Defender’s Bookshelf: Mid-Ohio IMB Recommended Reads\
“The Law of Self-Defense – the Indispensable Guide for the Armed Citizen”
By Andrew F. Branca, Attorney at Law
Now in its second edition, attorney Branca’s book is among the most valuable tools available for those who are serious about protecting their families and themselves. Sure, there are other books on the legal aspects of self-defense but a couple of elements set this one apart.
First, is how it’s organized- The opening chapter presents a plain-language orientation to the criminal justice system. This provides the context for all the information to follow and that is absolutely critical. Understanding the legal terms and definitions is only half of the battle: how those things will be applied to you…in the aftermath of a violent encounter…is likely much more important. Branca knows this, and makes sure that we know it too.
The meat of the book, the chapters that follow, are where we see the legal definitions and terminology laid out for us. But Branca’s approach is not just to laundry-list the relevant stuff. He instead organizes each of the next five chapters around a conceptual “principle” of legal thought. Each principle- from “Innocence” to “Reasonableness”- is common to self-defense law across the United States. So Branca’s book is not limited to a specific state or region. However…
Each chapter also contains a concise, easily-accessed state-by-state guide to how the common principles of self-defense are applied. The states are listed alphabetically, and the guide is in a spreadsheet table format with each topic and sub-topic highlighted. Using it is an absolute no-brainer. In fact, it is so well done that it leads to my only criticism about this book: the cover should- in huge, bright red letters- say:
“WARNING!!! READ THE ENTIRE BOOK!!! DO NOT JUST FLIP STRAIGHT TO THE BY-STATE GUIDE!!! IT MAKES MORE SENSE IF YOU READ THE ENTIRE BOOK!!!
But, it doesn’t.
As if this weren’t enough, there are chapters on defense of property and defense of others, too. The book concludes with “Crafting a Legally Sound Strategy” so that you can make good decisions with all of the information you’ve just read.
Spread throughout the book are synopsis examples of actual self-defense situations and their outcomes. These sometimes very moving accounts are used to illustrate how theory is applied in reality, and serve to put a human face to the legal information.
Andrew Branca writes with clarity and a refreshing sense of humor. He knows his subject better than most of his peers, but never forgets that this book is for you- the student of self-defense- because that’s what he is, too.
There are numerous books available on this topic and I’ve read most of them. But if I were asked to recommend just one…Andrew Branca’s “The Law of Self Defense” would be it.