The Biden Defense: Virginia Man Charged With Firing Gun Out Home To Scare Off Intruders

150px-shotgunaction225px-joe_biden_official_photo_portrait_2-croppedWe previously discussed the questionable advice of Vice President Joe Biden for people to fire shotguns out of windows to scare off possible intruders. He added “[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” I suggested that such acts would raise criminal and tort liability issues. There now appears a man who followed the same approach and found himself criminally charged. In Virginia Beach, Trevor Lamont Snowden, 22, is charged with reckless handling of a firearm after fired his gun through a door and out his window to scare off intruders.

A woman at a Parents Magazine town hall asked Biden “Do you believe that banning certain weapons and high capacity magazines will mean that law-abiding citizens will then become more of a target to criminals as we will have no way to sufficiently protect ourselves?”

Biden immediately did what he does best: put his foot in his mouth and then shoot himself in the foot. Biden chuckled and responded: “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, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,’” Biden said. “I promise you whoseever [sic] coming in is not gonna — you don’t need an AR-15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun.”

In the Virginia case, the man actually saw two masked men leaning into his bedroom window. He fired through his door and fired several time at the window. No suspects were found and no one was injured.

The Virginia code states:

§ 18.2-56.1. Reckless handling of firearms; reckless handling while hunting.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Even in the context of a hunting party, the act of shooting without a clear target or consideration of unknown individuals in the area is the basis for negligence per se. Schlimmer v. Poverty Hunt Club,
268 Va. 74; 597 S.E.2d 43 (2004). We have also seem prosecutors and others charged for firing warning shots or discharging weapons in their home. Even in a rural area, it is possible to hit neighbors or trespassers crossing property (a common practice) or others like police, firefighters, or public employees on the land lawfully. We recently saw a case of a man shot while cutting across a rural estate.

Unfortunately, this is debate often comes with a strong political bias. If Rick Perry had suggested sticking shotguns out windows and firing them, he would have been ridiculed and widely condemned. The advice is both dangerous and ill-conceived by Biden or anyone else. Yes, there are ways to fire a shotgun in the air to avoid hitting someone but casually advising the firing of guns out windows is neither responsible nor wise.

Source: Hampton Roads

74 thoughts on “The Biden Defense: Virginia Man Charged With Firing Gun Out Home To Scare Off Intruders”

  1. Bron:

    Of course, if OS didn’t get a clean stroke . . . that would be different.

  2. Porkchop:

    for the sake of all those souls, whose skeletons end up on the history with crushed faces and half their skull gone, I hope you are right.

  3. “AWs were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban: about 2% according to most studies and no more than 8%. ”

    From page 7 of Koper, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003.

    The Koper report is the gold standard regarding the effects of the Assault Weapons ban. You can read the update of that report here:

    But suppose we had a way to simply remove every assault weapon and look alike weapon from the society. Suppose the assault weapon ban were 100% effective.

    What would be the effect on gun crime if the assault weapon ban were absolutely, completely, totally effective?

    The Koper report give us enough data to make a crude estimate for the decline in gun violence.

    If we removed every assault weapon and look-alike assault weapon during the time of the Assault Weapons ban, gun violence probably would have declined about 2%. There is no data to suggest that gun violence would have declined more than 8%.

    Yet we know that during the time of the Assault Weapons ban that all gun violence declined, in big round numbers, about 50%. I am talking in big round numbers because different kinds of gun crime decline different percentages. However decline various gun crimes range roughly 40% to 60%.

    From the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) we know the decline in gun crime was roughly 50% during the time of the Assault Weapons Ban. The NCVS data is nicely summarized for us in the other gold standard of gun information the DOJ/BJS report:

    Weapon Use and Violent Crime, 1993-2001
    Craig A. Perkins
    September 1, 2003    NCJ 194820.

    You can access this report from the DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics web site (a link is included in my previous remarks in this thread).

    One has to wonder, what factors, in addition to the Assault Weapons ban, account for the 50% decline in gun violence. There is no data to suggest that the Assault Weapons ban could possible account for the entire 50% decline.

    Well, we still do not have good data to tell us why gun violence declined. But the Washington Post recently published an article, ‘Gun deaths, violent crime overall are down in District and U.S.’ discussing the overall decline in violence. You can read that article here:

    (note: This url is so long that I could not just point and click to access the story. However if you cut and past the url into your browser you should have not trouble linking to the WAPO story.)

    The Post article discusses several reasons why overall violence might have declined including: the end of the crack epidemic, anti-gun enforcement efforts, mandatory minimum sentencing, elimination of parole, changing demographics, changing economic conditions, abortion – yes abortion – and other factors.

    But none of them seem to tell the whole story or fit the data in a compelling way. Are these factors that possibly influence general violence the same ones that account for the 50% decline in gun violence. Well, we just don’t know – possibly but probably not exactly.

    But the factors mentioned by the Post are certainly a starting point for further investigation to understand why gun violence declined so sharply.

    The Assault Weapons Ban is feel good legislation of limited value in preventing gun violence.

    But there are real societal factors that result in real, significant declines in gun violence – if only we would turn our resources to investigate.

    It would seem that the adults in the room and all those who care about lives would demand answers.

  4. Bron,
    Regarding the Claymore. It is not “across” the face or head. The operant word is “through”. 😯

  5. SlingTrebuchet:

    Everybody who wants one and meets the criteria — not a felon, not mentally ill, etc. That’s working pretty well here in Virginia, a “shall-issue” state.

    Our firearms homicide rate is about half that of Illinois, which is for practical purposes a “no-issue” state.

    People behave better here for some reason.

  6. The proof is the miniscule number of actual crimes committed by concealed carry holders, and the even more miniscule number of crimes involving firearms committed by concealed carry holders.

    The soluton to gun crime is obvious, elegant and minimal cost.

    Issue a concealed carry permit to *everybody*!

  7. Bob:

    actually soldiers are trained to kill in hand to hand combat. The armies of the world, for the majority of recorded history in fact, killed people without firearms. Personally, I’ll take a bullet between the eyes vs. one of OS’s big Scottish swords across the face or head.

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