A Washington state man who cited Vice President Joe Biden as the reason why he fired his shotgun into the air last year will no longer be facing charges for unlawful discharge of a firearm, the prosecuting attorney told CNN on Wednesday.
Jeffrey Barton, 52, of Vancouver, Washington, told investigators that he was trying to fend off burglars attempting to break into his car when he fired the gun into the air back in July of 2013.
When questioned by police, he simply said, “I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.”
Sure enough, Biden did tell the public during an online Q&A session in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, to fire a shotgun into the air as a way to protect oneself and property.
“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shot gun,” said the vice president, adding that he tells his wife Jill, “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.”
Clark County prosecutor Tony Golick did not outright admit that the Joe Biden defense worked, but instead said that “the charge of unlawful discharge of a weapon will not be pursued” because it was a “close call” from the beginning.
“We were concerned based on the facts of the case that a jury will not convict,” Golick continued, noting that “The area that he discharged the fire arm in is a no shooting zone.”
Unfortunately, Barton is not quite off the hook. Golick said he will still face misdemeanor charges for obstructing a law enforcement officer. His trial is set to begin in October.