(CNN) — When a Washington state man was charged last year with unlawfully firing a shotgun, he had a simple explanation: Joe Biden told me to do it.
It appears, however, he no longer needs that defense.
The prosecuting attorney in the case against Jeffery Barton, 52, told CNN on Wednesday that the weapons count is out. He’ll now be charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer.
In July 2013, Barton told a judge in Clark County that he thought people were trying to break into his car at his home so he fired his shotgun in the air to scare them off.
“I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” Barton told CNN affiliate KOIN. “I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.”
Biden did, in fact, tell people to fire a shotgun in the air if “there’s ever a problem.”
At the height of the gun-control debate that followed the 2012 Newtown shooting, Biden said during an online question-and-answer session that “If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shot gun.”
He added that he tells his wife, Jill, that “if there’s ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here … put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”
His comments were likely intended to underscore the position that shotguns were sufficient for self-defense, rather than semi-automatic weapons.
But Barton used the defense in his case.
Tony Golick, the county’s prosecuting attorney, told CNN that “the charge of unlawful discharge of a weapon will not be pursued” because from the outset it was a “close call.”
“We were concerned based on the facts of the case that a jury will not convict,” Golick said. “The area that he discharged the fire arm in is a no shooting zone,” the attorney said, adding though that people have the right to “protect their property as long as they use justifiable force.”
Golick’s trial for misdemeanor obstruction is now set for October 24.