stretch5150

    Can someone please duct tape Biden's mouth shut permanently.

    August 20, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. nunYerDamnBizness

    Guns and trouble are cousins.

    August 20, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. David T.

    Joe Biden will always be the "crazy uncle" that you must invite to family functions but keep at arms length and with one hand on your wallet so it doesn't go "missing."

    August 20, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Israel SJ

    I'm usually all for stricter gun control laws but this guy did the right thing. I am wondering what this mideamenor law for is it just seems like their trying to stick something on him at this point.

    August 20, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Brad Barnhill

    so yeah ... fire a gun in the air thats safer than shooting the person coming in to kill you. Biden is stupid.

    August 20, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. shamus

    Ahhh, from the title, I assumed the guy was going to plead guilty by reason of insanity.

    August 20, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  8. Willy100

    Love Joe – He is the GREATEST !

    August 20, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. rick

    And absolutly BET the ones he ran off by doing so WERE NOT EVEN LOOKED FOR by the officers who arrested him. They had another arrest for their record. And the shotgun went into the ?private collection? Of a officer who was supposed to turn it into lockup.. But never got past the trunk.. Then into a closet.. And dissapeared like hundreds of weapons have.. Bet on that too..

    August 20, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. callnews

    What a crock. "His comments were likely intended to underscore the position that shotguns were sufficient for self-defense, rather than semi-automatic weapons." His comments were a splendid example of paying no attention to the powerfully ignorant. So the police department now says, "the charge of unlawful discharge of a weapon will not be pursued" because from the outset it was a "close call." We must protect our V.P. at the expense of the truth. The emperor's clothes have been showing since he opened his mouth. You only make your own selves fools by trying cover it up. Try being a newsman, like, what's the obstruction charge for? Did you miss that one?

    August 20, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. liberal disease

    where have they been hiding Biden, in the basement of the white house?

    August 20, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  12. pj

    Not surprising that the author doesn't understand that a double barrel shotgun is semi-automatic, 2 trigger pulls 2 shots, it is just not high capacity. Of course there are also higher capacity semi-auto shotguns and even full-auto military shotguns.

    August 20, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. svann

    He's right and Biden is right.

    August 20, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. Chris..E.Al

    Joe B . is right pull out that double shotgun and play cowboys an the ones that dont want to help and got that you 0we me hand out for 300 years ! sux . Its milk out bray .

    August 20, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Brian McKinsey

    Right on, Joe. I can't believe this guy was even charged. No one can mistake (or stick around after) the sound of a 12 gauge going off.

    August 20, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. NRA Man

    Go 2nd Amendment!

    August 20, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Gary

    It is NEVER a good idea to fire any kind of warning shot. Law enforcement and weapons experts ALL agree on that. In most US jurisdictions, it is against the law to fire a warning shot...even for law enforcement personnel.

    August 20, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. S. B. Stein

    Was there any attempt to contact law enforcement? Was there any immediate threat?

    August 20, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  19. aaron

    My dad would do the same thing decades ago....fire a shotgun into the air if prowlers came round. That always chased them off. But, he apparently didn't feel the need to kill people like most of these crackpots claiming self-defense and stand your ground do nowadays. It's just a way for closet sociopaths to murder people with no repercussions when they shoot to kill.

    August 20, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  20. Smitty

    Just when you thought Biden was useless, who would of thunk it !!! LOL

    August 20, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  21. Swarley

    Joe Biden looks a little like The Joker.

    August 20, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. Name uche agonsi uche agonsi

    Could it have been that Big J B's suggestion is law for this mug? He could as well have consulted Sarah Palin's Teatrolls for gun lessons if he was that gun crazy.

    August 21, 2014 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  23. VicMorrow

    Cops are civilians like the rest of us. They deserve no special treatment. Any law that allows a cop to do something any other citizen is prohibited from doing is a bad law. If I can "obstruct" a criminal from coming into my home, I also should have the right to "obstruct" a cop from breaking and entering. In fact under Indiana law I have the right to shoot him if he tries to do so without showing a valid warrant.

    With respect to Biden and shooting into the air, every projectile lands somewhere. Only irresponsible people fire without knowing exactly what their bullets are going to strike. In other words, Biden's suggestion is idiotic. If you are firing just to make a noise (generally not a good defensive idea since it wastes ammo and tells your opponent where you are with a now unloaded gun), fire into a safe backstop. Always know where your shot is going to go and what it is going to strike before pulling the trigger.

    August 21, 2014 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  24. t3chn0ph0b3

    Makes sense to me.

    August 21, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  25. foundstar

    Gotta love Joe....straight talker...straight shooter...All American guy.

    August 21, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
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