Vancouver, WA’s Jeffrey C. Barton. Image via The Columbian’s Emily Gillespie.
The Columbian reports:
Jeffrey C. Barton wants an apology from Vice President Joe Biden.
The Vancouver man faces a misdemeanor charge of illegally discharging a firearm from an incident July 15 in which he says he fired a shotgun in the air to chase away three men who were allegedly breaking into his vehicles.
After pleading not guilty July 17 to the misdemeanor charge, 52-year-old Barton said that he was following advice from the vice president of the United States.
“I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air,” he said.
Barton’s comment on Biden refers to a question about home defense that Biden was asked in February. Biden responded that Americans don’t need semi-automatic weapons because a couple blasts from a shotgun will scare off intruders.
Clark County Sheriff’s deputies said that’s only allowed in self-defense.
Barton’s comment, dubbed the “Joe Biden defense,” became international news and was the subject of a two-minute segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
He appeared in court this morning. While maintaining that he did nothing wrong, Barton said outside the courtroom that Biden owes him an apology. Underneath a black jacket, Barton wore a black T-shirt with the words “Joe Biden Owes Me,” written in white letters on the back.
“He should really know the law before he starts giving America advice on national television,” Barton said Tuesday morning.
A lot of people will read this and laugh, but I find the case a bit intriguing. Of course, ultimately it is incumbent upon individual citizens to read up on the gun laws in their respective states so they can know what their specific rights are when it comes to firearms, but by the same token it is incumbent upon our elected officials to be responsible enough NOT give out off the cuff , spur of the moment, unsure “advice” on how best to protect yourself, ward off criminals, and handle your weapons! From a February HuffPo piece:
During a Facebook Town Hall hosted by Parents magazine, Biden took a handful of questions from readers about gun violence. One questioner named Kate asked how gun owners would be able to sufficiently protect themselves if Congress passed a bill banning certain weapons and high-capacity gun magazines.
“Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double barreled shotgun,” Biden responded. “I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”
The vice president said that by firing two shotgun blasts, anyone who might be trying to break in would be scared off.
“You don’t need an AR-15,” he said. “Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!”
Again, Mr. Barton is responsible for his own actions but Vice President Biden should have also had to bear some responsibility for, frankly, his irresponsibility – and he should have done it way back when by clarifying his remarks once he had gotten advice from experts. Self defense is a serious issue that involves serious discussion on a national stage, none of which describes the “advice” Biden gave earlier this year.