Written by Greg Ellifritz
I recently finished reading Andrew Branca’s book The Law of Self Defense. This is a book that belongs on the shelf of any of you who are interested in defensive firearms use and self protection. Buy it. Read it.
I don’t know how I can give it a more glowing review except to say that I have been teaching use of force law to police officers for more than 15 years. I can’t tell you how many hours of legal update training I’ve taken in my career. Despite all my legal teaching qualifications and knowledge, I was amazed at the facts learned when I read the book. I learned a lot. The average gun owner without a legal background will learn exponentially more.
The book is logically divided into chapters that explain how the criminal “justice” system works, the five principles of a successful self defense claim, how and when you can use force to defend others, the defense of property, and what to do after a shooting.
I found his information on “thresholds” especially useful. The author describes appropriate reactions (backed up by case law) for when a defender is verbally insulted, is insulted along with a slight physical contact, is physically attacked, and is engaged in mutual combat. His advice on “regaining innocence” is an important bit of information that isn’t often covered in other legal writings.
Even more useful are the charts that accompany every chapter. These charts provide guidance for certain legal situations on a state-by-state basis. The appropriate statute is provided along with additional case law for reference purposes. He has numerous charts in the book, but the ones I found most valuable were the ones that explained:
– When a person can use a “battered spouse” defense
– State laws covering “duty to retreat.”
– The legal presumption of reasonableness
– Justifiable use of force in defense of others
Additionally, the author discusses use of non-deadly force, defense of property and exactly what to tell investigators after a shooting.
The book is an invaluable resource. I want to thank John Murphy from FPF Training for giving me a copy. It belongs in the library of every gun owner who is interested in self protection.
The Law of Self Defense is available in bookstores or at Amazon.com.