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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Joe made me do it

"I was just following the vice president's advice" is good for a laugh but not a smart self-defense claim:

A Washington state man who fired a shotgun to scare away possible car prowlers from his property was arraigned Wednesday for illegal discharging of a firearm, and he cited Vice President Joe Biden’s public advice about shooting such weapons in the air in his defense.

Fifty-two-year-old Jeffery Barton pleaded not guilty, Koin.com reports:

[. . .]

The vice president advised a participant in a February online town hall meeting, who was concerned about possible bans of certain weapons and high-capacity magazines, to get a shotgun and fire blasts to chase away malfeasants.

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” Biden said. “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."
Not that it would matter to Biden, who doesn't precisely tailor his arguments but prefers the, um, shotgun approach, but the Castle Doctrine doesn't appear to be strong in Washington state. Apparently the burden of proof is on the property owner to show there was a self-defense component and a life-threatening situation. In states where Castle Doctrine is strong, the person in your home illegally is presumed to be a threat just because he's there.