Lessons in The Law of Self Defense
An Interview with Andrew Branca
Interview by Gila Hayes
At the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN last month, we saw and heard much about gun rights and about resisting encroaching laws. Not only must armed citizens know gun law, we also need knowledge of laws governing use of force in self defense. In a highly mobile society, many citizens must grasp restrictions applied not only in their home area, but also by a number of states, a task complicated by state-to-state differences in what is legal and what is prohibited.
This area of the law is the focus of Massachusetts attorney and life-long shooter Andrew Branca. He started teaching defense law classes for armed citizens back in 1997 with the release of the first edition of his book, The Law of Self Defense, and teaching is now back at the forefront of his attention with publication of that book’s second edition.
The Law of Self Defense’s popularity spawned not only state-specific seminars that Branca teaches throughout the nation, but also online training delving into the specific laws governing self defense for certain states. This online resource is growing, and as Branca researches and prepares material for in-person seminars in a particular state, he develops online training for that state, too, or if that state is already included in his online course offerings, he updates the lessons to keep the training current.
Branca, a Network Affiliated Attorney, participated in our exhibit at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting, so it was natural to ask him some questions about how the various laws work. He skillfully explains self defense laws in layperson’s language, doing so with illustrative word pictures and examples, so let’s switch now to our Q & A format to preserve the clarity of his instruction.
Network Reaches a Major Goal
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
I am pleased to report that our Legal Defense Fund has exceeded the One Half of a Million Dollars goal! This is huge, folks. A half-million dollar Legal Defense Fund was our goal when we began. I aimed for that amount because it was my expectation that once we reached that milestone, we could count on fully funding the legal defense of any member needing our assistance after a self-defense incident.
Most of the insurance backed programs put an arbitrary limit on the amount of reimbursement they will allow after an acquittal.
Attorney Question of the Month
With over 20 states allowing legal use of medical marijuana (to say nothing of the few where recreational use is now legal), we are beginning to get questions about concealed carry licensees’ use of medical marijuana while carrying guns. Although we understand that personal opinions about marijuana use vary widely, it is appropriate to discuss legal aftermath issues for cannabis users who are also armed citizens. With that in mind, we asked our Network Affiliated Attorneys—
- Do your state laws address gun possession while under the influence of cannabis?
- What issues might you anticipate arising following self-defense gun use by a legal marijuana user?
- What enforcement action could arise from 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) prohibiting firearms or ammunition possession by one who is “addicted to any controlled substance”?
Criminal and Civil Jury Instructions in a Self-Defense Case
by George M. Lee, Esq.
Both sides rested their cases. And with all of the jurors leaning forward with focused anticipation, it fell to the moment that many lawyers live for: closing arguments. Each attorney then rose to the occasion, skillfully delivering closing arguments, laying out the evidence in a logical fashion, leading to an emotional crescendo, and an impassioned plea to the jury to “use your common sense” in delivering a fair and just verdict. And then the lawyers sat down. Those lawyers, and perhaps the defendant, lost in the residual emotion of the moment, may not have heard what was said next. The adrenalin was so strong, they could almost hear it swishing through their ears as the judge started to speak.
Make Ready to Survive:
Short Term Prep & Plan
Panteao Productions, LLC.
701 Gervais Street, Suite 150-193
Columbia, SC 29201
Length: 135 minutes; Format: widescreen DVD–$24.99
For quite some time now Panteao Productions has been the source for firearms and tactics lectures on DVD, presented by various industry professionals, and focused on increasing armed citizens’ knowledge, skill and preparation. Late last year, Panteao added another line to their many, many DVD programs. Make Ready to Survive addresses what has popularly come to be called prepping, encompassing everything from long-term food storage to self-help medical training to weapons and tactics to defend homestead and family during a societal break down, and a lot more. It is a big subject.
News from Our Affiliates
Compiled by Gila Hayes
A big thank you to all of our affiliates and friends who came by for a visit at the Network’s booth at the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits a few weeks ago. It is so nice to put faces with names, to have the chance to talk out questions that have arisen and to learn about what our affiliates do.
The other really positive thing that happened in Nashville at the NRA meeting was the chance to meet and discuss the Network’s mission with NRA member attorneys who were attending the event.
by Gila Hayes
At the Network we spent most of April serving our ever-larger membership, with the NRA Annual meeting membership recruitment efforts and our new advertisements bringing in many new members. Just seven years after starting the Network to fulfill Marty Hayes’ vision of a supportive membership organization of armed citizens standing together when one was singled out for prosecution after using force in self defense, we have the means to fully fund a member’s legal defense after legitimate self defense. Reaching milestones, though, is never the end of all the late nights and worry lines. A milestone like the Network’s half-million dollar Legal Defense Fund balance only heralds new tasks, challenges and goals.