VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) – A Vancouver man who fired a shotgun to chase away alleged car prowlers pleaded not guilty Wednesday and cited Vice President Joe Biden as the reason he did this.
Jeffery Barton, 52, pleaded not guilty to one count of illegal aiming or discharging a firearm at his arraignment in Clark County Court.
Barton reportedly admitted to deputies that he fired his weapon while chasing away people who he thought were breaking into his vehicles at 5804 NE 124th St. in the early morning hours Monday.
Deputies are investigating whether a large teen party that got out of control at a neighbor’s home may have been linked to the shooting. However, at this point, deputies have said there was no evidence of prowlers on Barton’s property.
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.”
Barton was referring to a question and answer session the vice president had in February.
“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” Biden said at the time.
“I said ‘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,’” Biden added.
However, sheriff’s deputies told KOIN 6 News Wednesday that current law does not afford people the right to just fire off their gun. There must be a self-defense component, along with a life-threatening situation — none of which appeared to be the case here, they said.
Barton’s next court appearance has not yet been scheduled.
– Brent Weisberg originated this report. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BrentWeisberg.