A Vancouver, Wash., man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to firing a warning shot in order to chase away car thieves, citing Vice President Joe Biden as his reason for doing so.
“I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” 52-year-old Jeffery Barton told local news channel KOIN 6. “I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.”
During a Facebook town hall event on gun control with the vice president in February, Biden suggested that people who are afraid of intruders should fire a warning shot outside to scare them off.
“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” Biden said Feb. 19. “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.”
Sheriff’s deputies told KOIN on Wednesday that the law does not let people fire off guns unless they feel they are in a life-threatening situation, which did not appear to be the case here. Deputies have said there was no evidence of prowlers on Barton’s property.
Mr. Barton pleaded not guilty to one count of illegal aiming or discharging a firearm. His next court appearance has not been set.