Thanks Uncle Joe! Earlier this week, a man fired a shotgun in the air in Vancouver, Washington trying to scare off someone who was trying to break into cars on his street. The police were, predictably, none too pleased. This would be a typical “idiot firing his gun for no good reason” story, only this one comes with a twist: he claims that he’s not guilty because the vice president told him to do it . .

From KOIN.com:

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Barton cited the vice president in defense of his actions.

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

The video report says that gun owners are watching this case closely, and that’s probably true. But not for the reasons they think. Most are watching for the same reason I am — because it proves just how dumb, ill-informed and illegal our Double Barrel Joe’s advice was, and proves that he knows next to nothing about guns or their legal use. Which we already knew. But it’s always nice to get some independent validation.

71 Responses to Vancouver Man Pleads Not Guilty to Firing Shotgun in Air, Claims He Took Biden’s Advice

    • Ironically, it’s a valid defense… It’s the old, “just following orders” schtick. You can’t convict the subordinate without indicting the one who issued the order. Any chance they’ll charge uncle Joe as an accessory?

      • Only cops and other government “officials” are allowed allowed to get
        away with the Nuremberg defense.

      • Unless Barton is in the military he’s not Biden’s subordinate, so that defense wouldn’t likely work. Now he could just say he was misinformed and hope for leniency.

        • To be fair, it’s sort of like taking orders from a cop. Does he have actual authority? No. Do you presume that he does? Yes.

        • Numbnuts Joe isn’t in the chain of command until he stages a coup. He’s bulletproof vest for Obuma not a commander.

          To be fair Joe isn’t not just guns that are outside his area of knowledge. He doesn’t know diddly about anything.

    • Maybe the guy is not an idiot and knows he was wrong. BUT, if you are going to go down, might as well pull down Biden with him.

      • That’s what I was thinking…maybe the guy knew EXACTLY what he was doing.

        Side Note: Biden probably lives on multiple acres with Security Guards and Systems all around. So, his “advice” is meaningless, and neither he nor his wife would be prosecuted in any event. You know…”Rank” has it’s privileges. [And yes, double entendre meant by placing “Rank” in quotes.]

  1. Isn’t listening to Biden about any subject proof you shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, or drive a car, or even breath

  2. How long until his other gem is tested?:

    Vice President Joe Biden told Field & Stream magazine in an interview published Monday, “[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”

    Somebody should release a “Biden Style” instructional training video.

    • My thoughts exactly. I’d love to hear from any real lawyers about this one. It sounds like a colorable argument, if not necessarily a good one.

      • No, it’s not entrapment.

        It probably will not be admissible. Even if Biden had been this guy’s actual lawyer, “my lawyer told me it was OK” it not a permissible defense for most crimes.

        • But it’s not “my lawyer told me”, it’s “a government official told me”, which would seem to be palpably different.

  3. LOL!

    Is it possible to subpoena Biden and force him to make a statement? Or, better yet, force Biden to acknowledge that he has qualified immunity and whatever he said simply BS that should be ignored.

    I would LOVE for some reporter to try and get a comment from Biden and ask if he would go to court for this man to defend his actions, that would be priceless!

    • Nah, Biden would just deny ever making his shotgun into the air defense statements, even as he’d be watching video of himself saying it on multiple occasions.

  4. Seems like a good excuse to me. Biden is an attorney, spent 36 years as a US Senator, and the administration touts him as an expert on gun laws. Why shouldn’t someone believe what he has to say about the law?

    I would really love it if Biden were subpoenaed to clarify his legal advice.

    • Call Biden as an expert witness. Have him give testimony on his many years of tactical home defense training and how the safest way to clear a house is with buckshot through the doors.

      • Or rather, have him testify he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about and was just talking out his hind end the whole time.

  5. I would ask if this is some kind of April Fool’s Day joke, but it’s the wrong time of year. Never underestimate the power of stupidity.

    • Everyday is Fool’s Day! Why you want to discriminate against everyday except April 1? You think it’s better than every other day and deserves better treatment, huh? You dayist.

  6. I’m going to make an “assumption” about an issue of which I have little knowledge. If the shooter is the gun’s legal owner, he doesn’t have a criminal history banning gun ownership, etc then what is the level of the action or crime that he broke? It is not a felony (right?) and most likely it is a misdemeanor that would get an average person firing a gun into the air a fine. Then again, maybe if he was going on “strike three” he could go to prison in modern America.

    The man just might be a solid pro-gun patriotic American who has decided to make a political statement and maybe have some fun (in his mind) while he’s at it. Who knows at this point?

    • I’m pretty sure firing a warning shot is a felony.

