‘Joe Biden defense’ case delayed until November

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



A Vancouver man whose comment about firing a gun landed him national attention appeared in Clark County District Court on Tuesday. The case has been delayed until November.

After pleading not guilty on July 17 to the misdemeanor charge of illegally discharging a firearm, Jeffrey C. Barton said that he was following advice from the United States vice president.

“I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air,” he said.

Barton, 52, is accused of firing his shotgun into the air on July 15 to scare away three men who appeared to be breaking into vehicles.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Barton’s home in the 5800 block of Northeast 124th Street at 3:30 a.m. for a report of an auto prowl, according to court documents.

As deputies were on their way, the 911 dispatcher heard Barton shoot his gun repeatedly, the court documents say. He allegedly told the dispatcher that he didn’t aim at the men — but that next time, he would.

Barton’s comment on Biden references a question about home defense that Biden was asked in February. In response, he 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.”

Outside of the courtroom on Tuesday, Barton told a Columbian photographer that he regrets the off-the-cuff statement because of the media attention.

The pretrial hearing in the case was rescheduled to Nov. 19 for investigation and negotiation, said Barton’s attorney Steve Thayer.

“We hope to have a resolution at the next court date,” said Clark County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Harvey.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; emily.gillespie@columbian.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.