Some Great Advice: 'Don't Take Legal Advice from Joe Biden'

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Joe Biden talks about rooting out corruption at a civil society forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington August 4, 2014. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

United States Vice President Joe Biden is known for his brazen remarks, not limited to calling one crowd “dull as hell” and suggesting that the U.S. and Ireland’s friendship should “no doubt stay oiled and lubricated” so as to not go rusty. Biden’s words should probably not be taken as literal advice though, especially when they could get you in trouble with the law.

Last July, Washington state resident Jeffrey Barton was charged with unlawfully firing a shotgun. He claims three men were trying to break into his car and he fired the shots to scare them off.

When Barton, 53, was confronted by law enforcement, he cited Biden’s words on guns as a defense and said he was simply doing “what Joe Biden told me to do” by firing his shotgun into the air.

He wasn’t pulling that Biden defense out of thin air; the politician did once tell people to shoot in the air if they were in danger. "If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun," Biden said in an online Q&A session in 2012, when asked about gun control and home defense.

Speaking to CNN, Clark County prosecuting attorney Tony Golick said the charge of “unlawful discharge of a weapon will not be pursued” against Barton because the jury wouldn’t be able to convict based on the facts. “A person, even in a no-shooting zone, still has the right to defend their person or their property,” said Golick on Tuesday. Prosecutors said Barton will be charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer, however. His trial is scheduled for October 24.

So Barton wasn’t slapped with a firearm charge, perhaps in thanks to citing Joe Biden. But then again, this is the same politician who once said the number one problem facing the middle class was “a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”

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