Earlier today I attended Andrew Branca’s speech on the law of self defense at Campbell Law in downtown Raleigh. I’ve had a little interaction with Branca in the past in addition to reading his book “Law of Self Defense”, and he’s very read on self defense law, and how it relates to concealed carry.
Today Branca was speaking to a group of law students and professors, in addition to a handful of us regular folk. His talk centered around Stand Your Ground laws, and what they are, and what they aren’t.
I’ve had a couple of tweets and emails asking for a synopsis of the speech, so here we go. I’m keeping this pretty high level just to give you an idea of Branca’s stance on things. His book is most excellent, I highly recommend that you get a copy: The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen
In order to argue a successful self defense defense, you have to prove the following:
Self defense is a defense that is only available to the innocent person. If you are deemed to be the aggressor, you can’t argue self defense.
The threat has to be a threat RIGHT NOW. It can’t be something that happened in the past, and it can’t be the threat of future violence.
The degree of force used in self defense has to be proportional to the amount of force used against you. Basically non-deadly force can get a non-deadly response, deadly force can be countered with deadly force.
Duty to Retreat – Made more sense in the days when people countered threats from handheld impact weapons, but once firearms became commonplace, moving a few feet away from someone with a firearm isn’t a meaningful distance. In DTR states, there’s only a DTR when there is a safe avenue to retreat to.
All Stand Your Ground does is eliminate this duty to retreat from the law. It doesn’t allow for self defense immunity, or any number of other things that the media has lead us to believe. Effectively 34 states are SYG states.
Your actions have to be that of a reasonable person. There’s a ton of meat here that I didn’t great notes on.
Stand Your Ground:
All it does is remove the duty to retreat. It’s not “shoot first, ask questions later”. All of the other 4 things above have to be met for self defense to be argued. Branca goes through some situations where SYG keeps good people out of prison. As mentioned a bunch of times already, SYG only applies to retreat.
Branca went into a LOT more depth in his speech. If you carry concealed or are interested in self defense, you really should read his book (it’s all in there). There was a Q&A section at the end of the speech, and Branca brought up some great points about carrying a non-lethal defensive tool in addition to a handgun. He also goes into this in the book and it makes a lot of sense, and I’m looking into a small OC spray to add to my EDC rig.
One of the best parts of the speech came at the end when Branca was questioned by a student about his insensitivity/social justice/some other random stuff that didn’t really seem to make any sense.
Apparently he’s a super controversial speaker, who knew…
Anyways, Ben and I had the opportunity to spend some time with Branca the day before before his speech, and I can say that he definitely knows what he’s talking about and he’s planning on being back in town later this year for a Law of Self Defense seminar, as well as some other speaking engagements. You can follow his blog at lawofselfdefense.com and on twitter @lawselfdefense
If you would like to hear more about the book, check out Episode 51 of the podcast.