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

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 . .


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.


  1. avatar Ryan says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    I hope he gets off with that and Biden has to retract his statement.

    1. avatar Pwrserge says:

      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?

      1. avatar Bob says:

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

      2. avatar Mistereveready says:

        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.

        1. avatar Pwrserge says:

          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.

        2. avatar neiowa says:

          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.

  2. avatar LongBeach says:

    I love it! They guy’s an idiot obviously, but using Biden’s dumbass advice is hilarious.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      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.

      1. avatar DerryM says:

        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.]

  3. avatar eric says:

    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

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Yup, listening to Joe Biden is prima facie evidence of being criminally stupid.

      1. Not quite sure if that’s sarcastic or not…but either way, I laughed. Well done sir/madam.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      eric, I was going to make more or less the same statement. Nobody listens to double biden joe. If they do, they’ve earned the trouble that’s coming.

  4. avatar John Galt says:

    If more people listened to Joe Biden, the sky would be raining shot pellets.

  5. avatar Will McG says:

    Would have been okay if he had chocolate loads.

  6. avatar JR LORENCZ says:

    Innocent by reason of insanity. Listening to anything Joe Biden says…

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    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.

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      This is exactly why I knock, then take a step to one side.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Same here.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Is this why pizza delivery guy is a job with a high turn over rate?

  8. avatar John says:

    Would this fall under Entrapment by Estoppel?

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      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.

      1. avatar Sertorius says:

        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.

        1. avatar DaveL says:

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

  9. avatar Pascal says:


    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!

    1. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

      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.

  10. avatar Chuck J says:

    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.

    1. avatar B says:

      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.

      1. avatar DaveL says:

        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.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Doesn’t real have anything else to do so he could easily make it to a trial. And loves cameras.

  11. avatar Roll says:

    The Biden Defense?

    1. avatar IdahoPete says:

      A close relative of The Twinkie Defense.

      1. avatar Mr. Lighter says:

        I still prefer the Chewbacca Defense.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          I think they used that during the Zimmerman trial – “If it doesn’t make sense, then you must acquit!”

  12. avatar Chris from Iowa says:

    What upsets me is apparently it worked.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      What worked? This was a pre-trial. All he did was get a court date.

      1. avatar Matt in IL says:

        I believe Chris from Iowa was referring to it scaring away the person on his property.

  13. avatar Conrad says:

    Ok, makes sense now… drop the charges and move on… 😀

  14. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    I had a good chuckle today. Thanks TTAG.


  15. avatar Hasdrubal says:

    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.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      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.

  16. avatar traye says:

    Put me on the jury. Not guilty!

  17. avatar jeffw says:

    From the comments: “Never go full Biden” Ha!

  18. avatar Melquiades says:

    It seems Slow Joe’s stupidity is contagious.

  19. avatar Chris says:

    Obama will need to pardon him or publicly disavow his Vice Presidents advice.

  20. avatar Aharon says:

    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?

    1. avatar Fred says:

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

      It landed a mom a 20 year sentence in Florida:

      A warning shot may carry the same punishment as attempted burglary or attempted assault:

      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.

      1. avatar Ben in UT says:

        “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.

        1. avatar Fred says:

          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.

        2. avatar Ben in UT says:

          Absolutely agreed.

          Thanks for the thoughts and interesting discussion.

      2. avatar smackit says:

        The story about the 20 year sentence for a “warning shot” is a leftist back handed attack on SYG ….

        Familiarize Yourself With The Marissa Alexander Case Before The Media Misinforms You

        1. avatar Roscoe says:

          Great background link, thanks smackit.

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      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.

  21. avatar g says:

    Wow… This guy is hilarious. Good luck calling Mr. Vice Prez to testify in your defense, buddy.

  22. avatar Roscoe says:

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

  23. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Hey, when you’re trying to get off, you’ll try anything.

  24. avatar S.CROCK says:

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

  25. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    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.

  26. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

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

  27. avatar BOOSH! says:

    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….

    1. avatar Duzt says:

      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)

  28. avatar Lance says:

    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.

  29. avatar Joseph says:

    It also proves how O and Biden got elected…the USA is full of idiots.

  30. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    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.

  31. avatar Jay also in Florida says:

    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.

  32. avatar William Burke says:

    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.

  33. avatar Ardent says:

    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.

  34. avatar WLCE says:

    Dont. Listen. To. Joe Biden.

    End of story.

  35. avatar MichaelB says:

    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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