Jeffrey Barton of Vancouver, Wash., was arrested July 15 after shooting his shotgun in the air outside his home to ward off suspected car thieves. He's awaiting trial and says Vice President Joe Biden owes him an apology.
In a Feb. 19 interview with Parents magazine Biden – chairman of President Barack Obama's task force on new gun laws – said he advised his wife, "if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house."
After Biden's advice went viral, Delaware lawyers warned following it could result in felony and misdemeanor charges. A Wilmington, Del., police sergeant said the advice was unlawful and a state gun rights activist suggested it might result in negligent homicides.
But Barton says he wasn't aware the tip was troublesome.
"He should really know the law before he starts giving America advice on national television," Barton told The Columbian on Tuesday, during a trip to court. "I wouldn't be pushing this hard if I thought I had any guilt," Barton said.
He appeared in court with a stenciled shirt that said "Joe Biden Owes Me." The judge set a trial date of March 26, 2014, for a misdemeanor charge of illegal aiming or discharging a firearm.
A Biden spokeswoman did not respond to a U.S. News request for comment on whether he will be offering an apology to Barton or a public clarification to gun owners.
After his first court appearance on July 17 Barton famously told KOIN-TV: "I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air."
Biden, a licensed attorney in Delaware, gave other bits of questionable gun advice as the Obama administration pushed for new gun rules in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.
In a Feb. 25 interview with Field & Stream magazine he said, "[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door."
The same day that interview was published, 22-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., resident Trevor Snowden was charged with reckless handling of a firearm, a misdemeanor, for firing his shotgun through a door at men who were allegedly preparing to burglarize his home.
The charge against Snowden was dismissed Oct. 16 after three continuances – likely granted to allow a demonstration of good behavior – according to online court records.