Vancouver man: Joe Biden owes me an apology

Jeffrey Barton faces a charge of illegal discharge of a firearm

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

Jeffrey C. Barton wants an apology from Vice President Joe Biden.

The Vancouver man faces a misdemeanor charge of illegally discharging a firearm after an incident in the early morning hours of July 15. Barton said he fired a shotgun in the air to chase away three men who were apparently breaking into his vehicles.

And he said he’s in trouble with the law because he followed advice from the vice president. He was back in court Tuesday, where attorneys scheduled a trial for March 26.

After pleading not guilty on July 17 to the misdemeanor charge, 52-year-old Barton said: “I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.”

Barton’s comment on Biden refers to a question the vice president was asked in February about home defense. In response, Biden said that Americans don’t need semi-automatic weapons because a couple blasts from a shotgun will scare off intruders.

Sheriff’s deputies said that’s only allowed in self-defense.

Barton’s comment, dubbed the “Joe Biden defense,” became international news and landed a two-minute segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

While maintaining that he did nothing wrong, Barton said that Biden owes him an apology. Underneath a black jacket that Barton wore in the courtroom Tuesday, he 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.

Although Barton said the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has offered him a plea deal, he said that he will not admit wrongdoing.

“I wouldn’t be pushing this hard if I thought I had any guilt,” he said. “I was protecting my family. I was within my Second Amendment right. I chose not to take a life that night. I fired my gun in the air.”

Barton also said that the whole issue could have been avoided if the Clark County Sheriff’s Office would have listened to neighbors’ complaints about a nearby drug house.

“Myself and my neighbors believe that the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is making an example out of me to intimidate us,” he said.

Although the sheriff’s office could not comment on Barton’s allegations, spokesman Sgt. Fred Neiman said Barton is welcome to file a complaint with internal affairs.