I recently wrote a fairly long summary of some of the most important lessons I took from Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense Seminar. Fortunately for those who can’t attend the seminar, Branca actually gives a lot of his material away free or for very low cost.
For example, the substance of the seminar overlaps with his book, which you can buy for just under $25 printed or $10 for the Amazon Kindle edition.
A major lesson I learned was that to understand the law of self-defense in any state requires attention to not only to the state statutes (what some call “black letter law”), but also to case law and jury instructions. Branca provides all of this information for every state free of charge on his website. The seminar I attended was customized for North Carolina law. Here is a snippet from his website for North Carolina:
Here you can see the search box that allows you to select state and what category of legal information you want:
Branca also blogs regularly on his own website and the Legal Insurrection website. And very recently, Branca has started to post video podcasts to his YouTube Channel, which are also available on iTunes as audio podcasts. His first two podcasts cover “Stand-Your-Ground: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It’s Important” and “Defense of Others: Pragmatic & Legal Differences from Self-Defense.” Again, he is giving away for free some of the most valuable content he covers in his Law of Self Defense seminar.
Despite all these freebies, I still felt the 4 hours and $125 I spent on Branca’s Law of Self Defense seminar was a good value. Getting Branca’s entire framework in one sitting allows me to understand more clearly his other, more detailed information. Reading his book now, having attended the seminar, is much easier than when I sat down previously to read it cold. (And there are times when the seminar presentation is clearer than the book presentation.)
Also unlike the book, website, and podcast, the seminar allows attendees to ask questions of clarification and interpretation in real time during the presentation. Branca also stayed in the room to chat during each of our three 5 minute breaks, as well as after the seminar ended, giving attendees an opportunity to ask questions.
He did note at the outset, however, that there is no attorney-client privilege applied to these conversations, so encouraged people to hold back stories that end with, “And that’s why I’m glad my friend owns a backhoe.” Branca’s sense of humor is something else that you can better appreciate live.
I know there are business models in which profit is made by giving part of one’s product away free, but still appreciate the lengths that Andrew Branca has gone to disseminate information about the law of self-defense at little or no cost.
One more freebie from Branca I picked up off his Twitter feed:
Based on a symposium on gun violence I attended at the historically black public university, Winston-Salem State, I would say there is considerable interest in the black community in the law of self-defense. I’ll be interested to hear from Branca whether anyone takes him up on the offer.