      It landed a mom a 20 year sentence in Florida: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-firing-warning-shots/

      A warning shot may carry the same punishment as attempted burglary or attempted assault: http://full-contact.military.com/2012/10/26/legal-self-defense-should-your-fire-a-warning-shot/

      Even if you do successfully defend yourself without taking a life you could be in trouble. Something to remember, you cannot protect property with deadly force, you can only protect your life or those immediately around you. If you are in such a situation remember, “I felt my life (and/or the lives of those around me) was (were) in immediate peril”. Second, you did not fire a warning shot, your first shot missed.
      If you employ deadly force you must intend it to be effective, there’s no such thing as warning shots or disabling shots, you can only shoot to kill, and that applies to everyone, including cops.

      • “Something to remember, you cannot protect property with deadly force, you can only protect your life or those immediately around you.”

        I don’t mean to nitpick, but this, like all things legal, may or may not be true depending on your state and locality. If I remember correctly, Texas allows for the use of lethal force in the protection of property.

        EDIT: Also, IIRC, in many states, the general language used is that “the use of deadly force is permitted in the prevention or ceasing of a forcible felony.”

        Always, always check your local and state laws.

        • That is true. *Government may vary depending on where you live.*
          There are other articles on the same topic that show simply saying “I was protecting my property” instead of “I was protecting my life” landed someone in hot water, but as with all legal issues it depends on where you are.

          What we do know is warning shots are illegal in 50 of 50 states.

    • The shooter fired into the air and not at a person, and the shooter did not hit a person with the ammo he fired. As mentioned, if the shooter was going on a strike-three (or 3 strikes your out!) it could send him to prison as I believe occurred in Florida to a woman who fired her gun. Then again, maybe just firing the gun into the air as a warning shot is a felony in Washington.

  7. Some people just don’t know when to shut up and go about their business, and hope nobody else realizes they saw something.

  8. this is absolutely hilarious! this guy should be in the irresponsible gun owner section but he is still awesome.

  9. Interesting strategy to involve the Veep.

    However, he might be more successful with the old, “It wasn’t a warning shot, I stumbled and accidentally fired a shot. Luckily the gun was pointed in a relatively safe direction when it went off” defense.

  10. I doubt the Biden defense will work, but he might have grounds for a hefty lawsuit against the VP after his conviction.

  11. Man, this just gave me a great idea for a series of short movies: The NEW 3 Stooges, featuring Uncle Joe, George W, and Barry O………just like the old stooges, they roll into town hungry and looking for work, and end up being hired by the local P.D. – hilarity and calamity ensues….

    • would definitely pay to see that one! “so what a ya think we should do joe?” “i dont know,barry. if ya’d shut up an lemme think a minute” “now see here fellas i got a plan. he he he”(sneaky bush face)

  12. No we watch it for laughs. Some liberal dip does what his Fuhrer says and he get busted shows Biden is the nation biggest dime whit.

  13. In this case, it was good advice. Pellets are not typically all that capable of causing damage when they come down vertically – unlike a Spitzer round.

    Also, the presence of someone with a boom-stick likely saved some cars and their contents.

    While he’s a doofus, this qualifies as a successful DGU, and the law should just back off.

  14. I just watched the video.
    This is the Internet and if Joe says to fire into the air it must be true, and OK.
    After all this is the Internet and every thing put on the internet is true……….just ask the blonde and her French model date. If you don’t believe me.

  15. Who didn’t see this coming? And Shotgun Joe will NEVER retract his statement, because he’d have to make up something new. I doubt he’s capable of it.

  16. I’m not sure that pursuing entrapment by estoppel isn’t a viable defense in this case. The VP of the US would seem to a reasonable person to have the necessary authority, and there can be little doubt about the instruction the VP gave. [T]he defense is available to those defendants proving that a government official, acting with actual or apparent authority, affirmatively assured or actively misled the defendant into a reasonable belief that certain conduct was legal.

    If the second highest officer in the executive branch doesn’t have actual or apparent authority who would?

    One could dicker about whether the VP was affirmatively assuring or intentionally misleading in his statements, but I cannot see how it was not one or the other.

    It’s novel, it is virtually never allowed, but this may be one of those rare situations in which it applies. I believe it certainly should apply, and it dovetails nicely with the concept that elected officials are responsible for what they say in public. I suppose it will depend on the judge. In Vancouver this is probably not going to be allowed. At the very least it makes for good theater and (yet again) an embarrassment for the current administration.

  17. I’d like to see what he’s being charged with, since WA has state preemption (which includes discharge), and RCW 9.41.270 exempts gun use at home. There’s no RCW for prohibiting discharging a firearm on your property (at least not that I’ve found yet). After watching the video, the “suspect” lives in a rural part of Vancouver, definitely not the city part.

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